New Music, formerly Yin (音, “music”), is a monthly RADII column that looks at Chinese songs spanning hip hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between.
Summer has arrived in China, the plum rain season has come to an end in Shanghai and we are pumped for some awesome new music that reflects the sunshine outside.
On this month’s SoundCheck, we talk about some of our favorite tracks from the month, by the likes of Wang Yitai and Aire, Yadae and Bloodz Boi, while we also discuss the stories behind some of our current favorite summer songs from Chinese artists.
This new one from Deep Water is a doozy. On their new album Friends, they adapt nine different songs from musical friends of theirs, using their distinct dreampop stylings to make their singular mark on the tracks.
Among the musicians that they adapt are Chengdu producer Wu Zhuoling and fellow Ruby Eyes Records group Gatsby in a Daze.
You can listen to that over on Apple Music.
This track is a communion of two of the best young hip hop musicians in China right now. Wang Yitai is the future of Chengdu hip hop, while Aire, a rapper from Xinjiang, is a past winner of The Rap of China.
The beats on this one are funky and laidback, while Wang Yitai’s vocals are a bit more forceful. It’s a nice track featuring horns, that shows off the pairs aptitude for romantic music.
Wang Yitai is the Future King of Chinese Hip Hop
Bloodz Boi came up in the nightlife scene in Beijing, working with folks like Puzzy Stack to put on party nights at some of the city’s best underground clubs, like Dada.
While he previously turned to rapping, swaying towards emo rap, he’s embraced a relatively new form of music recently, called hyperpop, which is a fusion of EDM, trance, emo and other genres. In “Iced Lemon Tea,” he captures the hyperactivity of this modern life, infusing it with a distinct summery sound, for something that is delicious and refreshing.
Yadae, formerly known as Duck Fight Goose, return with a full album after dropping tracks throughout the earlier parts of this year. Made up of well-known producers 33EMYBW and Han Han (Gooooose), the sounds the pair make collectively are wildly different from what we might hear from their producer personas.
Yin: Shanghai Band Duck Fight Goose Return (as YADAE) with Smooth Synthpop EP “AI”
Becoming is a luscious record, full of musical interludes and dripping with funk and jazzy tones. It comes via Modern Sky, one of China’s biggest labels, with whom Yadae signed earlier this year.
To hear the 10-track album outside of China, you can head over to Apple Music.
This new one from Shanghai singer-songwriter Yehaiyahan comes via Beijing-based electronic label E-werk.
“Lai” is a gorgeous track, opening with enjoyably restrained plucked strings, before atmospheric fuzz is introduced alongside Yehaiyahan’s vocals. It’s downbeat, funky, danceable and light like a feather.
Bridge is perhaps the second most famous rapper from Chongqing right now (behind The Rap of China winner GAI, of course). A member of the city’s rap crew GO$H, Bridge is identifiable by his oft-colored dreadlocks.
He’s dropped a flurry of tracks already this year, and this new five-track EP features the likes of MC Pharaoh, Jony J and Tizzy T.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Beijing-based duo Nocturnes. The pair, made up of Qinghai singer Leslie Liu and Irish guitarist and producer Dave Carey, recently signed with Modern Sky’s sublabel WaterMade.
Poetic Irony is typically moody, romantic and fantastically produced, drawing out the power of Liu’s vocals. The six-track EP was released alongside plans by the duo to go out on tour later this summer.
From Xi’an, Pact is a key member of that city’s pre-eminent rap crew, NOUS Underground. He cut his teeth at battle rap competitions like Iron Mic back in the day, before signing with Fat Shady’s No. 4 Music (also home to Wang Yitai).
His latest release is something a bit different, as he incorporates a variety of different styles into his work. He’s also planning to make this EP work as the soundtrack to a short film that he’s made.
Cover image: Deep Water, Bridge, Yadae, Nocturnes and Bloodz Boi
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