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Yin: Dirty Digitalia from Hong Qile (Beijing) and Dirty K (Nanjing)

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Yin (音, “music”) is a weekly RADII column that looks at Chinese songs spanning hip hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

Happy Friday, hope your eardrums need cleaning! Two recent dispatches of quirky digital murk coming at you from two distinctly different geographical and stylistic points on the Chinese underground experimental electronic music map.

 

First up: EXIT, the latest from Beijing-based producer and experimental music scene veteran Hong Qile. Originally from Fuzhou in the south, Hong has self-released his forward-thinking, often aurally challenging takes on electronic composition and computer music since 2006, when he launched his label Bwave (also sometimes called Brain Wave Communication). Hong was a regular guest at Beijing venues like 2 Kolegas, where Yan Jun held his mid-2000’s experimental music weekly Waterland Kwanyin, as well as other long-defunct Beijing spaces like D-22, XP, and Zajia Lab. He relocated to the capital permanently in 2012.

Since 2015 he’s curated the performance series Pixel Echo, which has seen him expand his previously mostly-sound-based practice into the realm of live-coded visuals, developing a series of A/V performances bridging a gap between niche art and music circles in Beijing. Here’s a look at one of those:

 

Hong’s last major solo release was 2017’s Pixel³, another one worth your time. EXIT, released last month, is comprised of two fifteen-minute tracks composed as a soundtrack for a choreography work by dancer Gu Jiani. Stream/buy it here.

If you’re more of an “I like it weird but still want it to be vaguely club-playable” person, here’s the dose for you: Panorama, the sophomore EP from Nanjing producer Dirty K, just released by Genome6.66Mbp.

Dirty K is an artist I’ve been following for a while; it’s great to see him (and the curation of Genome) getting more recognition in the pages of international Clubland Media. Complex, which premiered the video above, writes of another track on the new EP:

A dark and oppressive storm of abrasive futurism, “Ego Fusion” gathers and builds like an impending hurricane. Peppered with hints of grime and dubstep, “Ego Fusion” continuously threatens to explode. Just when you think it’s subsided into a melodic break, it becomes clear you’re only in the eye of the storm. 

Buy/stream Panorama by Dirty K via the Genome6.66Mbp Bandcamp.

Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a Shanghai-based writer and musician, and RADII's former Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, MIT Technology Review, Artsy, Bandcamp Daily and more. He's been active in China's underground music scene since 2010 via his booking platform pangbianr.com, and is a former member of Beijing bands Chui Wan, SUBS, and Vagus Nerve.