Alternative China – 4th April 2012

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Snapline, Tiny Mix Tapes, Josh Feola, Mao Livehouse, Deadly Cradle Death, Live Music Beijing, Skip Skip Ben Ben, Birdstriking, Chui Wan, White+, Matthew Niederhauser, MDNPhoto, Backyard Surgeons, Shanghai 24/7, Layabozi, Hedgehog, Meat Sucks, Rock In China, Cool Hunting, Xiao He, Yan Jun, Li Daiguo, Tea Rockers Quintet, Torturing Nurse, Deaf Sparrow, Duck Fight Goose, World Of Chinese, King Ly Chee, Shanghaiist, Mr Fossy, Rustic, Pitchfork, Red Rock, Beijing Daze, Jon Campbell, Post Rock, Time Out, Pairs, Foxy Digitalis, UndergroundHK, Bomb Shop, Genjing, SXSW, Core In China

AV Okubo – The Greed of Man – 1st April 2010

Cat #: 040TZM

Hong Kong experimental cinema, 80’s Kungfu movies, triad gangsters, Chinese and Japanese cartoons and China’s early space program all collide together in AV Okubo’s sound to create a weird kaleidoscope of modern Chinese sensibilities. 

AV Okubo’s combination of retro-amusements combined with deeper social critique, along with their ferocious dance rhythms, has quickly brought this young band to the attention of fellow musicians and audiences across China and got them a coveted invitation, even before the release of their first CD, to Austin’s SouthbySouthwest festival in 2010. 

Formed in 2006 in the dirty industrial megalopolis of Wuhan, AV Okubo has captured the eyes and ears of China with the members themselves living out their music’s conflicts of a changing society. Frontman Lu Yan (vox/keyboard) is an aspiring film director while Tan Chao (guitar) works a day job as a train engineer in a major steel factory. Filling out the band, Zuo Yi (bass) and Hu Juan (percussion) are both active in the local music scene, traditionally the home of China’s hardest and wildest punk scene. 

They have played with, and at times overshadowed, such bands as Orange (Uruguay), The 4 Sivits (Germany), Ratatat (USA), These Are Powers (USA) and Battles (USA).  Several large festival appearances, including 2008’s Modern Sky Festival and 2009’s JUE Festival, have exposed them to larger audience and their infrequent trips to the capital have become occasions for packed and crazy shows at Yugong Yishan and D22 attended by eager fans. In late 2008 the band set up in A-String, Asia’s largest studio, to record their debut album with acclaimed producer Martin Atkins. 

For the band, music is the half-remembered memories of growing up in the social construction project that is China, the places they’ve been to, the people they’ve met and things they’ve experienced along the way. New wave, experimental noise, disco punk, ultimately their sound smashes together everything they have encountered set to a massive beat. AV Okubo has grown up in the entertainment era. Neither punky criticism nor a complete overthrow of modern culture, they slide obliquely through a loophole and force on us their version of change. 

Australia’s world renowned Asia music specialist label tenzenmen brings AV Okubo’s debut release ‘The Greed of Man’ to these shores as the band rip it up in North America as part of the China Invasion west coast tour. 

White – White – 1st April 2010

China’s experimental music scene spreads it’s wings. Beijing’s White play SXSW. 

Formed by Shou Wang and Shen Jing, White has quickly become one of the most acclaimed outfits in the new Beijing music scene. White’s sound is ever evolving, spiralling outwards from the core stars of noise and minimalism to take in everything from the phase patterns of Steve Reich, the atonal chords of Glenn Branca, Throbbing Gristle’s aggressive electronic shimmer, Neubauten’s rhythmic invention, and the gu zheng masters of Chinese classical music. Their pieces can range from highly organized agglomerations of atonal chords that have an almost rock and roll ferociousness, to a completely anarchic attack of weirdly syncopated drum sounds derived from a chance encounter with old furniture or a dysfunctional machine. 

Shou Wang, who plays guitar, organ, toys, analogue pedals, drums, and effects, is a founder member of the Chinese new music movement ‘No Beijing’ and is the guitarist/vocalist for Beijing noise band Carsick Cars. Despite his extreme youth he is considered at the very heart of the new generation of Chinese avant-garde musicians, in 2006 flying to New York to take part in Glenn Branca’s famous No.13 recording “Hallucination City” for 100 guitarists. 

In 2005 he formed White No.1, a septet that paid tribute to the early work of Glenn Branca, and White 2J, in which he played keyboards. Finally he and Shen Jing, who had been admirers of each other’s music from afar and who shared the same passion for New York noise and kosmiche rhythms, formed White as an outlet for their more avant garde tendencies. 

Shen Jing plays analogue synth, drums, percussion, sampler, vocals, tape manipulation, and effects; she has been deeply immersed in Beijing’s music scene since 1998, participating in the vibrant explosion it has undergone in recent years. Until 2006, she was the drummer in Beijing indie/punk legends Hang On The Box, but since 2003, her work has increasingly demonstrated her own unique form of cosmic industrial noise.