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.
Today we strap in for a dose of “unique Asian new wave” from Guzz, a producer born in the subtropical southern province of Hainan and based in the extremely non-tropical megalopolis of Beijing. Here’s the title track off Guzz’s just released sophomore album:
Purplish red mist steep in the evening glow,
Brown stones glistening with the crystal.
Like an endless stream, days and nights flow,
The wind disperses and condenses above the coast.
The lush video, shot in Myanmar by Canadian director Matthew Moroz, adequately reflects the atmospherics coursing throughout Guzz’s new album. It also reflects the larger journey that Guzz has been on, a path of musical discovery that’s led him from the squelchy acid techno of his 2013 EP From the Desert to the Moon, to the skittish bass of his 2016 Do Hits debut An Elephant in the Jungle, to the eclectic, dense instrumentation of his brilliant 2018 EP Koi and this latest effort.
In an interview last year behind the release of Koi, Guzz spoke a bit about digging in to Southeast Asian traditional culture — strains of which he experienced growing up in Hainan:
“During this trip to Myanmar, I spent two afternoons at the Shwedagon Pagoda. It seemed that people went there to pray to the Buddha, but in my eyes, they were actually there to talk to their own inner worlds. In general, people don’t realize that they can talk to themselves, so they need an external image or religion. They talked about everything, left all of their expectations and miseries in the temples, then walked out clean to positively face the next day. This is good. In fact, it doesn’t matter where people live. All religions and cultures look different, just because they put different layers or coats on simple humanity.”
Stream/buy Walking in a Boundless Dream on Guzz’s Bandcamp, and read more about his work over the last two years in the interview below:
Yin: Guzz’s “Fleeting Whispers”
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