Yin (音, “music”) is a weekly Radii feature that looks at Chinese songs spanning classical to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.
Birdstriking was one of the bands that sucked me into Beijing’s music scene early on. Back in 2010, when I’d just launched my label pangbianr, they were among my closest friends and favorite artists — their fresh, raw approach to deconstructed noise rock touched some nerves with me from the first time I saw them. Mixing a healthy disregard for pop-friendly song structures with an urgent yet earnest, palpably young protest mindset, Birdstriking wailed and flailed on stage in the golden days of long-gone venue D-22, staring down the barrel of their parents’ generation’s expectations of what their work/life balance should be, and where rock’n’roll might fit into it (nowhere, really). The band’s very name refers to a phenomenon in which a stray bird strikes down an airplane by flying into it — a metaphor aptly containing the band’s sonic tendencies toward rebellion and creative destruction.
Birdstriking released their self-titled debut in 2011, and coasted on that one for the next six years, stashing several international tours and festival appearances under their belt. Now they’re a bit older, a bit wiser, and have just (like, minutes ago) released their long anticipated second album, Holey Brain, several years in the making, day jobs be damned.
The album release is heralded by this thoroughly psychedelic animated music video for its debut single, “Feed”:
About this song’s imagery, Birdstriking says:
Baby birds grow up raised by mother birds, leave the nest, fly towards a bigger forest, look forward to taking care of their parents in their old age. They eat their mothers’ wrinkles, making their youth shine again… From a fairytale to an oath, the song unfurls like a scroll, telling the story of a generation coming to maturity like a bird just now hitting its stride in the blue, open sky, soaring without fear.
Mm. Metaphors. The song itself is a mellow, mature Birdstriking still clutching at the lessons they learned (and yelled with abandon) in their earlier years. A tuneful distillation of their various influences, and a comfortably uplifting way to kickstart the weekend for sure.
Holey Brain is out now from Maybe Mars Records.