Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes – A Million Farewells – 13th November 2015

Cat #: 177TZM

When Xiao Zhong and Sharon Cee-Q found themselves in a room together for the very first time, they agreed on a guiding philosophy: “Let’s not make anything that’s going to last. If we’re together for just two shows, then that’s what it is.” Thus was born Tom Cruise And Katie Holmes. Since then, they’ve most certainly deviated some, but not much, really.

Over the course of a year and a half, the Shanghai-based musos who’d been involved (non collectively) in such lauded mainland acts as Pairs and Hua Jia Hu Wei, released their debut 7” here on Genjing, added journeyman bassist Sam Walsh and drummer Daniel Nagles to their lineup and have proceeded to lay down one of contemporary indie rock’s most exhilarating jam sessions gone right – a concise full-length chock-full of woolly, dreamy, delicate, white-knuckled shoegaze imbued modern hymns.

This autumn marks the official arrival of A Million Farewells, the band’s first long-player for Genjing Records. It is a miraculously dissonant, wonderfully immediate display of Tom & Kate at their mightiest; alive with the same wild chemistry and sense of possibility that made their first recordings so vital. With more time together than they’d ever had before (which wasn’t much), the band had found themselves confronted with ideal, yet quasi-foreign conditions. And they wouldn’t have had it any other way. Two-minute freakouts like “My Life is Over” share airspace with the meditative squall of “Sam’s Knife” and the guitar-born majesty of the title track. One can’t but notice the band’s intentionally one-off brand of being exactly who they are in a pop context; everything presumably captured in (something like) three takes or less in a bleak, quasi-nondescript studio someplace deep within the damp, scabulous scrawl of modern Shanghai.

“It’s a simple thing,” Xiao Zhang says of their approach. “Simple takes the worry out of it. But we’ve grown up and been through some shit in China. To get to this point you have to bust through a few walls. It’s easy to be new, and I think, in the end, this is what it is.”

When you put the aforementioned foursome in a room, it’s Tom Cruise And Katie Holmes.

And A Million Farewells truly is what it is – quite something: a classic quasi-Sinophilic full length if there ever was one. 

Chui Wan – 30th August 2015

Cat #: 176TZM

Three years after releasing their debut album, White Night, Chui Wan brings their sophomore, self-titled album into the world.

Over the last few years, Chui Wan has progressed with a new drummer, Li Zichao, while its core members — bassist Wu Qiong, guitarist Liu Xinyu, and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Yan Yulong — have striven to perfect their musical ideas. On Chui Wan, the focus is less on the unbridled, reverb-drenched inflections of White Night, drawing more from the band’s wide palette of influences, including Sufi music, Southeast Asian folk tunes, and 20th-century avant grade composition. With confident, driving rhythm, they aim to embody a pop-influenced idiom of rock music, creating their own musical language in the process. Beyond the infectious melodic hooks on Chui Wan lies a near-constant fluctuation of beat and tempo, a deliberate maneuver calculated to create a simultaneous sense of fluidity and disjuncture.

Compared with White Night, Chui Wan’s sophomore album is structurally more complicated, yet simpler and more direct in its studio approach. It eschews White Night’s complex, repeated overdubs and adds more intricate lyrical work, which reflects the dynamic of calm and tension that stands out in Chui Wan’s live performances.

Chui Wan’s guest musicians also contribute significantly to the album’s distinct temperament. You can hear the trademark noise guitar wails of psychedelic free improv master Li Jianhong on the album’s closing track, “Beijing Is Sinking”. The album also contains a hidden gift: a remix of the second track, “Estivation”, by Dead J, one of Beijing’s most established and progressive electronic music producers. Dead J’s “Estivation” remix is a minimal, ambient, rhythmically more angular take on the original.

It is also worth mentioning that Chui Wan bassist Wu Qiong lends her vocal abilities to “On the Other Ocean” and “Silence”. Her voice adds rich choral accents to the album, a long-player already brazen in its Baroque sonic ornamentations.

Chui Wan was recorded and produced by Yang Fan. 

All songs written by Chui Wan, recorded in Beijing, in the winter of 2014.

Yan Yulong: vocals / guitar / violin / organ
Liu Xinyu: guitar / percussions
Wu Qiong: vocals / bass
Li Zichao: drums / celesta

Yang Fan / Li Qing: background vocals, “Only”
Li Jianhong: guitar, “Beijing is Sinking ”
Dead J: remix, “Estivation”

Recorded/mixed/produced by Yang Fan at Fan Fu Studios.
Mastered by Garrett Haines at Treelady Studios.
Cover art: Lv Junlin
Design: Ruan Qianrui

Chui Wan thanks everyone mentioned above, as well as: Josh Feola, Kai, CC Wang, Deng Chenglong, Liu Lu, Cao Lingfeng, Snapline, Yan Jun, Zhu Wenbo, Zhao Cong, Lu Wei, Li Ping, He Fan and Zhang Mengyao.