Ever since we first heard that pluck of the guqin on their 2011 opus 1911 we’ve been diehard fans of Zhaoze over here. The Guangzhou post rock band has been on a tear since then, with one mammoth release after another. Their latest entitled Birds Contending, recorded in a forest in Belgium (your ears may even detect birds chirping in the background) may not seem like much on the surface – in fact, it’s only one track that stretches out over forty minutes. But within you’ll be treated to one of the finest paced tracks of the year – one that takes the band’s signature sound of guqin-laced post rock and ups the ante, finding new avenues to explore whilst providing spellbinding intervals that can stir your soul (that Chinese flute gets me every time) before plundering head first into the abyss. A true gem of an album.
Our first taste of Low Bow in some time – the lo-fi, fuzzed out garage rock duo led by Risteard O. Deorian is back with a vengeance on the grittily rambunctious Heavy Days, out now on Jingweir. With Wang Xinjiu (of Birdstriking) on drums keeping the pace fast and loose – that Low Bow magic – a self-aware mania whose astuteness makes the descent into noise rock all the more impactful whose feedback and thrashing drums turn into a window of jittery nerves and fractured psyche that’s lain bare. It’s a mess for sure, but one that feels right – a shaky adrenaline rush that continues Low Bow’s noisy, wide-eyed journey.
France based, Nanjing raised Ruo Tan, whose Northern Asian shamanism sliced with distorted tribal drone synth ambient soundscapes made his release Stoneone of 2017’s most absorbing surprises, gets the remix treatment courtesy WV Sorcerer Productions. With seven remix tracks from seven artists from the electronic scene’s most menacing characters from around the world, including GUAN out of Hangzhou, Nous and Zaliva-D from Beijing, and more – it’s the perfect soundtrack to the apocalypse with forays into post-industrial, dark ambient, minimal tribal and more off kilter soundscapes.