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Photo of the day: fRUITYSPACE, Beijing

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In celebration of International Record Store Day, which falls on April 21 this year, our photo theme this week is Record Shopping in China. Though vinyl culture never quite caught on China in quite the same way as it did in other parts of the world, it’s on the rise. This week we’ll put the spotlight on some of the best shops in China to pick up new tunes.

Beijingers are spoiled for choice when it comes to spots to pick up vinyl. Those in the market can head to YUE Space for a large and random assortment of second-hand records, Indie Music for fresh-in-plastic overseas imports, or 666 Rock Shop to scratch the metal itch. But the best record shop catering to the local scene is fRUITYSPACE, a cozy noise basement located just east of the National Art Museum of China.

Zhai Ruixin

fRUITYSPACE opened in early 2016, spun off from fRUITYSHOP, a larger and more diversified vinyl shop that founder Zhai Ruixin previously ran in a nearby hutong (he’s since passed the keys to a friend). fRUITYSPACE is a narrow, windowless basement, featuring a small stage area in the back with some amps and drums, a scattering of chairs and vintage school desks in front of that for the audience, and two fridges stuffed with beer in the back.

But today we’re most interested in the side room, which is arguably the most complete collection of vinyl, CDs, cassettes, zines, and art books being pumped out of the Chinese DIY scene today.

Over the last seven years or so, a groundswell of upstart DIY music labels has cropped up around China. fRUITYSPACE slings pretty much all of their wares, from the experimental musings of Zoomin’ Night, to the genre-agnostic splits of Nasty Wizard Recordings, to the latest pressings of vinyl labels Genjing and Groove Bunny, to the handcrafted output of self-releasing bands like 工工工.

A born-and-raised Beijinger, Zhai Ruixin is also an old hand in the city’s music scene, making his own guitar-based ambient electronica under the name ME:MO since 2002 and peppering the Beijing underground with other contributions, including event series and a web radio show. A year or so ago, Zhai launched his own vinyl label, Spacefruity, just to put a vintage psychedelic sheen on a few bands he especially prefers. If you find yourself in the store, the two 7″ EPs that Spacefruity has released so far (for Boiled Hippo and The Molds) are highly recommended.

fRUITYSPACE

13 Meishuguan Dong Jie, Dongcheng District, Beijing

北京,东城区,美术馆东街13号

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Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a Shanghai-based writer and musician, and RADII's Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, Artsy, LEAP, Tiny Mix Tapes, 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.

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