Over at Slink Rat, Shanghai musician Adam McRae, better known as Reykjavictim has written up an account of his south China tour (Wuhan, Guangzhou and Hong Kong). It’s a thoroughly interesting read, especially compared to the interview with Jef Vreys of New Noise from last week. While there are more and more non-native Chinese musicians embarking on tour routes all over China — see thruoutin and Slink Rat’s alter ego Pairs — Vreys echoes complaints made by other China rock promoters and watchers about local bands’ unwillingness, inability or both to promote their own music to a wider audience locally or internationally.
You may have noticed that things have been a little bit quiet over here at Radar HQ. That snap you see above was taken this morning at Tian Chi in Xinjiang, where our editor is on tour with Scottish DIY indie folksters The Fence Collective. With one more UK Now tour, Rabbit’s Foot, and myriad other obligations to fulfill, the Radar will be on a short hiatus until we can catch our breaths again.
In the meantime, our colleagues at Split Works will be putting on shows for US band The Fray in November and our Chinese counterpart website Wooozy.cn resume their Wooozy Sessions as well. We’ll be back before you know it.
Soviet Pop. Deadly Cradle Death. Raying Temple. For those in Beijing and around China who follow the noise and experimental scene in China’s capital, those names will be familiar. Harsh noise and experimental sound art have been around Beijing for years, with artist-musicians Yan Jun, Li Jianhong, Torturing Nurse and others leading the way. However, filmmaker Joshua Frank chose to interview three younger musicians for his documentary on the current Beijing noise scene, Howling into Harmony.
Howling into Harmony profiles three musicians currently involved in various capacities in the scene; Li Yang Yang (Raying Temple, Nojiji), He Fan (Birdstriking, Carsick Cars, Deadly Cradle Death) and Li Qing (Soviet Pop, Snapline). The documentary was shot in the summer of 2011 by Frank, a young Canadian who went to high school in Beijing and became interested in the noise scene both as an observer and participant through his band Hot & Cold.
Frank, currently a student at New York University, returns to Beijing on July 28th to screen his finished documentary at Beijing’s own incubator of young experimental musicians, XP. The screening is at 7:30 and free of charge. XP is located at the southwest corner where Di’anmen Nei Dajie meets Di’anmen Xi Dajie. It is behind a roasted chestnut stand called 秋栗香.
Douban event info here. Trailer below (Vimeo only, sorry folks)
Every year June 21st is “Fête de la Musique,” founded in France in 1982 and now celebrated in cities worldwide. This year sees the day of music come to Beijing for the first time, with performances by local and expat musicians all around the city. Punk heroes SUBS headline the event at MAO Livehouse, with 30 other bands playing in 15 venues across the Gulou neighborhood of the city. Every single performance is free and we tip our hats to the organisers for putting together the event AND keeping everything literally within walking distance.
For this year’s JUE | Music + Art festival, China promoters Split Works brought over a three-piece American group called Devil Music Ensemble, who performed an original composition, a new score to the Chinese silent film Red Heroine. In Shanghai, the opening band for their show were two Shanghai-based DJs Laura Ingalls and Clement Pony, who perform as The Horses (or Acid Pony Club). They had prepared their own new, original composition film score, to a seminal (or so Wikipedia tells us) Swedish silent film called The Phantom Carriage.
Split Works pencil sharpener/top banana Archie Hamilton was quoted saying that Devil Music Ensemble and Acid Pony Club gig at Art Labor was the “best fucking show at JUE this year.” Now, the Ponys have finally uploaded their work to the wild wonderful Internets for all of you lucky people to watch, learn, and be amazed. Check it out below. Peep at the Ponys’ Soundcloud and keep updated with their distro label, Disques Poney.
Over here at the Radar, we don’t normally do the whole weekend live music, gig roundup, go see my friend’s girlfriend’s cousin’s band post, but this is a special one. Longtime Shanghai shitrock indie band (and Split Works opening band MVPs) Boys Climbing Ropes are breaking up, and their last-ever shows (that’s with an “s”) are Friday and Saturday night at Yuyintang. They will be joined by pretty much every other band playing in Shanghai over the course of what promises to be a very long, rock-filled weekend.
Gig poster below and full lineup (filched shamelessly from SmartShanghai) after the jump.
Following yesterday’s International Day Against Homophobia, we bring to you two inspiring stories about Chinese and Hong Kong musicians and their campaigns in support of gay rights in China.
In a stadium concert at Hong Kong Coliseum in late April, pop star Anthony Wong (黄耀明) saved the night’s biggest revelation for last: he came out as gay in front of thousands of fans, saying “…I’m gay. I’m a homosexual. G-A-Y.” Though the region is known for many flamboyant pop culture figures of both sexes, Wong is only the second major Hong Kong performer to come out publicly and first to do so in such dramatic fashion. However, no word on whether Wong’s newly out status was addressed by him or others at the MMAX Music Festival in Beijing a week later (anyone who was there want to chime in?)
A week later in Shanghai, local band and pot-stirrers Top Floor Circus unveiled their own support for gay rights in an equally large-scale fashion at the conclusion of their headlining set on the first night of the Strawberry Festival in Shanghai. For their encore, the group performed a song by the late Hong Kong pop star Leslie Cheung, the first performer of his status to come out publicly, and who committed suicide nine years ago. Afterwards, the band gestured to the members of Nvai, a Shanghai lesbian group, who passed them a giant rainbow banner emblazoned with the phrase “同志爱音乐节” or “gays love music festivals.” Onstage, lead singer Lu Chen announced to the cheering audience “There is diversity in love. I hope you all love your real selves.”
Here at the Radar, we are always heartened to see and report of such displays of inclusion and togetherness in the industry we love so much. Not everything has to be tales of intellectual property malfeasance or brand campaigns gone horribly, horribly wrong. To everyone out there in China music land, no matter who (or what) you love, we support you!
Again, not strictly music based, but too funny not to post. Simple story is this
Chinese travel agent/ ticketing agency spams a large group of emails. Forgets to BCC people
One of the respondents (an expat working for an American retail firm) takes offense, and replies to all
Chinese travel agent/ ticketing agency (this time on BCC) threatens to hound said expat and company out of China.
It’s pretty good. More after the jump.
We took out the expat’s name/ company, but left in the Chinese one. This is because the exchange was precipitated without solicitation by the offending Chinese company (in fact, had never heard of either of the participants). We are leaving “Tommy’s” contacts in there as he doesn’t seem to mind giving them out to all and sundry.
Finally, we do not condone the response (in fact, we kinda hate it when expats behave like this in China), but hey. Take it or leave it…
Bacardi and Groove Armada signed a deal 10 months ago to produce and distribute 3 albums (plus various other bits and pieces such as live shows etc.). We at the Radar were always a little skeptical as to how either party would capitalise on the arrangement. However, Billboard have just come up with this piece of news whereby new MP3′s will be distributed via traditional download stores in March, but also via BLiveshare, a new platform set up by Bacardi to encourage people to share music in a way that will benefit the artist.