Waterland Kwanyin RIP

By , 2010年 8月 3日

10 at Waterland Kwanyin, 7 July 2009

Great article by Pete DeMola up on weliveinbeijing about Zoomin’ Night, the experimental music showcase that occurs every Tuesday night at D22. When I first moved to Beijing full-time I was surprised to learn that there were TWO experimental nights every Tuesday, the other being Waterland Kwanyin at 2Kolegas, a night put on by sound artist and Subjam proprietor Yan Jun. I’ve always been curious why there would be two experimental shows on the same night every week in a city where overlap between the two would yield interesting collaborations.

Waterland Kwanyin ran for years. I went regularly from summer 2009 up through the last show in January 2010 (Yan Jun now curates a performance on the last saturday of every month at UCCA in 798). In that time I saw performances by Beijing experimental music veterans like Yan Jun, Feng Hao and Li Zenghui, as well as international musicians like 10 and Aaron Hull, among many others.

Attendance was usually sparse, though I’ve heard the scene was much bigger in the earlier 2000s. Many people there were involved with Sugar Jar, the now-defunct 798 record store.

I’ve also seen many of the bands Pete writes about. In my experience, these two scenes seem very separated. Maybe the reason is partly geographical: Zoomin’ Night/D22 is in Wudaokou near the universities, while Waterland Kwanyin was much further east at 2Kolegas, a skip away from the Central Business District and two skips from yuppie club haven Sanlitun.

I also think that the D22 scene in general has enjoyed momentum from the success of Maybe Mars — the house label — and bands like Carsick Cars that have attained a level of international acclaim (WHITE and Soviet Pop, two Cars side-projects, are Zoomin’ Night mainstays).

In any case, it appears that Zoomin’ Night attracts a larger community than Waterland did in its last days and is a fertile platform for new music, albeit within a rather specific context. There is also an active experimental scene in Tongzhou associated with the label Nojiji and the space Raying Temple, where Hot & Cold (another band mentioned in DeMola’s article) has recently played. I’m interested to see how these two scenes might interface in a way that Waterland Kwanyin and Zoomin’ Night didn’t. But I’m more interested to hear from people that have deeper experience in any of these small corners of the Beijing experimental music scene. Thoughts?

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