Tag Archives: Camp A Low Hum

2017年4月4日|百鬼夜行 100 SPIRITS

100 SPIRITS draws near. In the dark night of Tuesday 4 April, this beastly display of souls will be unleashed!! For one night only, the ancient tomb of Jah Bar will mutate into a crazed crypt crawling with ghosts, as the stage alter is graced by five of Chengdu’s most forward-thinking and innovative live acts.

Behold, the princely masters of SPLORTCH SELECTOR will kick the night into gear with a psychedelic mash-up of robot synthcore and chunky prog basslines, enslaving you into either your greatest dream or worst nightmare.

Splorge Selector_sm
Splortch Selector at Blah Blah #003 @ NU SPACE. Dave (bass), Michael (guitar, programming). Photo by c2.

I dare you to Google the word ‘splortch.’ I double dare you to see what that word means when it is turned into a electro-prog-rock-synth-fused musical project.

I first met Michael, the band’s mastermind at Aus-atmen last year. He was one of the last people to leave and partied right through till the soggy rain drenched mud fest of Sunday afternoon, just before the cops came. From then on, I knew he was one of the good ones. He also played guitar and was making beats on his laptop. Since those humble beginnings and a killer set at Blah Blah #003, this bedroom music project has evolved into the three-piece live monstrosity SPLORTCH SELECTOR, which will explode on Jah Bar this Tuesday. What can we expect from this band? Word on the street is their singer is going to throw up on the audience. Get in.

The Hormones L-R: Xiaoxue (guitar), Zhu Mengdie (vocals), Juan Juan (drums), Ming Ming (bass). Photo courtesy of The Hormones.

After a long hiatus from performance, the celestial sisters of cellular synthesis THE HORMONES are back for their highly anticipated return to the mortal world! Blasting their infectious brand of electro dance rock, prepare to have these synthesized hormones secreted directly into your blood.

It must’ve been September of 2015. This super badass chick walked into the old Morning Bar 早上好 with a bunch of fliers. “这是我的乐队,” she said, handing me a flier and sitting down to light a cigarette. THE HORMONES – CHINA TOUR 2015. This is how I met Ming Ming – and I immediately liked her.

The Hormones are a collective of likewise badass chicks who rock seriously uplifting dance music and quite simply do not give a fuck what you think. Wisps of Karen O, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Foals, delivered with pure power and precision. They are such an important band and I am so excited to see them play on Tuesday night, their first Chengdu show in over a year!

Ming Ming at the old 早上好。2016. Photo by Kiwese.

KAISHANDAO will take us deeper into the night with bass heavy drum machine smashing and techno-flavoured frequency modulations, wielding an electric guitar and a mystic mixture of brain-warping effects pedals.

Kaishandao got it’s name from a 成语 that Xiaoxin a.k.a LittleNew, the illustrator behind the 百鬼夜行 100 Spirits poster, messaged to me several months ago. She’s fond of a good 成语,but I often have to look them up in Pleco. A not-so-long story short, I came across the word 开山刀 and it just clicked. I love it’s simplicity paired with brutality, the symmetry within the characters and the unified first tone throughout.

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Kaishandao live @ HWG Chengdu. March 2017. Photo by Zhao Haha.

“Do you think Kaishandao would be a good name for my music?” I asked.
“Yeah it’s cool! But you’re music will have to be really cutting edge to use it,” she replied.

I’ve been organising shows in China for two years now, but I’ve played guitar since I was 10. I’m not sure Kaishandao is anywhere near as cutting edge as the friends I will perform with on Tuesday night, but for the first time in many years, I am now proud to perform my own original music for an audience, and in what better place than right here in this crazy city that has brought us together from all corners of the world – Chengdu. Bringing together my dual loves of rock and techno, this is Kaishandao.

Hiperson at Siguniangshan. Photo Courtesy of Hiperson.

As the clock nears midnight, the patron saints of post-punk HIPERSON will materialize for a rare and glorious performance. Known for their fierce vocals, ear-thrashing guitar assaults and thundering rhythmic prowess, Hiperson’s presence will ensure the spirits are well and truly awakened!

hiperson logo
The old Hiperson logo by LittleNew.

When I was a student living in Beijing, I came across a band from Chengdu who had put some demos on Douban. Just several seconds into 《他打定主意做一个游客》and I was completely hooked, put the demos on my iPod and biked around the city listening to them on repeat at full volume for what seemed like days.

That band? HIPERSON. And they are basically the reason I moved to Chengdu.

It was outside the little Little Bar after The Hormones EP release show when I first met Chen Sijiang.
“Uhh ni hao, ni shi Hiperson de Chen Sijiang ma?!”
“Yes, hi!”

