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Gigi Lee’s New Track Offers Dark, Sexualized View of Covid Quarantine

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For the past 19 or so months, a large portion of our planet’s human population has endured hardships caused by a novel disease outbreak. Curve-flattening quarantine policies and social distancing measures have been enacted in many countries around the globe — affecting billions of people.

Shanghai-based DJ, producer, and singer-songwriter Gigi Lee is among those impacted by Covid-induced travel restrictions and disease-prevention measures — an experience she has chosen to immortalize in a dark, sexually charged new electronic track.

“Isolation” is Lee’s first song to drop on Warner Asia’s new dance music imprint Whet Records and resulted from a stint in mandatory quarantine after returning to Shanghai from Malaysia in 2020.

“I think the lyrics are pretty figurative. It’s kind of my journey through quarantine. From being bored and wanting to escape to self-doubt,” says Lee, who originally hails from the city of Dalian in Northeast China and is now based in Shanghai.

Lee delivers the song’s vocal component in short, rapid-fire succession, and the lyrics touch on everything from overpopulation to masturbation.

“I need some stimulation; Not just porn or masturbation; There is always temptation; To get the hell out of this isolation,” Lee delivers in the opening verse.

The track’s lyrics offer insight into Lee’s experience in quarantine, which likely resonates with young people around the globe. The loneliness, frustration (both sexual and otherwise), and general uncertainty — “Isolation” addresses them all.

Lee also uses the song to paint a grim picture of what lies ahead for the human species and our planet.

isolation by gigi lee

The cover for Gigi Lee’s “Isolation”

“It’s not just about quarantine; it’s about the bigger picture, what is going to happen now globally. The pandemic is the main thing leading us into a new era — the beginning of the end,” she tells RADII, touching on the song’s doomsday message.

“The world is in devastation; Where the fuck is our destination; Maybe this is transformation; Maybe too much population,” sings Lee.

Lee’s producer, Sergiy Dvornytskyy, created the beat for “Isolation” with clear inspiration from the English electronic music duo The Chemical Brothers, as well as The Prodigy. The goal was to capture some of the futurism of the big beat electronica genre and use it to share Lee’s thoughts on the dark road ahead.

However, the complexity of Lee’s approach as an artist means that there is more to the song — it also embodies a feeling of nostalgia.

gigi lee new single isolation

The track’s lyrics offer insight into Lee’s time in quarantine, touching on loneliness, frustration, and the general uncertainty she experienced

“I think, starting from the overall vibe, the genre of the song is big beat electronica — a genre that was very popular back in the ’90s in the UK. At that time, that genre was already very futuristic,” says Lee. “Thirty years ago, it was so pioneering, and now bringing this genre back is both a mix of futuristic and retro.”

Lee has been incredibly productive of late, telling RADII that she has recorded a slew of demos in her home studio — demos she hopes to drop via Whet in the not-so-distance future.

Fans of her music will be amped to learn that several remixes of “Isolation” are also on the horizon.

“The three remixes from Juany Bravo, Criminal Sounds, and Mainterm are in the genres of deep house and microhouse, house-tech house and techno,” says Lee, who adds that two or three remixes of “Isolation” should be released in September. 

All images courtesy of Gigi Lee

Matthew Bossons
Matt is RADII's managing editor. He is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with a passion for history, untold stories and scuba diving. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Matt has worked as a journalist in China for over half a decade and has had work published in major Chinese media outlets and international publications. He has previously lived in Guangzhou and Beijing.