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CultureDaily Drip

Listen: Techno Label Crater Monde is Here to Save Us from the “Black Hole-Like Cultural Junkyard”

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“At this moment, the world we live together in has come to 2019. Behind this near-sci-fi number, there is a turbulent global structure, an impetuous social environment, and ever-changing technology. […] Culture and art, the only bridge that can connect the world, has guided the world of human beings since our inception. But we are good at forgetting and abandoning. In this world of rapid decline, we seem to have no idea how to use these ethereal, of how to hold what we call culture and art in our hands.”

This how new Chinese electronic music label Crater Monde introduce its debut compilation. It’s some mission statement. But the label is backing up this grand prose with some impressively tangible actions, releasing their first collection of music not only on an array of digital platforms, but also on vinyl and accompanying it with a full-on music nerd magazine, which will “focus on each producer of the selected album, recording their inner world and feelings as well as some of their perspectives and opinions and technical approach.”

And if the statement of intent sounds a bit lofty, the label also implores listeners to, “Let us live every day as if we were living in a celebration created by us in this quasi-future world.”

One of the suggest paths to living that celebration? 9 tracks of top-notch techno from a collection of Chinese producers you may never have heard of:

Crater Monde is the brainchild of Liang Yi, frontman for Chengdu band Stolen (who are set to tour with New Order in October). While Stolen’s sound incorporates moments of anthemic rock, judging from this first compilation Crater Monde’s focus will be more on Liang’s passion for darker, atmospheric strains of techno.

The record pulls together a geographically diverse group of artists, from Guangzhou’s mafmadmaf to Shanghai’s Yan Jun. Some, such as Chengdu’s 3He, are relative newcomers; others are well established on China’s electronic music scene (Beijing-based HWA, for example, is also known as Elvis T, a Taipei-born producer who has appeared on Boiler Room, played at Tresor, and co-founded both Lantern Club in Beijing and Acupuncture Records).

But it’s a carefully-curated selection of quality music throughout and we highly recommend you dig into it — whether you want to hold a physical record in your hands and push back against the “black hole-like cultural junkyard” of digital ephemera. Or, y’know, just set it up to stream on YouTube (below), Spotify (above), iTunes, Tidal, or Google Play.

Cover photo: L+R

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.