Chen Sijiang live @ NU SPACE, 2016. Photo by Kiwese.

Since then, they have signed to a big indie label, released their first record, toured the country in a van and even toured Europe. Sijiang shaved off all her hair along the way. Through it all, they have remained 100% humble and dedicated to their music, with a DIY attitude that their heroes Fugazi would admire.

I am honoured to call them my friends, and I am in disbelief that I will play on the same bill as them at Jah Bar this Tuesday. They are the greatest and I can’t believe this is even happening.

蘇su photo 2

Finally, elevating us to the spiritual homeland of techno, SU will provide a digital nerve massage of hard-hitting, Berlin-inspired beats, taking the DJ decks for a rhythmic full body cleanse right through till the early hours.

I can’t remember the first time I met Gogo, but I am almost certain it was over a doob at the old Morning Bar 早上好 several years ago. She asked what star sign I was.

“Sagitarrius,” I said.
“Me too!”
“Cool, what date”
“ME TOO!!”

We are bound in an inexplicable bond by the astrological power of the number 12. Techno is what she lives and breathes, and each time she returns from Germany, she brings with her a wave of new energy that washes over those who hear her play.

The first time I collaborated with her was for the NUART Festival after party at 早上好 in 2015, where I brought Orchestra of Spheres and Lady Lazer Light for a renegade show and trippy visual installation. She’d just formed atmen with Xiang and had returned from a long trip to Germany. The night culminated with Riki Gooch (Cave Circles) jamming the drum kit to Su’s DJ set with a bunch of greasy shaokao sticks. It was beautiful. Since then, along with Xiang, we’ve played together at clubs and festivals in an improvised manner.

In a way, this Tuesday night is a coming of things full circle with the return of Lady Lazer Light to Chengdu and Su taking the decks for the closing set of the night. She is the spirit that floats the dance floor, let the frequencies set you free.

Chunyou 2016. Photo by 仙人张

Overseeing this ghostly procession is the high priestess of visual overstimulation Lady Lazer Light, who has been summoned all the way from New Zealand. Known for hypnotising her audiences in China with Orchestra of Spheres in 2015, she will be floating through Jah Bar and spraying her kaleidoscopic rays throughout the night!

The first time I experienced a Lady Lazer Light show, I can say with utmost certainty that everyone was tripping on acid. It was the closing set of Camp A Low Hum 2012 and Thought Creature were playing on a stage that had materialized out of nowhere. Hypnotic mirroring of hot pink gorillas and dancing Indian women scattered across the screen, amplifying the psychedelic drone of guitars and synths, and sending the remaining punters into that special state of mutual derangement which is so often reserved for the last night of music festivals.

Kiwese and sklen
Lady Lazer Light and Kiwese. Dali, Yunnan, China, October 2014. Photo by Mani Dunlop.

“Woahhh, this is buzzy,” I uttered to no one in particular.

The first time I actually met her was on the Orchestra of Spheres China tour, while she was on an art residency in Beijing. This month she returns to Chengdu, on the back of her second residency at Red Gate in Feijiacun, Beijing, and we are so excited!! Sklenars is our distinguished guest, a total party animal, the queen of buzzy visuals, and we are beyond privileged to have her grace Jah Bar on Tuesday for an all out audio-visual assault of the senses.

Kindred spirits, the time is nigh to sweep the tomb of your wardrobe and unearth your most GHOULISH garb for an unforgettable night of genre-bending audio-visual madness not seen before in these lands. Abide by the ghosty dress-code and be part of the movement! We beseech you, this is a night not to be missed.

2017.4.4 百鬼夜行 海报_smal

This show is possible due to a culmination of great friends, an incredible local music scene and the desire to create an unforgettable moment in Chengdu music history – a night of barely contained mayhem in one of the most legendary and long-standing venues in town. It exists beyond the confines of genre, background, label, or any of the noise that can get in the way of what is truly important – the music.






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Shocking Pinks head for China! 震惊粉红色来中国!

Ten years after their maiden tour, Christchurch’s multi-instrumentalist, DJ and lo-fi king Nick Harte aka Shocking Pinks is once again pairing with New Zealand house(party)hold name Ian Jorgensen aka Blink to celebrate the re-release of his 2004 debut Dance, the Dance Electric with a three month A Low Hum world tour, including shows in both China and New Zealand!

将近十年前,来自基督城的多乐器演奏者,DJ和低保真大师Nick Harte也称为震惊粉红色跟新西兰家喻派对的名字Ian Jorgensen 人称Blink一起去做他们的处女巡演。今年,震惊粉红色将由在A Low Hum重新发行他2004年的首张专辑《Dance, the Dance Electric跳舞,跳舞电子》,而且要去大规模国际巡演,包括中国和新西兰站! 

