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Yin: Beijing Psych Band Chui Wan’s Night at the Museum 2

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Yin (音, “music”) is a weekly RADII feature 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.

Another week, another darling of the Beijing underground music scene making a neat video inside an art institution. (Part 1 here.)

Here’s psychedelic quartet Chui Wan unveiling a new song at the Times Art Museum in Beijing, with their dialed-in vintage organ tone, freely floating guitars and smoothly swaying rhythm section accompanied by mood-appropriate, multi-colored strobes and… robot arms?

After undergoing some lineup changes since the 2017 release of their third album, The Landscape the Tropics Never Had, Chui Wan has regrouped and re-emerged with a more fashion-forward stage presence in tow. For this event the band was styled by Shanghai fashion brand Digest Design, whose Dooling Jiang writes of the event:

TELESTRON uses modern technology to simulate the ancient Greek altar, restoring the mystery of worship and warning the crowd. The two robotic arms provide a slow and methodical “illusion” of communication, which in fact is a fierce “conversation.” This “illusion,” the opening up of the non-auditory “psychedelic,” is the initial entry point for the design.

In the design direction, we first respect ancient Greece — a period that payed great attention to harmony and nature. The ancient Greeks were good at using a piece of cloth and accessories such as pins and ropes to “match” the human body with geometric logic. Therefore, the overall design tone is relaxed, rigorous, in the shape of classical proportions, cutting without sharpness, while using uniform clothing to maintain an internal order and balance between the four musicians.

 

Earlier this year, Chui Wan released a recording from a previous one-off gig at an art space — the straightforwardly named Chui Wan at the Museum, recorded at the off-798 Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. The band is currently gearing up to record a new album with Landscape producer and frequent Animal Collective collaborator Rusty Santos, and prepping a tour behind the new effort for Summer/Fall 2019. We’ll let you know when that one’s ready for your ears/pineal glands.

Cover image courtesy Times Art Museum

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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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