New Releases: D-Force Records, Whale Circus, Yan Jun & Hsia Yu, Babel Records


Compilations aplenty, soundtrack music to take on the day to, and one of Taiwan’s avant grade pioneers joins forces with one of Beijing’s – it’s the latest releases including a new EP from Whale Circus; a new book and CD from Hsia Yu and Yan Jun; a compilation from rising labels D-Force Records and Babel Records, featuring an array of talent from China.

As more and more start up labels emerge in China, compilation albums have been pretty common. And while most get stuck in one particular genre based on their theme or label’s stock, some like to mix it up and allow the theme to be interpreted in whichever one pleases. Take Hormone Store 荷尔蒙杂货铺  for instance, the first compilation from Babel Records. Using the idea of our hormones as a sandbox for artists of all ilk, the label has assembled a fascinating collection of songs. From the immense electronic pull of iimmune’s opening cut, to the ghostly sublime vocals of Dingke, the bubbly indie pop of Ocean, the glitchy layering of Hong Qile, to the 70s country rock of The Powder Power, it’s surprising mix of sounds and genres that also includes such artists like Li Yan, Xiao Pu, Broken Thoughts, Yanchai, Whale Circus, Bian Yuan, Poshangcun, and Yue Xuan. Very cool stuff. Xiami it.

Beijing label focused on the experimental, offbeat and improvisational scene in China, Sub Jam, releases it’s latest piece of abstract work, 7 Poems and Some Tinnitus, a collaboration between labelhead Yan Jun and Taiwanese poet and avant grade pioneer Hsia Yu. Using a variety of ‘sound materials’ collected over a three year period across various cities in China and Europe and combined with Hsia Yu’s spoken voice which was recorded in both Taipei and Paris, it gives the poet’s voice and more importantly, words, a place to ferment and take on new meaning and interpretation. The edition of 500 includes a hardcover book (in both chinese and English) as well as the CD. A fine purchase indeed. Avant grade fanatics – come get some over at Sub Jam’s bandcamp.

D-Force Records, the label that emerged from the massive media database/social media service douban and has been killing it righteously so far, kicked off the new year with a epic compilation featuring the label’s lengthy roster, including Dalian post rock supergroup DOC, Shanghai electronic power rockers Duck Fight Goose, Chengdu rookies of the year Stolen, Beijing ambient soundscaper nara, and folk rising star Hua Zhou. Even a few groups that may or may not be around still (Late Troubles, Wanderlust, Soviet Pop). Whatever the case, it’s an impressive catalogue, indicative of D-Force’s wide-spanning and outstanding taste. Grab it over at xiami.

Xingyu Li aka Whale Circus is orchestral pop producer whose dreamy, ambient, yet wildly accessible soundscapes has made him a hot commodity, particularly in the soundtrack world. The Beijing jack-of-all-trades in between steadily putting out OST work (the latest being for a period film called Princess Yun) released The Other Side, a three track self-released EP showing the artist in fine form, effortlessly seguing from post rock timbres to piano driven melodies with a fine ear for electronic layering. And while it only hints out at what Xingyu Li can accomplish, it’s not a bad starting point. Spin it over at xiami.

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