Yin: Best Music from China in 2018


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.

I’m not big on year-end lists, but looking back on RADII’s 2018 coverage, I’d be remiss not to highlight some of the highlights in one place for easy repeated listening. Here’s some of the music from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong that soundtracked long walks, melted browser load times, or otherwise confronted the eardrums in an interesting way this year:

Alpine Decline – Return to Desolation Lake

Click-through: Beijing/LA Duo Alpine Decline’s Startling New Browser Video

Guzz – 锦鲤 KOI

Yin: Guzz’s “Fleeting Whispers”

Lonely Leary – Through the Park, Almost There*

“Stay Ugly”: An Interview With Beijing Post-Punks Lonely Leary

* This one also got shouted out in one of NPR’s year-end lists. Nice!

Zaliva-D – Sky Singing + “Mist” (ruò tán remix)

Yin: Barren Solstice Ripper from ruò tán x Zaliva-D

FAZI – Dead Sea 死海

B-Side China: Was 2018 the Year Chinese Music Went Global?

Osheyack – Sadomodernism

6 Young(ish) Producers and DJs in China Worth Checking

Dream Can – Into Sparks

Shanghai trio Dream Can

ayrtbh – Song of Anon

Yin: Electronic Composer ayrtbh’s Latest “Track” is a .dmg File

鸭听天 – 义乌情

Cover of Yiwu band 鸭听天’s debut album, released in June 2018 by Beijing label Spacefruity Records

Dolphy Kick Bebop – Smoke a Haiku Cigarette

CITY MIX: Something in the Hangzhou Water

Li Daiguo – 鸟听

Yin: Li Daiguo Returns to Piano on New Album “鸟叫”

Snapline – Shou Hua

Yin: Beijing Post-Punks Snapline Return with Elliptical “Answer”

Gooooose – Dong1

Yin: Wild New Sounds from Shanghai’s 33EMYBW & GOOOOOSE

33EMYBW – Golem

Bugged Out: The Humanoid Machine Music of Shanghai Artists Han Han and 33EMYBW

The Molds – Born Astride the Grave

Yin: New Old Beijing Gutter-Garage from The Molds

Alexmalism – TKO

A New Community for Hong Kong’s Underground Music Scene

GG Lobster – Voodoo Drums

GG Lobster, a fixture in Hangzhou’s thriving underground club music scene

Shao – Doppler Shift

Yin: Gripping Techno Thriller from Beijing Producer Shao

Meuko! Meuko! – 鬼島 Ghost Island

Watch: 360° Music Video by Meuko! Meuko! Taps the Virtual Spirit Realm

Struggle Session – 2016-2018 Discography

Beijing Hardcore Band Struggle Session on Unique Punk Hybrids from China

Dagger – Dagger/HRVST Split

Hong Kong heavy peddlers Dagger

Bohan Phoenix – OVERSEAS

WATCH: Bohan Phoenix Debuts Glitched-Out, Interactive Music Video

Howie Lee x Teom Chen – “明日不可待”

Watch: Howie Lee and Teom Chen Render Digital Afterlives in New Video “Tomorrow Cannot Be Waited”

That about does it. Back on the hunt for new tunes on Jan 1 so stay tuned as always.

Cover photo: A member of Shanghai band Dream Can performs an interactive art project at Adelaide OzAsia Festival in November 2018 (Facebook)

Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a US-based writer and musician, and RADII's former Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, MIT Technology Review, Artsy, Bandcamp Daily 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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