Alright, well I’ve just wrapped up my top albums list for 2015, I’m learning there’s plenty I missed over the past year – small releases, epic compilations, and bonafide money makers which somehow passed under my radar. It’ll be impossible to give each and every one their time and day but I at least like to give a few of them a shoutout, including a Asian compilation release featuring artists from all over the continent. Here’s this week latest releases with Tulegur, Li Tieqiao, Zhu Fangqiong, Wang Jiyun and Laing Yiyaun, SVBKVLT, and Frequency Asia.
Modern Inner Mongolian nomad outfit Tulegur, a staple of the Beijing music scene for years, returned late this summer with a fresh new EP. Entitled Wind, Grass, Sound, it’s a small beautifully realized piece of music that may not set the barn on fire, but finds an artist in complete control of his sound. Rich, atmospheric, Mongolian-infused folk rock which is even referenced by some as ‘Mongolian grunge’. I wouldn’t go that far, though if you stretch your ears enough you can hear elements of grunge emerge. I find the EP a calmer, more assured and tranquil excursion of the genre that does in many ways capture the ‘live’ feel of the oufit while at the same time gives the band more breathing room with their sound. Be bewitched over at Tulegur’s bandcamp.
Shanghai electronic label SVBKVLT, headed by prominent club owner Gareth Williams, of the Shanghai-based underground music collective SUBCULTURE, compiled a killer collection of some of Shanghai’s gnarliest sounds earlier this fall with Downpour. Their second compilation, hits upon an array of genres that would feel just at home in underground joints like The Shelter. Comprised of artists from Shanghai, Manila, and other hubs of Asia, it’s a board, sonically alluring collection that features (wait for it) Soulspeak, Laura Ingalls, Downstate, Red-l, Swimful, 33, Damacha, Achun, Gooooose, Caliph8, Faded Ghost, and B6. Slick stuff – grab it over at their bandcamp.
An assortment of extended techniques players and outstanding experimentalists relishes in between the borders of jazz and improve on their latest collaborative piece, Caicun Wharf. Recorded live in the fall of 2014 in Dali with friends Li Tieqiao (Beijing based saxophonist), Zhu Fangqiong (on drums and glass), Wang Jiyun (on vocals, pipe, and flute), and Liang Yiyuan (on guitar, loops, and gongs) it’s a mood piece, one that takes it’s sweet time to build, deconstruct, and immerse oneself in a world of sound. It’s just two tracks (thirty minutes and twenty minutes) but it’s a wealth of sounds on display here for those of you looking to for a little adventure. Rip it up on xiami (and cough free download cough).
Finally – want to give a very special shoutout to LBM compatriot Frequency Asia, the Asia-centric podcast run by former Beijing resident Luke Hansford, whose monthly podcasts have been a great source for me expanding my sonic palate beyond China. Back in November, they released their first ever compilation (on tape like all the true players) and I was finally able to get my nasty little hands on one last week. And what a treat – featuring over twenty artists and some of the ‘best underground music that Asia has to offer – from psychedelia from Thailand to instrumental hip-hop form the Siberian tundra, to Malaysian noise rock and Indian sludge’ – it’s a hell of a entry point of the eclectic underground world of music in Asia. Even features a couple bands and names familiar to us here in China. Grab a copy over at their bandcamp.