Weekly Update: May Away (4.21-5.7)

By , 2016年 4月 21日

Going to be moving around here and there until early May, so this one’s more of a two-weekly update. Plenty to tide you over:


First up, tonight (THU 4.21): Yoshihiro Hanno @ Dada. This one’s an interesting booking by artist manager and promoter Ni Bing, a 20-year veteran in China’s electronic music industry. (Read a profile of him and his new Drum Rider label here.)

Yoshihiro Hanno is a composer and musician from Osaka, who’s soundtracked films for China arthouse luminaries Jia Zhangke and Hou Hsiao-Hsien and sustained a second career as an experimental musician and techno producer.

From his Sub Rosa bio:

For years now, Yoshihiro Hanno has been exploring a wide range of musics: soundtracks, contemporary music, free jazz, drum ‘n’ bass, fragmented electronica, hip hop… with a definite taste for fusion and deconstruction in order to create a new form of avant-garde music… His constant shape-shifting from one album to another — and within an album from one track to another — makes it difficult to entertain any kind of expectation.

Here’s a personal favorite, a snippet of the soundtrack from Jia Zhangke film Platform:

Tonight Dada will screen some of Hanno’s film work in the background (the event is co-organized by the massive Beijing International Film Festival). Ni Bing will DJ before and after a two-hour live set from Hanno, performing as his techno alter ego Radiq.

60rmb, 9pm start


MAO Closing (for real)

After hinting at it for almost six months, Mao Livehouse is finally, definitively closing their massive metal door after a final string of shows stretching from Thursday through Sunday. Tonight (4.21) is a stacked punk show featuring Discord, D-Crash, Ouch, and more. Friday is festival crowd pleasers Subs and Residence A along with Gulou jam rock staples Whai.

Saturday night is for the longhairs, with sets by Suffocated, Nine Treasures, Liquid Oxygen Can, and other heavy hitters from China’s metal scene. For their last day as a venue, Mao hosts a two-part show on Sunday, with afternoon and evening sessions featuring a wide range of local bands, big and small, who’ve called Mao home over the years.

RIP Mao. We had some great times.

Find the full schedule & ticketing info for Mao’s closing weekend here.


Fruityspace Update

Tadashi Usami + Li Song collaborating remotely @ Fruityspace

Now let’s check in with everyone’s favorite new basement venue, Fruityspace. They’ve settled into a groove, programming music documentary screenings on weeknights (they’re showing Ray Charles: Live in 1961 tonight at 8:30pm), with rock bands plugged into weekend afternoon slots and experimental/electronic gigs on Friday and Saturday nights. Here’s what they’ve got coming up over the next week+.

First up, there’s a night of classical Indian music scheduled for tomorrow night (Friday 4.22), featuring sarod, sitar, and tabla players along with vocalist Moumita Mitra. That starts at 8:30pm, 60rmb at the door. On Saturday they’ll throw a down and dirty rock matinee (4pm start) featuring The Molds and Comp Collider, the new psych/kraut duo of Michael Cupoli (Noise Arcade) and Dan Lenk (Luvplastik). Stream their new demo above.

Then on May 2, Zhu Wenbo returns to Fruityspace with his new band, Not in Catalog, who played their debut show in early April. Hear how that went down:

They’ll play on May 2 along with 工工工 (listen), and Alpine Decline, who are lugging their Eurorack systems out for a synth-only set.

4pm start, 50rmb ticket


Nojiji: Noise Radiation

Quick dispatch from our crazy friends NOJIJI: Changchun-based noiser and Fuzz Tape label-runner Meizhiyong will hit Beijing as part of his Noise Radiation tour. He plays at School Bar on Tuesday, May 26 along with visiting Italian noise musician Mai Mai Mai and local troublemaker Dee.

Click for a sample of Mai Mai Mai (he’s also playing on Thursday 4.28 @ Fruityspace with Noise Arcade, Meng Qi, and Sheng Jie + Ding Xin; full details on that one here):

Nojiji: Noise Radiation tour hits School Bar on Thursday 4.26. No ticket or start time listed for now… show up by 8:30 I’d say.


Kai Luen

Moving on to electronic music: Beijing producer Soulspeak will release his first solo album under his given name, Kai Luen, on Saturday at Dada. Wrote a bit about his vibe for Tiny Mix Tapes:

Dropping in from the swirling gray miasma Beijing calls “sky” is a ghostly new production from Kai Luen, a Los Angeles transplant who’s been steeping in the nascent Chinese beat scene for the better part of a decade. Better known under his production alias Soulspeak, Kai’s classic admix of funk, soul, and bass-heavy West Coast slow-burn has matched well with the turntablism of three-time China DMC champ DJ Wordy and, more recently, silver-tongued hip-hop princeling Xiao Laohu.

