Revisiting one of my favorite China albums of 2016 for this week’s selection: CLVB ZVKVNFT by Shanghai band Duck Fight Goose. Kind of vibes with Radii’s content this week on a number of levels. For one, it’s a concept album with a thoroughly Chinese take on sci-fi, with a backstory partially set in a dystopian future Foxconn factory where six-armed hybrid creatures churn out smartphones and other gadgets at astonishing rates.
For another, its main character sounds like something straight out of a Sinofuturist creature feature — an alien cyborg that alights with a swarm of nano-zombies in a future version of Shanghai and proceeds on a hero’s quest to find the eponymous CLVB ZVKVNFT, where all the beings, man and machine, can dance together in harmony.
In a piece I wrote last year for Sixth Tone, I asked Duck Fight Goose’s core members Han Han (vocals, synthesizers) and 33 (bass) to put their music into the context of their interest in technology, and their home city:
One of the key catalysts of the band’s evolution between albums has been the city of Shanghai itself. Shanghai’s rock scene is dwarfed by that of the capital, despite the latter’s venue closures and other obstacles in recent years. It does have, however, China’s largest and most progressive electronic music scene, ranging from niche, beat-less soundscape performances all the way to mainstream dance music megaclubs. Since 2011 Han has immersed himself in the world of electronic music production, frequently meeting with other artists to exchange ideas at underground Shanghai club The Shelter.
Wu Shanmin , the bassist of Duck Fight Goose, says it is technology that stokes the band’s creative fire. “We think that an artist should be able to create brand-new things,” she says. “Technology is basically creating new things that then enable people to create new things themselves. That’s what I want my art to be.”
In fact, D Force has just released its latest dispatch in the form of standalone EPs for Han Han and 33’s solo projects. Here are the links for those:
Gooooose – they (Han Han solo)
33EMYBW – Medusa (33 solo)