Shocking Pinks is a one-man band formed by Nick Harte in 2002. Following a long hiatus from releasing music, Harte returned stronger than ever in March last year with his triple album Guilt Mirrors on Stars and Letters, a Brooklyn-based label that may ring bells for fans of Wellington’s (sorely missed) Black City Lights (R.I.P). Guilt Mirrors echoes the solitude that accompanied the traumatic 2011 earthquakes in Harte’s hometown.

早在2002年,Nick Harte成立他一个人的乐队:震惊粉红色 。随着几年的中断,震惊粉红色回来了比以前更强烈的,去年3月在布鲁克林独立唱片公司Stars and Letters,惠灵顿 已解散的Black City Lights的粉丝应该知道这个唱片公司,发行了三重专辑《Guilt Mirrors罪镜子》。 这个专辑录音了他2011年基督城地震发生的创伤事件和孤独。

Back in 2004, just a year after Myspace was born, Harte released his debut album Dance, Dance the Electric on Pinacolada Records in Christchurch, a small indie label that housed other well-loved acts such as Pig Out and Tiger Tones. Upon positive reception from NZ and international listeners, the Shocking Pinks signed to Flying Nun and released Mathematical Warfare and Infinity Land in 2005, before ditching the ‘The’ and releasing the self-titled Shocking Pinks in 2007 with New York-based DFA Records, run by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.

During the long empty space in between and his explosive return to the scene in 2014, Harte’s debut has become a rare and highly sought after record that is longed for with the same collectable reverence as an ancient museum artifact among his international following of lo-fi bedroom dwelling discopunks.

Murmurs of a re-release a few years back on Flying Nun remained unfulfilled, but now in 2015, Dance, Dance the Electric will be re-released on A Low Hum, with an epic international tour and an awesome live band from Wellington to boot!

在2004年,Myspace创建一年后,Nick Harte以 ‘The Shocking Pinks’ 之名由基督城Pinacolada Records发行了首张专辑《Dance, the Dance Electric跳舞,跳舞电子》,但现在这个小唱片公司和它原来的乐队Pig Out 和 Tiger Tones已经看不见了。这张专辑受到了新西兰和国际听众的高度评价后,他和Flying Nun签约,然后2005年发行《Mathematical Warfare数理战争》和《Infinity Land无限地》。2007年时,他由纽约LCD Soundsystem的James Murphy管理的 DFA Records发行了同名专辑《震惊粉红色》。

从他长期的潜伏到他2014年爆炸的归来,他首张专辑《Dance, the Dance Electric跳舞,跳舞电子》已经成为一张十分稀罕的被国际迪斯科朋克粉丝渴望着的唱片,收藏价值就像一个古代的藏品。

几年前有传闻Flying Nun会重新发行这首张专辑,结果没有。可是,今年《Dance, the Dance Electric跳舞,跳舞电子》将由在A Low Hum 重新发行,而且震惊粉红色跟他了不起的乐队要去做全球巡演!

Then there were three. Image from A Low Hum.
Then there were three. Image from A Low Hum.

Shocking Pinks live shows have been few and far between in recent years. Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Guilt Mirrors album release gig at Puppies in Wellington (R.I.P). It was an incredible show, with the new Shocking Pinks live band lovingly tossed together with locally sourced ingredients from Secret Knives and a Wellington drumming powerhouse, coming together to form the crunchiest, most perfectly seasoned dish imaginable.

Harte’s crying wails of amplifier feedback swum beneath echoes of bare lyrics decoded from his piles of A4 paper. The Shocking Pinks sound came to life with warm, pulsating bass lines, syncopated cow bell rhythms and razor sharp jazz-precision of the drums.

Both intimate and mesmerising, powerful and confronting, it seemed Harte had completely reinvented his sound and performance style since I first saw him at Camp A Low Hum in 2010. After the show, I immediately set about hunting down the pink vinyl release, eventually tracked down at good ol’ Slow Boat Records.

最近几年震惊粉红色的演出并不多见,所以我去年有幸参加《Guilt Mirrors罪镜子》专辑发行演出在惠灵顿的“小狗”(Puppies)。这个演出棒极了,他新建的现场乐队包括来自惠灵顿的Secret Knives乐队成员和一个又熟知又强大的鼓手。他们三个在一块正合适,像一个很脆爽有完美调味的美食。


这个演出即亲密又迷人,观众面对强大的声场,跟我第一次看到他在2010年Camp A Low Hum音乐节现场时已经完全改变了。演出之后,我马上开始搜索粉红色的黑胶唱片,到底在Slow Boat Records买到了。

Shocking Pinks…Is it shoegaze? Is it lo-fi?

