New Releases: Alpine Decline, A Bu, Kai Luen, Wang Changcun


Smog drenched indie rock from the capital, a piano prodigy struts his stuff on his sophomore release, a electronic producer looks to ghosts for inspiration, and an experimental sound artist records live – it\’s our latest collection of new releases to dive into with new earworms from Alpine Decline, A Bu, Kai Luen, and Wang Changcun. Have a listen.

Beijing based reverb drenched indie rock duo Alpine Decline continue to stretch their arms on their latest love letter to the smog-filled city, Life’s A Gasp. The double LP, out now on Maybe Mars, which introduces Yang Haisong (of PK14) on bass, may be the band’s most ambitious album to date. Stuffed to the brim with psychedelic unease, obscure lyrics, and layers upon layers of sound, it’s a lot to take in one go. From the calm desolate beauty of ‘Aftertaste of Gold’, to the synth lunacy of ‘Pre-Columbian Gold’, to the tender and somber catharsis of ‘Broken, Mistaken, Confused’, to the blistering drive of ‘I’ve Been Hit’ – there’s something for anyone who’s willing to give the nineteen track release a spin or two and unearth it’s many sonic and lyrical rewards. An intoxicating, distorted trip through one of Beijing’s most captivating bands. Bandcamp and xiami.

After covering the likes of Bill Evans and John Coltrane on his debut, Beijing based piano prodigy A Bu (full name Dai Liang), brings his virtuosic skills to Butterflies Fly In Paris, which features the seventeen-year-old artist’s original compositions, as well as two covers of Chick Corea and Michel Camilo. Impressive indeed. Classically trained, A Bu’s modernized take on jazz music (with Ryan J. Lee on drums and Tom Kennedy on bass lending a hand) will surely have ears anticipating his next release. It pops, it soars, it flutters with buoyant pleasure. Jazz heads get some over at xiami.

Shanghai electronic label SVBKVLT continues shedding a spotlight on some of China\’s most sonically invigorating talents including their latest LP release from Beijing based producer Kai Luen (known as Soulspeak to many). Entitled The Hollow Ghost, the ten track album is a far cry from the artist\’s more jazz and hip hop infused jams and instead gives listeners a menacing, twisty dance hall marathon – one that was inspired by the ghosts of modern day society as well as the  \’decay and consciously destroying these (of these) old ghosts\’. Sparse beats, plenty of grime, and voices which fade in and out like – it\’s a heavy brooding collection of tracks that work best in the dark. Bandcamp.

Shanghai based sound artist Wang Changcun releases a collection of live performances in Space Compiler. Recorded live from performances held in Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Naples, Italy the veteran experimental artist is in fine form here kicking things off (in Shanghai) with a forty minute sonic exploration that \’s otherworldly, equally hypnotic and disconcerting. It\’s followed by two more condescend and therefore more direct (i.e. jarring) forms of electronic wizardry and ear teasing that\’s either is gonna entice or not.  I\’m not even gonna try to imagine what tools of the trade Changcun is dabbling in, but my guess is a lot of wires. Experimental junkies – come get it.

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