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Song of the Day #185: Katachi

Shugo Tokumaru – Katachi

A song produced and recorded by Tokyo-based Shugo Tokumaru, a multi-instrumentalist and member of the Japanese rock band Gellers. The video is amazing and was created by Kijek/Adamski, a Polish duo which has become known for this frame-by-frame visual art style.

Published on September 29, 2015

What’s New: September 25th

Recent Music

Applescal ForThis week I discovered some fantastic new European musicians:

  • Applescal from Amsterdam, a deep house producer
  • Chinese Man, a trip hop and reggae trio hailing from Aix-en-Provence in the South of France

Applescal – Airport

Applescal released an album earlier this year titled For, which is the one I have been listening to on repeat. My favorite tracks on the album are Airport and Matter, the former is below.

The album artwork for their recently released album is beautiful also. It’s pictured at right and appears in the Soundcloud song embedded below.

Chinese Man – One Upon a Time ft. Tumi

Chinese Man a collective that has existed for over ten years, which I am now just discovering. The album series which I’ve been listening to is called The Groove Sessions but you can find a collection of other songs on the Chinese Man Soundcloud. Their sound is very analog, warm and organic, and reminiscent of other European contemporary artists like Wax Tailor, C2C, and Birdy Nam Nam. Their songs frequently feature guest vocalists and rappers, like this one which features South African rapper Tumi Molekane.

Recent Articles

  • China is Building the Mother of All Reputation Systems to Monitor Citizen Behavior – This is not even remotely surprising but the wide variance in the perception of the role and responsibility of government is fascinating. Rogier Creemers, a China expert at Oxford University, says: “In Europe and the U.S., there’s a notion that the state should be constrained, that it’s not right to intervene in people’s lives, unless for justified reasons. In China, the state has no qualms about that. It says ‘data allows us to make society for better, so we’re going to use it.”
  • Kickstarter CEO Discusses Company’s New Charter, Goals for the Gaming Space – Kickstarter has doubled down on their social commitment with this decision to deprecate the ordinary overarching goal of companies: profit. Says the Kickstarter CEO: “When you normally think of corporate responsibility and social good I think you immediately go to granola, crunchy sort of concepts. But I think this is much more progressive and futuristic. And, you know, this provision as a part of corporate law has only been in existence for a few years, but we join companies like Patagonia, This American Life in becoming a benefit corporation.” Their charter is refreshingly straight-forward and clear, coming it at just 500 words: Kickstarter Charter
  • Uber Launches UberCommute, a Carpooling Service Starting in China – This is huge news for Chengdu, which has recently been named by Uber as their “Number one city”. Amazing achievement for Uber to see such explosive growth in Chengdu, of all places. We have published multiple articles about Uber in Chengdu on Chengdu Living and I’m sure there will be more.
  • A Coded Rant About China’s Government Goes Viral – Instead of having Fox News and protests, China has a much more creative form of dissent, described and translated in this story published by The Atlantic. It is an imaginative demonstration of poetic subversion, and also somewhat chilling.
  • A New Book Praises China’s Governance Model, but Overlooks Its Politics – A fair and balanced criticism of what is the most poorly-timed book release in recent memory. After years of soaring optimism about China’s governance and future prospects, the floor beneath global faith in China falls out and then this shamelessly apologetic book comes out. Embarrassing for the author, although I have no doubt that he is surrounded by people who encourage his one-sided narrative at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

One Video

A live remix project created by Japanese musician Shawn Wasabi, using a custom-made Midi Fighter (made by DJ Tech Tools). His timing is so precise that without looking at the video you would have no idea that this is performed live. Composed using pieces of 153 different songs that were cut up and re-contextualized into this final piece. The bubbles 1:09 into the video are a terrific small detail.

Published on September 25, 2015

Song of the Day #184: Lackluster No.

Nova Heart – Lackluster No.

A single off the debut album of Beijing-based band Nova Heart which was released a few months ago in July. It comes with a visually interesting music video that is criminally under viewed on Youtube. I mentioned Nova Heart here in 2013, after serendipitously catching them at a local show and being impressed. They among the best bands that I have seen in China, but this is a song and album release that went under my radar. And almost everyone else’s, apparently.

Published on September 21, 2015

Song of the Day #183: Lofticries

Purity Ring – Lofticries

Purity Ring is a Canadian synthpop duo hailing from Montreal, Canada who released their second album this year. I have a deep mental association of this particular song with Berlin, after spending a week there last year and listening to the debut Purity Ring album on repeat while exploring the city on foot.

It is an amazing song, and the other single off this album (Fineshrine) is also. Both of them have pretty charming music videos, which is a bonus. Unfortunately the sophomore album from Purity Ring, released this year, does not capture the same dark and heavy atmosphere that these two singles off the debut album have.

More about Purity Ring on Wikipedia.

Published on September 15, 2015

Song of the Day #182: Back & Forth

20Syl – Back & Forth

I recently stumbled upon this song in the Apple Watch commercial below. Really fantastic to see such an outstanding independent musician get an enormous platform like this. As one of the watches is spinning, you can see that it says 20Syl. If you aren’t familiar with 20Syl: Kodama

Published on September 11, 2015

Song of the Day #180: Alice

Pogo – Alice

Pogo is an Australian electronic musician who produces video compositions to accompany the songs that he makes. Almost all of his songs sample well-known works entirely (like this one, which samples Alice in Wonderland), meaning there are no sonic elements in the song that are not in the movie. Pogo has a popular Youtube channel and an official website here:

Published on August 28, 2015