Monday, Monday, Monday. Another great weekend has passed, with multiple live shows like Chengdu’s Hiperson and France’s Magma, along with banging club nights like Lola’s closing party and a visit from Malaysia’s Bass Sekolah at Dada. As we brush off another weekend of rock 'n' roll and parties all night long, we head into summer, where things get a little slower in Shanghai. While June for the rest of the world marks the start of touring season and summer festivals, that’s just not the case in China. I’m really not sure why less tours and festivals happen during the big red summer. Maybe kids are too busy figuring out how to cheat on next year’s entrance exams for top schools.
Nonetheless, even with our beloved Lola club gone for a month or two, Arkham and Shelter are still flying in sleazy house and strange bass music from around the world. Today we're featuring America’s Moon Boots, who is visiting Arkham on Friday June 5th. Also on Friday is Australia’s Air Max ’97 gracing the dank Shelter basement with his abstract form of bass music that can include anything from techno to grime to juke and beyond. Then on Saturday our friends from Space Debris Committee, a Shanghai based crew that have been stepping up their game, are importing experimental Japanese artist Ena, also down at Shelter.
If you really want to check out the gig of the week (and maybe the year) then we are talking about the first ever "Latin DJ Battle" at the classic Pearl Theater on Thursday, June 4th. This event flyer has been bending my mind into a pretzel for the past week. It consumes me and I have so many questions.
First and foremost, how can someone say this is the first time two DJs in Shanghai have gone head to head playing Latin music? Dude, come on. Second if you look at the flyer, you’ll notice the two Latin DJs battling consist of one DJ Li, who appears to be a well endowed Asian lady Dj’ing in a bikini, along with DJ Naz. Couldn't find any info on either of them.
Are they accepting challengers? Can I show up with a bikini and Macarena CD to rock this first ever China competition of Latin DJ skills? Yet another question is if they will be battling with the traditional five minute mix sets and 2 minute sets for scratch battles (no controllers or sync buttons of course). You might notice on the flyer Lek Vega playing percussion + drums, which I think is the same thing. Also, Ivan Salano, who is on mc + vocals, which again I’m pretty sure is the same thing. In any account I’ll be front row and center Thursday at this Buddhist temple turned into cabaret house for history to be made. In my mind it will be exactly like this:
Gloria Estefan – "Rhythm is Gonna Get You"
Boom, coming straight from the mean streets of suburban America where the corn dogs are hot and the fountain soda’s are cold is the sweet disco house sounds of Moon Boots. Hosting this gala is the local crew S.T.D., whose primary following just graduated high school and are moving on to a better life in Paris or New York art schools. Moon Boots is one of those funky house producers that just never gave up on sexy. In fact, his record label French Express call themselves the “protectors of the feel good”, so you know shit is going to be make out city 1989 on Friday. The American has a long list of remix and edit projects to go along with his original productions and from what I hear his smoothness is not only with the ladies -- those DJ transitions are like butter baby.
Moon Boots really reps the space lifestyle hard with promo shots in astronaut gear and being self–described as born from the launch pad of Cape Canaveral. He’ll be playing Japan on Saturday, where I’m sure he’ll get his fill of futuristic robot hookers, but this Friday we keep things down to earth at Arkham with lots of pre-teens and punch. Give a listen to the sounds of Moon Boots, this dude is pretty damn funky.
Moon Boots – "There is No Love"
George Maple – "Talk Talk (Moon Boots Remix)"
Air Max '97
The winner for best overall DJ concept name and promo shots goes to Air Max ’97. Nearly all his promo consists of Nike shoe pictures and I love it. The Melbourne–based producer has been making waves with his futuristic instrumental grime tracks that include heavy influences from R&B and Hip Hop. Mr. Max tows that line between experimental artist and club track producer and I’m sure many will have a hard time processing just what the hell is going through their ear drums. He calls the music "oblique club trax", which translates to "only millenials get it old man" and he has a strong online community of supporters.
While Air Max 97’s work on last year's album Progress and Memory featured metallic footwork and odd rhythms, the more recent Fruit Crush EP is a little more brimming with life. Air Max ’97 has also worked with some of my favorite producers like Ben UFO. The Friday gig is put on by promotion crew Sub–Culture who also in June have incoming act M.E.S.H. If you are a fan of the Push & Pull parties, then Air Max 97 is the gig for you, which will be quite a contrast to the disco house sounds of Moon Boots up the block.
Air Max '97 – "Fruit Crush"
Björk – "Pluto (Air Max '97 Rugged Case Edit)"
On Saturday down at Shelter is abstract electronic artist Ena, coming to us from Tokyo. Ena’s style is much more refined, with heavy influences from instrumental hip hop and left–field drum n’ bass. His most recent album Divided on the Samurai Horo label is a truly great piece of abstract art that is pushing the limits and definitions of drum n bass. Slow-building ambient sounds with rustling background effects of boiling water or leaves rustling lead into minimal beats that bring everything together.
Hopefully Ena doesn’t change his live set to fit a Saturday night club scene, as I would like to take a ride on this guy’s soundscape this Saturday. All aboard the Ena train folks -- next stop the 5th dimension and this train is not stopping. This latest album also comes on cassette so bring your extra pocket change and buy an analog copy of Divided to throw on in the 1989 Sony Walkmen for your daily Wills Gym grind.
ENA – "Divided"
ENA – "Never Fiber"
Remember these immortal words: “Don’t you worry if you can’t dance, let the music move your feet, it’s the rhythm of the island and like sugarcane so sweet, you’ve got to listen to the beat”.