Kai Luen’s solo output is sparse. The Hollow Ghost, out April 29 via superior Shanghai tastemaker SVBKVLT, is the first work he’s put his given name on, and it’s his most Beijing work to date. Breaking out of his sonic comfort zone — which geographically sits in the airspace above Compton, but only when P-Funk’s Mothership cruises through — he forces in edgewise hard, field-recorded street noise and cherrypicked elements from the global bass music zeitgeist, flirting with footwork and grime without ever exactly landing on either.

“Slime and Swallow” is the closest Kai Luen comes on The Hollow Ghost to his standard sound: jagged synth stabs up front, gauzy atmospheric pads in the ether, and thick Angeleno low-end melting comfortably together behind an in-the-pocket boom-bap. It’s a little too chill, really, until that disembodied gun cock drops in. That gun just keeps cocking in liminal space, wielded by a daemonic Pitched Down Vocal Sample that’s been unevenly imported from some trap hell, his voice here shredded beyond comprehension. Ultimately, there’s no one to shoot. Kai Luen’s world is all hollow bones, collapsed lungs, vapor waves moving slow as mountains. The album art by Hyperdub standby Optigram nails this in: 山 giving way to 水, everything solid melting into air at a steady 92 bpm.

Beijing release is at Dada on Saturday 4.23, 10pm start, 50rmb cover (includes a 10″ copy of the album art).


Art Corner

A few underground art happenings to mention as well. Garcia Frankowski of Intelligentsia Gallery are having one of their trademark double openings this weekend, starting with the launch of Form is a Habit Forming Drug on Saturday 4.23 (“explores the subliminal and the sublime when it comes to our perpetual relationship with form”), followed by the opening of Hypertext on Sunday 4.24 (“explores the symbolic, etymologic, philological, semiotic, ideological, and political imperatives of diverse forms of language in an era of hypercommunication”).


Then, on Monday 4.25, I: Project Space opens their new exhibit Multiple Choice, Double Happiness, curated by visiting artist Jenifer Nails:

Thinking about issues of transformation and translation of artistic works in or within variable contexts, two positions are presented, each one engaging different ways with what one might call the grammar of cultural artefacts.

More info here


One more art thing worth a look: on Saturday 4.23, Post Mountain teams up with the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation to present Floating (浮动), a site-specific interactive performance:

“Floating” is a temporary “club performance,” a mobile installation combining sound, video, text and dancing, intertwining multiple layers of conversations: the mobile bodies and the space they generated, sound improvisation and moving images, artist identities and institutional critiques.

The visual/installation part of the work is by artist Liu Yefu, and the music is by ex-Beijing skweee proselytizer Vurado Bokoda, aka Einar Engström, who decamped to Japan a few years ago. Here’s his latest:

This event is the first in a series called BCAF Live Arts:

Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation is committed to bringing the appreciation and enjoyment of art to a greater number of people, by organizing extensive and dynamic philanthropic activities, creating a contemporary urban think tank that gathers creative ideas, and connecting art with a variety of other disciplines. Through BCAF Live Arts project, the foundation wishes to provide a cutting-edge platform to promote sincere cooperation between contemporary young artists and art practice.

Look forward to seeing where that goes.


Being Played by Noise

Last up: on Saturday 5.7, Yan Jun and friends will meet at Meridian Space to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Miji experimental music performance series, which Yan launched not long after he ceased his Waterland Kwanyin weekly at 2 Kolegas. Yan Jun says:

It’s 5 years since Miji Concert and Miji Festival initiated.
Let’s party:
Bring your cuisine or snacks (Meridian has cafe so pls buy drinks there) for share.
Bring your 2nd hand books, CDs and instruments for sale or trade.
Bring some music and join the DJ battle.
The musicians list above will be there.
And more will be there:
Everybody is here, except the absentees.

Full info here.

Gonna close this one out with an extended quote from a 2014 Yan Jun essay that was translated to English and will be posted in two parts on 20Hz. Food for thought:

People have long gotten used to the word music. It’s not specific, and used rather casually. Being casual is important. Don’t ever be a fucking snob. ‘Contemporary art’ sounds a bit like one ( :s ), ‘sound art’ even more so ( :s +1 ). Carrying on with such a worn-out, washed-out word shows we are playing an ancient game. Maybe it’s even the only game, a game that despite the lack of specifications never stopped taking place. Music originates in rituals. It’s a game of communication with the myriad things of the cosmos, with the spirits and the deceased, it is everywhere. You could find refuge in this old and washed out attitude, and subsist in equality with everything else. Moreover, such mundaneness is a necessary condition for uniqueness to come forth. Just like hearing a cell phone ring tone of a stall owner in the vegetable market and catching a trancy high pitch and the rhythm of the heart. Let them return to God’s side. The vegetable market is the world…

Come to speak of it, living an already-dead life is yet another paradox. If noise is a paradox, then today, to keep playing noise while not being played by noise is not only impossible, but also possible.

That’s all for now, check back in early May for more.

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