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Mp3 Monday:
10 (and Ben)
By Nov 17, 2008 Nightlife

MP3 Monday is a weekly SmartShanghai column, serving up mp3s from bands living and making music in China (or coming to China, or thinking about coming to China, or whatever). Right click on the links and choose "Save Link As..." to download 'em. Click play to rock 'em.

Today's em pea sans are from Japanese/Korean electropop laptop weirdness 10, coming to your iPod (or whatever) with local composer/ experimental musician Ben Houge acting as middle man.

10 just finished off a big ole China tour for their latest album called "Nomad" and were just back in Shanghai last weekend playing at Yuyintang and at LOgO bar. Perhaps you saw them when they opened for delightfully German tongue-in-check techno act Jeans Team.

I caught just the end of their set but it was pretty unusual with the lead singer (the Korean half of the group, itta) squeaking little squeak toys into the microphone and then passing them out to the audience. And yeah she was wearing them gigantic sunglasses. It seemed 10's brand of playful electronic infantilism was going over quite well with an audience just getting ready to be drunk for Saturday night.

So I think they had a good show on Saturday which is good because it appears their China tour was a bit of a disaster. Under-attended concerts, long train rides on hard seats, and money/ contract issues with their China record distributor and venues... sounds real shitty. It's the kind of thing that breaks up bands. You can read the whole story on Ben Houge's blog here.

Anyways, musically it's like free form, bouncey, buzzing electronic thumping that sounds almost hip hop in places; it's defiantly Martian but it's still accessible and really pretty funky (in a twee way). The first MP3 is a mashup sampling of this latest album "Nomad," although the future of this album is uncertain in China (label problems) and there is talk of re-recording. The second is a longer edit of the title track "Nomad" on said album.

10 - Nomad Sampler

10 - Nomad

As mentioned above, these MP3s are from Ben Houge, who is an electronic musician/ composer living and working in Shanghai. His meal ticket is Ubisoft, a video game making company home to the Tom Clancy video game series, but he's also involved with the local experimental music community (performed at RESO and NOIShanghai). From reading his webpage, I think he does a lot of composition with this one program called Max/MSP. I don't know what it is, but I imagine its something like the computer Keanu Reaves uses in Johnny Mneumonic (pictured below).

His most recent performance (I think) was at the E-Arts Festival where he was performing improvisations stuff at the cue of video projections as part of the "Screenplay" performance. He's "on sabbatical" from his job this year so we'll be looking for more performances by Ben in the coming months (be they in an art gallery or a proper bar), but Ubisoft has also just released their latest video game "EndWar" which features his music, and caps of a project that was 3.5 years in the making. Have a look at his blog here and other stuff at his main page.

The track I've yanked off his webpage is a lovely little lounge number that was the casino theme music in "Leisure Suit Larry 7" that he wrote. Seriously. That's awesome.

Ben Houge - Larry Rolls the Dice

***

Photos of 10 from their MySpace page. Photo of Keanu Reaves is from me to you.

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