Category Archives: City Scene Beijing

German TV ZDF broadcasts MINIMAL CHINA, 50 minutes about the techno scene of China

German TV station ZDF showed a special about Chinese trance, electro and minimal music, starting with a party on the Great Wall and commentary by Zhang Youdai and Elvis. T.

Kuddos to Rene for pointing that one out.


PK 12th Anniversary | Cannibal Corpse in Beijing

Painkiller hosted their 12th anniversary fest with CANNIBAL CORPSE visiting. Read the awesome review at Smart Beijing!


A little bit of punk history …

Check out Pangbianr’s lengthly interview with Jerry Chan, founder of The Beijinger about his involvement in the punk underground and the scene in late 90s / beginning 00s.

Photo: Ricky of Rustic, totally unrelated to the interview.

Even Less | Depressive Beijing Rock

Another discovery of mine, thanks for the vast Pest Productions bandcamp page: Even Less, a depressive Beijing rock band. Since their formation in 2009, they have produced two major records: A 2011 single of 11 minutes run time called In Another Life and a 2012 record called Soundtrack of a Wasted Day.


Interview with Road End of 1724 Records | Post Rock Label from Beijing

The Beijing Post-Rock compilation released by 1724 Records caught our eye a couple of weeks ago. And as I started to dig deeper into the post rock scene of China, I noticed that 1724 Records is quite active on and the owner Road End is a user there. For the record, 1724 has reached over 2500 listeners with 24 thousand scrobbels. Put that in comparison with Maybe Mars power of 8000 listeners and 100 thousand scrobbels and you will realize that 1724 has an enormous reach in the overseas market.

As such, I contacted Road End, whose real name is Niu Lei and interviewed him with our basic questionaire to bring light into the dark. Niu Lei had responded in Chinese and a dear friend of his helped with the translation. In between the answers you will find music sniplets of 1724 Records and the corresponding record cover.

Azchael: Can you please introduce yourself and 1724 Records?
Niu Lei: My name is Niu Lei, 34 years old, male,divorced. I am living in Beijing and was born in Hebei province. Had no higher education. Formerly worked as worker,courier,editor(newspaper),and my last job is a project manager of a NGO. I did liberal professions about 3 years. When I was 19 (in 1997), first time i listened to The Beatles and rock n roll became my favorite music.After that,as a fan,I bought lot’s of rock cds,read different kinds of Chinese rock magazines. Also chat with others who like me and share our feelings about music on the internet. In 2004,with one of my net friends,we started a music bbs,try to gather people who has the same music taste together,that bbs is “”. In that time,there weren’t any similar websites in China. I knew some musicians,they didn’t know how to promote their music,or how to held a concert though i think their music is excellent,such as the band “48V”,the first artist of 1724 Records. They found me by one of my friends, and hoped that I can help them to release a first full-length,and make an inner-land tour for them. So,I started to try to these things for 48V,with 5 friends of mine.That is the beginning of 1724 Records. As a fan, I tried to be professional and I chose to use the internet. That was on Children’s Day of 2006.

48V and their record South II

Azchael: 1724 has recently released the compilation Beijing Post-Rock. How did this record come into existence?
Niu Lei: Beijing Post-Rock is a promotional CD. Beijing Post-Rock is made for the same title concert,I just want more people to know this gig,and these new sounds are created by persons who are living around them in this city.And before this concert,2 of the performing bands have joined in 1724 Records.Besides all,when I was young,I found some sounds from various compilations,and finally these sounds become to my favourite.Now,most of people who listen to the music,will choose the digital not physical,so this limited compilation is a salute to my experience,or a generations experience.

Azchael: How did you contact the bands?
Niu Lei: Half of this compilation’s bands are signed with 1724 Records.Except them, one (Hualun) is managed by myself now,and the other 2 bands are my friends.In fact,the relationship between me and bands is the same inclination of music,we both like instrumental rock.So,the contact between the artists and me also very simple.

Summer Fades Away and their record Time Flies and Memory’s Cruel

Azchael: 1724 Records has chosen to put the compilation for free on bandcamp. Why?
Niu Lei: For promotion.I want to spread it as big as I could. Not only on bandcamp,we also put the compilation on lastfm and indievox (a Taiwan based digital music website), additionally,also on our official website and in our official newsletter. BTW,the limited physical editions in China are free too.

Azchael: As you are selling your CDs online not only for China but also internationally, how many from overseas buy Chinese records?
Niu Lei: Not too many, first of all,about 4 months ago we just started to sell albums to overseas, it’s not a long time. Second,our promotional work is not well enough. And the major reason I think is that foreigners are not interested in Chinese modern music,because that what we “created” more like “another copy version” to the foreigners.But,we still have something really special and creationary.I believe in this for sure,and that’s why I’m working on this.

Azchael: How do you usually promote your music?
Niu Lei: Almost completely by internet.such as this time we are noticed by Rock in China.
And,we also promote our music by holding concerts and tours.
By internet,more people will just heard what we did,but at the concert,maybe people will love what we did.
Besides all,I’m trying to make musicians to be convinced of this:to spread your sounds,is the begining of independent.

