Liz Tung has a longish piece up now on MTV Iggy about the experimental music scene in Beijing, from the days of Subjam and Waterland Kwanyin all the way to XP and the inauguration of The Other Place (pangbianr’s new base) as Beijing’s second (or is it third?) venue dedicated solely to experimental music.
It’s quite a good primer to the development of the experimental music ‘scene’ in Beijing, with interviews from Zhu Wenbo (founder of Zoomin’ Night), Josh Feola (founder of pangbianr, former booker at D-22/XP) and Michael Pettis (Maybe Mars/XP), detailing the founding of Yan Jun’s Sub Jam collective, inception of the Waterland Kwanyin monthly series, bands such as WHITE+ and Birdstriking honing their skills during Zoomin’ Nights at D-22 and the latest developments in a scene where the participants often outnumber their audience members.
Having borne witness to many noisy, sparsely attended events over the years, we can say firsthand that the audience for this sort of music isn’t exactly expanding. However, Tung’s article is a testament to the relative overall strength of the music ‘scene’ in Beijing (or at least the enthusiasm of the organizers and mysterious financial ability of it’s benefactors), which is healthy enough to support such fringe events. And true to their underground roots, the participants aren’t necessarily interested in mainstream recognition or bigger crowds. They are perfectly happy with the knobs and wires, making new noises on stage.