Archive | Music

Performance Videos with PLGRM

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.

Bassball @ Here We Go

Thuggin’ @ NASA

All In One Festival

Published on February 27, 2015

Visuals @ NASA in Chengdu

Disco Death @ NASA

Disco Death @ NASA

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.

Published on February 11, 2015
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Song of the Day #167: Thieves in the Night

Black Star – Thieves in the Night

On the surface, the meaning of this song seems obvious, but read the lyrics and you will find otherwise: “Hidin’ like thieves in the night from life, Illusions of oasis makin’ you look twice.”

Thuggin @ NASABlack Star is a musical project of Talib Kweli and and Mos Def, centered around a social movement within the African-American community in New York City. Inspired by Marcus Garvey, Black Star is a member of Native Tongues, along with A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Common, and others. Unlike a lot of hip hop, the lyrics to their music are important and worth reading.

I played this on Saturday at NASA, the entire playlist for that show is available here: Thuggin’ Playlist. It was an amazing event, that I did along with Jovian and PLGRM, who provided incredible live visuals.

Recently I’ve had more interest in hosting thematic events. Like approaching mixtape projects, I find that creating boundaries forces me to do more preparation and carefully curate an experience for the night, rather than allow it to go anywhere. We have hours of footage and I will post the final edited version here in the upcoming weeks.

This most recent event was themed similarly to a mixtape that I recorded years ago called Marked 4 Death, which is available here.

Check out Black Star on Spotify

Published on February 10, 2015

Daisuke Tanabe & Yosi Horikawa in Chengdu

Redbull Music Academy ChengduLast 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.

Two Photos from the RBMA Event

Redbull Music Academy

Red Bull Music Academy 2

Layered Memories Trailer on Youtube

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.

Daisuke Tanabe Live Set from Tokyo RBMA

Lastly, here are links for both of these artists on Soundcloud to follow updates from them:

Yosi Horikawa on Soundcloud
Daisuke Tanabe on Soundcloud

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.

Published on February 6, 2015
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Song of the Day #166: Boys Latin

Panda Bear – Boys Latin

I didn’t know about Panda Bear until he was heavily featured on Doin’ It Right, the #2 single on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories from the summer of 2013. Dubbed an experimental musician specializing in “neo-psychedelia”, he is a founder of the band called Animal Collective. Very interesting music video that captures the ethereal quality of his music production style.

This Thursday we are hosting a listening party for the latest Panda Bear album, which (aside from this song) I have not heard.

Check out Panda Bear on Spotify or Wikipedia.

Published on January 27, 2015
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Song of the Day #165: Same Dream China

Gold Panda – Same Dream China

Moments ago I published the latest episode of the Chengdu Living Podcast, where we used this song, Same Dream China, as both the intro and outro. Gold Panda is outstanding, regardless of the China connection, but this was simply too good a fit to not use in the podcast. What makes it so great is that it has clear and distinct Chinese influence without being overly oriental-sounding, which would sound cliche as intro music to a China-themed podcast.

Since this song has no official music video, I used one of the several fan-made music videos for this song available on Youtube. This one’s particularly great because it features so many great shots of China.

Check out Gold Panda on Spotify.

Published on January 23, 2015
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Song of the Day #164: White Keys

Chilly Gonzalez – White Keys

You’ve probably heard Chilly Gonzalez without knowing it: he appeared as a guest artist on last years’ Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories, which was awarded a Grammy for Best Album of 2014He has a band with Boyz Noise called Octave Minds (which feature some really neat music videos). And he’s a solo artist, along with other collaborations including Domogenesis and his Berlin-based hip hop group Puppetmastaz.

But recently I’ve been listening to his 2004 self-explanatory album titled Solo Piano. It’s fantastic background music that provides just enough atmosphere without getting in the way. I appreciate jazz music greatly, but it’s often a little too noisy for background music.

The song above is from the sequel to his solo piano album, logically titled Solo Piano 2. Filmed in what he calls “Pianovision”.

Check out Chilly Gonzalez on Spotify.

Published on January 20, 2015