Muzzy Mum 麻兹妈 – I Hate Winter, New Year and Red Light Runners 我讨厌寒冬，新年和闯红灯的人
Deception, loneliness, silence are just a few of the lingering ideas that infect the mentality of Muzzy Mum – the post punk band out of Xinxiang that’s been quietly stirring up a storm in the rugged urban city of Henan province. Brooding, cynical, and jaded – the angst that runs through the majority of the band’s urgent debut Cold Winter, out on Maybe Mars, is as sharp as a razor. The accompanying arrangements, full of jagged guitar distortion and ear-piercing drums, only whets the blunt force of its agitation perfectly summed up in the line: ‘The future is just the fear of coming 未来只是即将到来的恐惧.’
MIIIA – Ill Behavior/Far Infinity – The Song of Rust
New Shanghai electronic label VOLT explore the dark edges of the techno world on their first two releases. Long-standing Shanghai producer MIIIA, continues to bring her ‘dance floors to uncharted space territories’ on Ill Behavior, which tears through broken beat and industrial techno tracks with propulsive and visceral energy, coating her pulse-pounding rhythms with an air of menace. On The Song of Rust, Beijing artist Far Infinity’s sound finds pleasure in the haze and dissonance of electronic music creatively through the use of electro-acoustic instruments, adding a depth of space and rich texture to his tracks that’s definitely more experimental than your typical night at the club.
Hedgehog 刺猬 – A Newborn White Immortal 赤子白仙
Toying with the notion of the ‘hedgehog and the fox’ made famous by renowned writer Isaiah Berlin (‘The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing’), the veteran Beijing indie rockers – caught between the mainstream and the underground since their breakout success on The Big Band – have crafted one of their most robust albums in years. The trio has always had an ear for churning out melancholic-tainted melodies that have high replay value and while some studio flourishes feel forced (more than a few trackcs could have easily been left as B-sides), overall, the album plays to both their strengths and weaknesses, yet nevertheless continues their near-flawless streak, proving they can play the role of both fox and hedgehog.
Holy Arrow 御矢 – Oath of Allegiance II 衷赤·贰
Looking to cover China’s vast history musically then why not dip into the blood-curling battle cry that is Holy Arrow and their new EP Oath Of Allegiance II, out on Pest Productions. The Imperial Chinese black metal band from Amoy, China brings listeners back to Ming Dynasty’s ‘battlefields of blood and honor’ whilst they conjure up two tracks of epic proportion via majestic, sweeping guitar riffs and pummeling drums. The detail and story-telling techniques that go into their sound is quite remarkable and truly paints the heroic and ferocious legacies left behind by countless warriors of that time.