Greetings, fellow Shanghai popsicles. While pipes are freezing all over town, Shanghai musicians and producers are melting hearts. Weekend recap: Music nerds came out in force to support the Daily Vinyl Block Party, turning the Fuxing Lu and Yongfu Lu corner into tons of records-related fun. The main vinyl market at JZ Club had a great selection of music for sale, showcasing the ever-increasing, ever-expanding tastes of local kids. After parties at Arcade and Shelter kept things icy with Shanghai-based producer Damacha going head-to-head with Guangzhou producer, Pete Chen. Both were using SP404 samplers and I believe the battle will go down in Chinese folklore history as a veritable clash of the titans. You can catch Damacha again this Saturday with his BFF Swimful along with DJs Howell, Alta, Naaah, and Zean. Both Damacha and Swimful have new albums out this month and this Saturday, in fact, will be the release party for Swimful's PM 2.5 at The Shelter.
From the touring scene, we have Polish house producers Catz 'n' Dogz at Lola on Friday and legendary Japanese producer and label head Soichi Terada on Saturday at Arkham. The Soichi Terada show is part of promotion group YETI’s new brand of parties that go by YETI DIS:KO -- guess that means a bigger emphasis on disco music, and a lesser emphasis on proper spelling and punctuation. This weekend marks the end of most of the international bookings in Shanghai until after Chinese New Year, so get out there and dance like it’s the end of the world. Because it is. Or it could be, with the fireworks coming our way.
But hey, don’t worry. When you get back, Top 100 prog house DJ Tiesto will be waiting for you at MYST Club and the world will start turning again.
Damacha is a finer kid than you and me. The American born beat-maker has only been in China a few years now and has become proficient in Mandarin, using his powers for good instead of running some evil sweatshop cosmetic factory in Ningbo. Helping to bring together the local and expat divide in the music scene, you can often find Damacha digging in secondhand markets for old Chinese records and tapes to incorporate in his productions. He has released material on the Hangzhou-based, Chinese-run Groove Bunny Records, along with a recent release on the Shanghai label SVBKVLT, which featured a concept album titled TuHaoJin. Along with those releases, Damacha can be found collaborating with a gaggle of local artists.
This month, Damacha dropped a new self-released album that goes back to his roots of using cut up and ambiguous samples, but this new shit seems to be getting smoother and smoother. Starting off sweet with a track titled "Snowed In" -- calm leads into a video game-ish outro that makes me wish the damn thing was ten minutes long instead of one. The EP continues with a fantasy chiptune vibe until the fourth track, featuring Meuko Meuko, that takes things up a notch and gets super icy. That track is one of my favorites of Damacha’s entire discography. I couldn’t even begin to properly label what’s going on with this EP but I do know we are all in a better place with Damacha out there making jams. Again make sure to check his set out in person at the big Swimful PM2.5 release show on Saturday. For now check out some of these 3E3240 cuts.
Damacha – Snowed In
Damacha – (╥﹏╥) feat. Meuko Meuko
Catz ‘n Dogz
Catz ‘n Dogz are so damn hot now. The Polish duo’s blazing 15-track album titled Basic Colour Theory is some of their best work to date. Producing soulful house music seems the trend in the ever-expanding Eastern Bloc electronic music scene. Poland has been leading the charge of deep house anthems. On top of Catz ‘n' Dogz endless touring of festivals like BPM and Electic Daisy Carnival, the two recently climbed their way into a Resident Advisor Top 100 slot. Showing they are not just a couple of pretty faces with a fancy jog wheel, the duo also runs a record label titled Pets Recordings, which hosts some of my favorite artists -- Groove Armada, Nikola Baytala, KiNK, and Jay Shepard just to name a few.
Then of course there is the remixes. Along with their own material these Poles seem to find time to remix tracks from artists like Basement Jaxx, Kings Of Leon, Friendly Fires, and Kim Ann Foxman. Hey guys, slow it down, you’re making the rest of us look bad. The current Asia tour is in support of Basic Colour Theory which features vocals from none other than Pter, Bjorn, and John. It’s good to see Lola getting back to their roots with this booking. Just don’t be like me and show up to Friday’s gig with sandals on because Lola ain’t having none of that. It's a super, super classy place.
Catz 'n' Dogz - Get It Right (Feat. Tanika) (Claude VonStroke Remix)
Catz ‘n' Dogz – I Can Do Anything
Soichi Terada is a legend both in the house music world and the video game multi-verse. Since the early '90s he has been pumping out some of the most respected deep house jams from Asia under his label Far East Recordings. Recently the Euro electro label and distributor, Rush Hour released a compilation of Soichi Terada early hits titled Sound from the Far East. That record has sparked new awareness in the western world on the roots of Japan’s deep house scene. The tracks are oozing in cheese synth chords on top of steady back beats.
If this is your first time hearing the name Soichi Terada, you may be surprised that you’ve probably heard his music before in the Playstation Ape Escape games from the late '90s. More recently Terada’s work has focused on a project titled Omodaka which is a down tempo synth pop group that features fellow musician Kanazawa. They have released 3 solid full length albums in the past 5 years that incorporates Terada’s love of video game music with a more soulful pop driven feeling. At 50 years old, there is no end in sight for this talented composer. If you like house, disco, and chip-tune music then Saturday’s show attendance is mandatory. If this is just the start of the new club night YETI DIS:KO, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the year.
Nami Shimada & Soichi Terada - Sunshower
Soichi Terada - Hohai Beats
While you warm up in the club this weekend I’ll be working on a new article series about Chinese fantasy / cosplay bands for next week’s Music Monday. That one should get you through the Chinese New Year with ease.