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Yin: Deep House with Cyborg Tendencies from MHP + Akini Jing

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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.

TGIF, amirite. If you’ve had one of those work weeks that you’re so tired, you’re actually over being human, you’re in luck: singer/songwriter Akini Jing and veteran Shanghai-based techno/house producer MHP have just the cyborg-flavored Deep House lament for you in their new track, The Last of Human.

I’m tired of being human / The last of human / The past of human

Both Akini Jing and MHP (aka Ma Haiping) have established an affinity for speculative futurism in their work — the former alludes to “Cyborg firmware updating🧬 ” on her Instagram profile, and the latter put out an entire concept album blending together theses on techno, Futurism (in the Italian sense), and future-ism (in the sense of the thrust & energy encoded into 21st-century Chinese urban development).

In a text accompanying the new track, the artists say that “The Last of Human” was inspired by Childhood’s End, a 1953 novel by sci-fi master Arthur C. Clarke. “Within the rhythm of Ma Haiping’s electronic dance music,” they say, “Akini Jing uses her voice to describe human beings’ feelings of rising to the level of higher civilizations, which are accompanied by the hope of unknown [future] civilization and nostalgia for past civilizations.”

The song’s melodic structure is based on a sample from Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1 in G,” which is transposed and layered in with Jing’s sweet falsetto expressing cyborg desire. “This [compositional method] is reminiscent of [Isaac] Asimov’s reference to the future of humans listening to electronic music in the novel Foundation, looking for lost ancient civilization in Classical music,” the artists add.

Stream “The Last of Human” on Soundcloud or YouTube.

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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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