Pentatonic and their record If you don’t’understand then I can’t explain to you

Azchael: How many records have you released already?
Niu Lei: Now,1724’s catalog is 027,but in fact,we have released 20 productions.We will release more in this year.

Azchael: What are your plans for 2012?
Niu Lei: In the beginning of 2012, 4 new bands have joined in 1724.They’ll release their new albums,and take inner-land tours.
Some of our earlier artists will also do same thing in 2012.
Now,my major work is to build our bands’ official websites,for promotion & sale.
By what I already did,I just hope that:take my bands to some local music festivals;got more cooperations with other organizations,or foreign labels.’cause I am not a super man.I can’t do all things only by myself.

Azchael: What is underground for you? Are you an underground label?
Niu Lei: Underground to me is like something Anti-Goverment or Anti-Humanity.
In fact,I think most of underground are poor or nervouness.
I dislike nervouness anymore,and 1724 don’t wanna be poor(yes,we are still in proceeding).
I think 1724 is not an underground label.

Azchael: What do you think of Rock in China?
Niu Lei: Rock in China is a really cool website.I knew it long time ago.
You should make rock in china really be cool.

Azchael: Thanks for the interview!
Niu Lei: Thanks a lot!

Amber and their song Drunk Star

The Grinding Ear | Post Rock from Shijiazhuang

Having been surprised about Beijing Post-Rock, here is a band that is originally from Shijiazhuang: The Grinding Ear. Now basically home in Beijing, they are around since 2002 and have released three records in total. The following songs are from their 2005 CD called “Make It Dirty“.

Update: A word for the wise, the music below is from 2005 and as such in the early stages of The Grinding Ear. Slight musical diversions from the path of “pure” post rock are most likely and welcome.

Experimental music from and in Beijing | Pangbianr’s Take No. 2

Pangbianr has done it again! They have made good quality music available for free for interested listeners worldwide! In their own words:

This year’s compilation documents fresh-born newcomers, the deepening maturity of the Beijing 20-something noise set, and new moves from the Old Guard. In the last year, new bands like Mr. Ray (Beijing) and Stalin Gardens(Shanghai) have sprung up to say, “I see that weird post-punk shit you’re doing and we can do it too, and better, and younger!” In the last year the college-age-ish crowd around D-22′s Zoomin’ Night came into their own, reaching a peak just in time for the last ever Zoomin’ Night in January, mourning & celebrating the end of D-22‘s near 6-year life. The Zoomin’ kids have caught the attention of their forerunners, prompting scene godfatherYan Jun to include some of the young bucks in his recent “improv committees.”

Here are the Credits & Track Notes:

Cover artLulu Chow

1. Fat City – “Familiar (熟悉)”

outtake from the Fat City/Luxinpei “Super Split”

2. Stalin Gardens – “Osteosarcoma”
demo track from new Shanghai band:

3. 1/2 Heavy Korean – “乃哥的歌 (Joe’s Song)”
practice room recording, April 2011. more here:

4. MeiZhiYong (梅志勇) – “Good swing”
new, unreleased track from Northeastern China’s MeiZhiYong. check out his cassette label, Fuzz Tape:

5. Xiao Hong Yu Xiao Xiao Hong (小红与小小红) – “未命名 (unnamed song)”
live @ D-22′s final Zoomin’ Night, 10 January 2012. recorded by Zhu

6. Mr. Ray – “鱼 (fish)”
live at D-22′s Zoomin’ Night, 11 October 2011. recorded by Zhu

7. Carsick Cars + Li Qing + Yang Fan – “Fishing”
studio outtake, 17 February 2012

8. Chui Wan (吹万) – “new song/improv (新歌/即兴)”
live @ D-22′s final Zoomin’ Night, 10 January 2012. recorded by Will

9. Soviet Pop – “System * System”
Live recording of Soviet Pop`s “System * System” performance at Three Shadows Photography Gallery in Beijing, 24 April 2011. They used one 4-track recorder, two cassette players, and two modular synths. They recorded 4 different tracks of sound at different speeds. The samples are from Stockhausen and Tenjo Sajiki. more info on Soviet

10. Vagus Nerve (迷走神经) – “A Recurrence of 3600 Years”
Vagus Nerve is Li Jianhong and Vavabond. This is the last track on the unreleased Vagus Nerve album “Go Back to the Sirus.”

11. Ad Hoc Improv Committee (临时即兴委员会) – “Half-Animal workshop (excerpt)”
Ad Hoc Improv Committee plays at Half-Animal workshop (music as field recording), 1 March 2012, The Pavilion, Beijing. artists: Yan Jun, Olaf Hochherz, Yan Yulong, Zhang Shouwang, Li Zenghui, Li Qing, Shi Yang, VAVABOND, Iku Sakan. workshop concept by: Olaf Hochherz.