AV Okubo – Opium/Heroin – 3rd February 2015

Cat #: 174TZM

If you’ve never been to Wuhan, let me tell ya: it’s fucking BLEAK. China’s landlocked industrial boiler room, smelting the future from discarded harsh metal scraps of past failures. The heat’s so hot it’ll melt your will to live. Opiates help. Wuhan’s AV Okubo know this, they even soundtrack this. “Opium” is a re-purposed stereo-heater churned out like some retro-futuristic answer to the prayers you’ll be praying years from now, as the decline continues to decline. The voice of “Opium” is a voice out of time, a bi-gender mensch-machine crammed into a vintage Japanese vocoder, sampled and re-sampled til the original is forgotten in a self-medicated haze (while reclining, eyes open but not seeing, slackjaw dreaming). No clue what it’s saying (something about the Qing Dynasty GDP) — but the bottom line is: we’re all damned if it doesn’t ease the growing pains.

“Heroin,” meanwhile, sounds like the Sex Pistols telling Lou Reed to fuck off. Actually this B-side was originally supposed to be straight up Velvets cover but, as AVO vocalist Lu Di laments right off the bat, “the price is too high and I can’t afford it.” Wuhan bathtub meth it is, then. Again! Maybe E, LSD and some more weed, to chase. OK, good now. Let’s do this. Only bass line that comes to mind is ripped straight from Sid’s dead mitts but it’s a miracle we’re even standing up at this point so… Wuhan’s fucking hot. Need more ice. What’s next? The rest… “and the rest, I don’t wanna know.”
credits

Recorded at Busy Bee Studios in Beijing by Andy Gill and Santi Arribas
Mixed at The Beauchamp Building, London by Andy Gill and Santi Arribas
Mastered at The Mixing Factory in London

GR028
genjingrecords.com

Imported to Australia under license

SMZB – Ten Years Rebellion – 1st February 2011

Cat #: 045TZM

Founded in 1996, SMZB was one of the first punk bands to form in China and the first to originate from Wuhan, one of cities at the heart of China’s burgeoning underground music scene. Drawing their own influences from Celtic-inspired bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, and transforming these influences in response to the massive and out of control social transformations taking place in their hometown and throughout China, SMZB is widely recognised as one of China’s most influential bands, whose fans include musicians from many of the most important punk and underground rock bands throughout China. Although they have produced five CDs to date, only the first one, released by Scream, was approved for sale in China, the rest were released only in Europe and North America. 

Originally a trio when they first began playing smoky clubs and small performance spaces in their home town, SMZB has subsequently gone through several member changes and, by the end of 2002, had evolved into a quartet. During the early years the band kept up a rigorous schedule of shows and tours throughout China and eventually abroad. In 2004 SMZB toured across Southeast Asia and in 2005 they completed their first European tour with the help of Norway’s October Party Records. In 2006 the band changed their line-up yet again replacing their guitar and bass players and adding a flute & tin whistle to complete the current five member line-up. Through these changes SMZB has grown and developed, smashing together in their music a mélange of Chinese influences, Celtic noise, and straight punk fury which has resulted in a unique style that is instantly recognisable. 

It is not just as musicians that SMZB has helped create the explosion in music that China is currently experiencing. Since the very beginnings of China’s underground rock scene founding members Wu Wei and Hu Juan have been active promoting shows, booking tours for foreign bands, and helping younger punk bands gain a foothold in the scene. Shortly after they were formed they founded the Wuhan Riot Group, a collective of Wuhan punk bands that was instrumental in forging the Wuhan underground music scene. SMZB continues to serve as role models for a whole generation of Chinese punk rockers and after ten years are considered one of the key bands in the explosive Chinese music scene. 

tenzenmen is proud to present SMZB’s sixth CD release, Ten Years Rebellion, which was recorded in Wuhan and mixed in Norway and is only their second CD to be released by an independent label in China (Maybe Mars). 

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.