Happy Monday fellow Shanghai Rens. The skies are blue and the air is crisp in Gotham today as we all start to pack up the for next week’s yearly Chinese New Year exodus. My ears are still ringing from last week’s Swans show, which was easily the best live gig of 2015 so far. An amazing array of amps, slide guitar, giant wind chimes, violins, and electric axes brought together in a blazing two hour set. Sound engineer Nathan Sidoti / Rat On Monthly founder brought a sound meter and found that the QSW show was just four decibels away from the maximum capacity of the human ear. Literally they almost blew our minds. Here's a gallery of pictures from the show.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Factory54 for the first time and was "immersed" as promised from the Kick the Kong Around crew '80s party. I did like the space even though they need to work out some sound issues before the grand opening in March. Maybe it has something to do with the 5,000 meters of tin foil covering the loft, or more likely the system just needs to be tuned. Then Sunday’s Daily Vinyl event at On Stage proved to be another great addition to the community. The highlight being closing band HOWHY which is a 6 piece Chinese funk band that were amazingly, adorably awkward and solid at the same time. HOWHY might want to change their name to the Funk Equation or E=MC FUNK² because I’m pretty sure every member of the band has been a math tutor sometime in their life.
This week Music Monday features the party series Tetragrammaton from the mind of local design collective Idle Beats, the crew that used to do posters for Sub-Culture. You probably have one of their screen prints in your apartment. They have their second of five parties this Friday at Shelter where The Sorceress will be revealed.
These events are basically extreme cos-play installations that tie together local musicians and DJs with a fantasy narrative. Basically it’s just good ole fashioned Live Action Role Playing minus the live the action. Each party features a new installation by Gregor Koerting, who puts together items from Chinese movie production prop departments and findings like discarded cigs and cardboard adverts. He also designed all the cards you'll see below. After the fourth club night, they'll have an art show to tie together all of the characters where SVBKVLT will release a box set of four art prints and an album made by the producers who played live sets at the event (Gooooose, Pan, Downstate, Damacha, Cammy, Raph, ChaCha and one “special guest”).
Impact Color: Red
Musician: Pan DaiJing
Last month saw the unveiling of The Warrior, one of four cast members in a cosmic play titled Tetragrammaton. From the words of Idle Beats, Tetragrammaton is “Inspired by Taoist scripts, western hermetic imagery and comparisons from psychoanalysis, generally the cycle is about unconscious personality pictured as archetypes. These define our character, spontaneous decisions, needing, and so on depending on the current constellation between them”. The Warrior symbolizes rivalry, manhood, drive, and devotion.
A favorite part of last month’s party was that I finally got a chance to see the live set of Pan DaiJing, a.k.a. Aesthetica, who arrived in Shanghai last year and has started to play shows along with organizing events. With a table full of hardware music gear Pan sings into a voice modulator along with a mixture of industrial beats, ambient noise, power electronics, transitioning into a slightly more uptempo techno set. I really liked it. Below I’ve included a live recording of the night which doesn’t do justice to experiencing it in person.
The Warrior party also featured Duck Fight Goose front man HanHan’s new live set from his side project GOOOOOSE. HanHan quit his job for a month to put together this club banging techno that is both well friendly to the ear and seems to tell a narrative of its own from start to finish. Finally the night was rounded out by local legend Tzusing who was recently featured on America’s National Public Radio top dance tracks for February. NPR? That’s so fricking huge. Check out the NPR featured track Frakincense and Myrhh from the influential techno label Long Island Electrical Systems.
Aesthetica – The Warrior Live Set (1/18/2015)
Duck Fight Goose – "Histroy (GOOOOSE Remix)"
Tzusing - "Frakincense" and "Myrhh"
Impact Color: Purple
The Sorceress is the female counter-part of The Warrior and stands for femininity, transcendence, and sexual attraction. Since this week’s character represents sexual freedom I’m hoping the installation takes it up a notch with some racy god on god action. Friday features Shanghai-based producer Downstate, who just dropped a new album last week titled ‘ice grave’.
Downstate is one of the most prolific and strange producers in Shanghai and I’m pretty sure the Tetragrammaton theme of transcendence will play well with his new live set. Rumors have it Downstate will soon leave Shanghai for the futuristic pastures of Tokyo where his musical partner Hamacide in the group SLV resides. Also this Friday is local heartthrob and sample master Damacha, who just returned from a show down in Guangzhou for most recent Red Bull tour.
Downstate – "ice'grave"
Damacha – "Streetscore"
The Golden King
Impact Color: Yellow
Next month will feature the introduction of The Golden King symbolic of judgment, morality, leadership, and money. This gig will feature two of Shanghai’s darkest members of the electronic arts Laura Ingalls and Shanghai Ultra. French born and Hades-raised producer Laura Ingalls wears many hats such as live sound engineer, drone club promoter, remixer and mastering technician, along with multiple recording project like Nahash, The Horses, along with solo work. Laura Ingalls is venturing to Japan this week where I can only guess he will join some new age drone cult and never been seen of again.
The Golden King also features VOID member Shanghai Ultra who has the honor of being one of the longest running techno acts in town. Shanghai Ultra recently got engaged, and I know what you’re thinking ”What woman could tame him?”. Well sorry ladies, this beefcake is off the market. Time will tell if married life drives techno out of Shanghai Ultra’s heart to be replaced with Dora the Explorer remixes. Trading in that TR-909 for training wheels?
Laura Ingalls – "Cannibal Island"
Shanghai Ultra – "N.E. Revitalized"
The Great Mother
Impact Color: Green
Musician: Faded Ghost
The fourth installation will reveal the Great Mother, representing wealth, balance, creativity, and indulgence. The final club night before the main art gallery event will feature a Faded Ghost “Live” debut. Faded Ghost is the solo project of vocalist ChaCha, who's originally from Guizhou. She is also one half of the infamous team AM444 and has collaborated with artists like Kod9, Clive Chin, Sly and Robbie, and many more.
SVBKVLT founder Howell has also told me there will be a special guest, which I can only guess means he hasn’t figured out who else is playing. I am very much looking forward to listening to some new Faded Ghost material. For now let’s check out a classic track titled “I Remember”.
Faded Ghost – "I Remember (SLV Remix)"
Have all the mysteries of Tetragrammaton been revealed today? No. This is just a small taste of the narrative that will unfold over the next few months. Make sure to head down to Shelter this Friday for this month’s chapter, which includes The Sorceress.