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.
I tend to throw the word “cyberpunk” around a little too freely, but alas, here I am about to do it again. Not sure of a better word for the carbon-fiber-sharp assault of retro toms and blaring synthetic airhorns that greet you in the opening moments of “I’m Lost”, a recent track from Beijing producer Joy Ginger.
“I’m Lost” kicks off a killer six-song EP called Love Is Medicine, which the artist released in May, but has just now gotten a music video. It is… pretty cyberpunk:
Dropped into the POV of some futurish, faceless metal automaton, “I’m Lost” sets you wandering blindly through an eerily depopulated gray-and-pink cityscape like some kind of android archaeologist seeking clues about its long-gone creator race. There are no hard-coded “Beijing” signifiers there per se, but the wide streets and garish superblock architecture feel pretty spot on.
Sound-wise, the hard-edged, low-end-heavy palette used here betrays Joy Ginger’s pedigree of involvement with some of the most progressive names in Beijing club music: Do Hits, to whom he submitted a guqin-laced beat a few years back, and now Babel Records, who’ve picked up the baton of wobbly Sinofuturist bass music since Do Hits went dark a year ago.
The flickering, fogged-out video for “I’m Lost” doubles down on that whole vibe. It’s an impressive piece of work by Immosa, a visual artist who’s created a unifying aesthetic for several Babel releases via 3D-animated cover art.
If you happen to be in Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou or Shanghai, you can catch the edgier end of the Beijing club sound next month on a four-city tour behind this release. The Love Is Medicine mini-tour sees Joy Ginger sharing booths with fellow Do Hits/Babel Record affiliates Dokedo and ZHI16, also recommended.
If not, take your time with the Babel Records back catalog, which includes 18 releases to date, over at the label’s Bandcamp.
You might also like:
Yin: Bombed-Out, Lo-Fi IDM from FunctionLab’s Phubber
Yin: Tap in to an Alternate Futurism with W.Y. Huang’s “Mercy”
Listen: New Mixes of Chinese Music from NYU and Crack Magazine
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