New Releases: Pairs, Hanggai, FAR/∞, Peng Tan Remix


Spring is bringing all sorts of goodies in terms of new releases. Just goes to show – the music scene is creeping more and more into the big wide world of web. Firewalls, pfft! Means nothing. Check out the latest batch of stellar releases including the newest from bonafide Mongolian rock stars Hanggai, shit rock duo Pairs, electronic artist FAR/∞, and yet another remix of folk artist Peng Tan’s work. Bang.

While 2013 proved to be the year that Shanghai shit rock duo went down the rabbit hole, perhaps even a bit too far, with a piano album, an electronic album, and a KTV album, I can safely say that Pairs are back in peak form with their latest and sadly second to last release, Brief Lesbian (no one knows how to throw titles around like Xiao Zhong). Conceived with fellow Shanghai artist Reykjavictim (whose synthesizers join the fun) with some help from various Aussie groups, it’s a gut punch of an album – one that wallows in Xiao Zhong’s cynical fraught outlook like never before. Instead of allowing the emotions and imagery unfold in their usual one to three minute maelstrom, these songs burrow their way under your skin, and berates you to the point of restlessness. Every awkward moment, defeated shudder, judgmental twitch is felt. Highlights include the thirteen minute ‘Bloodshot’, which might be the most devastatingly honest farewell song China deserves, and the Reykjavictim featured songs, the latter, ‘I’m sorry to hear your partner wears a hat inside’ which almost eerily sounds like a early Modest Mouse cut. Something tells me Xiao Zhong will be just fine back in the land of barbies. Catch Pairs one last time Friday, April 19th at XP. Grab it over here.

Mongolain via Beijing acclaimed folk rock outfit Hanggai gave a rousing performance last Friday to celebrate the release of their album, and very much like their latest, their third full length album, Back To You (Baifang), audiences were treated to a more mature Hanggai that’s unafraid and justifiably more interested in expanding the scope and potential of their sound. The way ‘Tavan Hasag’ builds up with the flute and guitar foul play; the playful reverb of ‘Gold Buttons’ and reggae tint to ‘My Mother’; even the raw emotional power of ‘Golden Autumn’ and ‘Ulanbator Nights’. Of course there are still the rousing horse-galloping numbers, but what impresses more are the different ways that Hanggai are turning into a bonafide rock and roll band with Mongolain elements. Listen to it here, here, and grab it over at iTunes.

Liu Yiwei of FAR MEDIA LAB, who goes by the electronic moniker FAR/∞ (where’s my infinity key is on my keyboard?) recently released his first official release on soundcloud a couple weeks back and for you electronic junkies out there, this is gonna be catnip. Sharp, minimalist techno that feels at once both retro and futuristic. I’d imagine this is the music that goes through Luc Besson’’s head whenever he’s cooking up another high-concept action flick. It’s a crisp piece of work that never over stays it’s welcome across it’s eleven tracks – every snare, glitch, and fuzz is perfectly calculated to the point where you might think Yiwei is an artificially created entity. Great for grinding out some work. Check it out over here.

Last we have the latest and forth remix of Peng Tan’s 2013 MIDI-nominated album Riverside – Peng Tan + Electron Talent Game Project No. 4. This time around Nu-Jazz electronic artists Gavin and Gefei (of indie pop duo Milk Coffee) take a stab at the folk singers work. Not too shabby – though considering this the fourth proposed remix album out of six, I can definitely think the idea wearing itself thin soon enough. Nevertheless, digging the remixes especially the trip-hop flourishes in Gavin’s take of ‘River’. Give it a twirl over here.

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