Yesterday the UCLA Anderson School of Management visited, along with 41 of their MBA students. These type of events have become increasingly regular, along with annual visits from the Harvard Business School which I have been involved in. Each time it has been a pleasure to interact with students and give them a realistic introduction to the Chinese business landscape.
Thanks to Grace Lu at UCLA who was my point of contact for this and was nice enough to take these photos and share them with me.
A few years ago I befriended an American visual artist named Greg, from Boston. We did some shows together, but last year we begun stepping it up when he returned to China with his friend Seth. Together, they are PLGRM.
Below are a few brief videos from shows we’ve done recently, starting from late 2014 with the most recent video being from this event at NASA one month ago.
I’m a huge fan of their work and to do shows with them adds an entirely new dimension to live performances. They joined Jovian and I in Disco Death recently, which we’re very excited about. Our next event is Friday the 13th, next month.
Over the last 6 months Chengdu’s most popular nightlife destination has become a single building in the South of the city, near the US Consulate. It’s called the Poly Center, and was originally developed as a high-end residential and commercial building in a lucrative and prosperous part of the city.
Since it opened last year though, it has become dominated by a single type of business: bars and clubs. On some floors there are half a dozen bars and clubs next to each other which makes jumping between venues easier than I’ve ever seen it, anywhere. It’s amazing how hands-off Chengdu is. This would certainly not be allowed to happen in Beijing or Shanghai. When visitors come from out of town to Chengdu I always take them here, and they always think it’s amazing. Because it is.
It’s like a multi-million dollar property development that once launched has gone completely hands off. This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve seen something like this in China, but it might be the first time I’ve seen it to this degree. Step inside the elevators at the Poly Center and this is what you see.
Last weekend we did a Disco Death show at NASA (a club) with an urban hip hop theme. We did the show with PLGRM, two amazing live artists from Boston who projected custom mapped visuals onto a large vertical beam behind the DJ booth. This show, along with last year at the same venue with Conrank, was the best show I’ve seen at this venue. Along with the recent Red Bull Music Academy event, of course.
Last night there was an amazing Red Bull Music Academy event at NASA in Chengdu featuring Japanese music producers Daisuke Tanabe & Yosi Horikawa. Chengdu has never hosted an event of this type before: part instructional, part performance and partly social gathering.
I had never heard of either of these producers before, but their music and performance blew me away, combining natural sounds recorded in the wild with airy, ethereal rhythms and melodies. In one scene Yosi creates percussion by recording his fist slapping the peak of a mountain, and quickly turns it into a lush and beautiful composition.
The atmosphere was unlike any event that I’ve been to at Poly Center before (which is a notoriously chaotic and unorganized place). Virtually all of the mainstays of the Chengdu music scene were there, including musicians in bands who aren’t really in the club scene.
This is the sort of event that happens in Shanghai much more often, since Red Bull Music Academy is established and has artists baed there. I hope that this is the first of more intimate events of this nature in Chengdu, with or without RBMA’s involvement. They are important for the containing education of Chengdu’s music scene, which is still in its infancy.
I also found a recently recorded live set performed by Daisuke Tanabe at the Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo just a few months ago. This is also worth checking out as well.
Lastly, here are links for both of these artists on Soundcloud to follow updates from them:
This event was done in cooperation with Gaz and Cha Cha of the Shelter, two perennial advocates of China’s fledging underground music scene. Much respect to Shanghai, RBMA, and NASA for making this happen in Chengdu. Especially the Austrian International Red Bull organization, including Adrian Lai, which was responsible for this event. NASA is now the first (and currently only) venue in Chengdu to buy real Red Bull.
I came back to Chengdu just in time to play at the Dongjing Music Festival, which was one of the more photogenic NYE events I have played at.