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Yin: Suspenseful Synths and Jackrabbiting Beats from Hangzhou’s Mice

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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.

Welcome to the first 2019 release to make these pages: Light, a three-track EP by Hangzhou producer Mice that dropped on Jan 3:

 

Mice, aka Hans Lee, released his sophomore album last year on Shanghai-based label play rec, one of my go-to’s for avant electronics. Like many of the artists currently cutting a distinctive niche in Hangzhou’s underground music scene — see also: GUAN, Dropdown, Wang Changcun — Mice is an alumnus of the China Academy of Art’s Open Media department, an adjunct of the eminent Hangzhou university’s School of Intermedia Art that also graduated Shanghai artist Lu Yang.

Lee began making music in 2014 and graduated from the university in 2017. Since his August 2018 play rec album, he’s plugged in with Hangzhou label/collective FunctionLab, who are behind the release of Light and have a vice grip on the most interesting sounds coming out of the city.

The three tracks on Light are a solid half hour of hectic and suspenseful synths and jackrabbiting beats, the perfect soundtrack for your next dental appointment, job interview, or financial audit. Tense stuff. 11-minute opener “String 击弦快跑” is particularly recommended for its prominent placement of a drawn-out high frequency squeal that could be human or machine, probably both. Basically sounds like basement black metal vox repurposed for the unique needs of Hangzhou’s nascent damaged-club circuit.

More on that here:

CITY MIX: Something in the Hangzhou Water

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.