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Laughing Ears on How Death and Norse Mythology Influenced Her New Record + Exclusive Mix

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One of the most exciting young producers in China at the moment, Laughing Ears is back with a new release this week.

The Shanghai-based artist, who was born in northern Liaoning province, is perhaps best-known for creating ambient-yet-angular sci-fi dreamscapes, releasing on China-based labels such as Ran Music and FunctionLab, as well as international imprints such as Australia’s DECISIONS and the UK’s Chinabot.

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On her new release, she’s linking up with Mexican label Infinite Machine, whom she reached out to after finding their music online. She’s also been stretching her aural soundscapes, focusing her efforts around crafting music that is more bass-inclined, something that can be heard on the record’s lead track “Loki.”

Speaking about her fondness of working with different labels with different identities, she says: “In my point of view, I want to represent different feelings’ work in separate ways, so for now I’ve cooperated with a few different labels. They are all super supportive and help me a lot, and I definitely will work with them in the near future. I choose this way because I make a variety of tracks, so for me the best way to release them is to separate them based on different sound aesthetics. Infinite Machine provides me much more space for my personality.”

Related: 

Yin: Pulsating Dark Electronica from Emerging Shanghai Producer Laughing Ears

The new record is called Blood, a name she says is “related to Fenrir, a giant wolf from Norse mythology.” In a deeper sense, the record is about her uncle. “I heard about this myth long ago, and I relate Fenrir to my uncle because they were both in the same situation in some way.

My uncle was an alcoholic for a decade, or as long as I can remember. He committed suicide in an alcohol rehabilitation hospital on his birthday earlier this year, and we lost him forever. We love him even though he is not perfect.”

 

She continues the heartrending story, saying, “Some people’s obsession with certain things is in their bones, perhaps their genes have some defects. Even though they have imperfections, it’s not their fault. Their family will always love and respect them. I just want to express that those who are imperfect and incomplete are also pure, and will always be loved and treasured. This album is inspired by the death of a loved one and the family changes that occurred because of it.”

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The music is dense, dark and introspective, as Laughing Ears delves into her feelings about her uncle’s death in a sensitive fashion.

“People always describe bad things as ugly and dangerous but I actually think they’re kinda genuine,” she says.

Ahead of the release of Blood on Infinite Machine on February 26, Laughing Ears also provided us with our latest china.wav mix that combines some of the new tracks on her record with some unreleased music, as well as a delicious rework of Cat Power’s “Werewolves.”

She goes on to describe where her musical process is at now. “When I started making electronic music, I was doing ambient stuff. I still do, but I am also growing step-by-step to make the bass-lines more expressive and the whole image of the music rhythmic. I listen to all music no matter what genre it is, and I make music that blends these different genres together.”

All photos by Thanakrit Gu

Bryan Grogan
Bryan is RADII's Culture Editor. He is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with an interest in culture stories with a social bent. He once correctly guessed all 151 original Pokemon in seven minutes for an online quiz. He also correctly guessed all 100 second generation Pokemon in eight minutes for an online quiz.