It is dance music. Deliciously hypnotic dance music.



Can’t wait! See you at the Beijing show.


Shocking Pinks NZ/China Tour Dates 2015:

Goodbye, New Zealand! 再见新西兰!

8月28日 Aug 28 – Whammy Bar, Auckland 奥克兰

9月5日 Sept 5 – Puppies, Wellington 惠灵顿

China 中国

9月17日 Sept 17 – Dada (DJ Set), Beijing 北京
9月18日 Sept 18 – School, Beijing 北京
9月20日 Sept 20 – Echo Park Festival, Shanghai 上海
9月22日 Sept 22 – Loft345, Guangzhou 广州

New Zealand 新西

11月27日 Nov 27 – Darkroom, Christchurch, NZ 基督城
11月28日 Nov 28 – Chicks Hotel, Dunedin, NZ 达尼丁
12月   3日 Dec 3 – The Lyttelton Coffee Co, Lyttelton, NZ 利特尔顿
12月   4日 Dec 4 – Barrytown Hall, Barrytown, NZ
12月   5日 Dec 5 – Tim’s Place, Marahau, NZ 玛拉豪

See the full tour dates here on A Low Hum.


High Fiving the All Seeing Hand: Interview with Jonny Marks

KC Cafe is fucking delicious. So I was stoked when experimental vocalist Jonny Marks of The All Seeing Hand was keen to meet over some mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐, and talk about how he honed his throat singing technique Inner Mongolia.

L-R: David Morrison aka Alphabet head (Turntables / Electronics), Jonny Marks (Throat) and Ben Knight (Drums). Image from Undertheradar.
L-R: David Morrison aka Alphabethead (Turntables / Electronics), Jonny Marks (Throat) and Ben Knight (Drums). Image from Undertheradar.

Hey Jonny! What have you been up to lately? (note: this interview took place last month)

Hey! We’re currently trying to sort some cassette tapes to take on tour to Australia – Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, then back to Melbourne. Pablo from Mesa Cosa, who does a bit of promotion with Bone Soup, took us over last year. We met at Camp and he’s just organized it all!

How did the All Seeing Hand emerge into this earthly realm?

Ben and David started off as a two piece,  and a couple of people did vocals at various parties – then Noel Meek joined doing vocals with them. I got back from China while he was playing with them and he was going overseas. Perfect timing.

Can you tell us a bit about the production of Fog and Debris released earlier this year?

Fog and Debris is made up of stuff that was recorded at the same as Mechatronics (2013). As we were building up Mechatronics there was stuff that didn’t really fit with what it had become. David was able to put in some of the recordings with Noel on there and so its a bit of a Frankenstein of a record. Mechatronics has that heavy punchy sound, but then there are those more headphone listening kind of worlds to the band. It’s nice to have an album where people can enjoy those more detailed aspects that David creates.

I hear you studied composition with Jack Body at Victoria University. How did you come into that?

As a teenager I was in a band at Hutt High, but I also had my four-track and would be doing explorations of noise with mates. Then high school finished and I didn’t really want to go to university. When I turned up at Vic and there was a whole department dedicated to mucking around in a studio and doing sonic art – I thought ‘wow!!’

And that’s where you were first introduced to throat singing?

Part of what Jack does is to play folk and classical music from different countries for us to engage with, transcribe and try to make pieces out of it. One day he played us a recording and said, “right, firstly, tell me what instrumentation is in this piece.” It was throat singing. Once he told us it was just the voice within, I knew that I wanted to explore further.

How did you begin with starting to learn it yourself?

I just understood the theory of it. I spent a long time making god-awful noises. But I’d always done experimenting with my voice, since being in a grind-core band at high school, so I was happy to sit their in the shower and just going “blueeerhhhhggg,” then eventually work on refining it.

When did you move to China to pursue your development of the technique?

Mid-2006. I was in China for two years, Hohhot for one year, then spent the summer holidays in Xinjiang. Then I stayed in Urumqi for a year. My plan was to be totally open ended and see where it went.

“I turned up to Hohhot and just went door knocking, looking for a teacher.”

Jonny and his teacher. Mongolia, 2008. Photo courtesy of Jonny.
Jonny and his teacher. Mongolia, 2008. Photo courtesy of Jonny.

How did you go about finding a throat singing teacher? I can’t imagine it is a very common request.

Massive language barriers. All sorts of miscommunications. It took a long time to find the right teacher. One night, I went to a concert and this kooky Mongolian girl with the weirdest fashion, massive eyelashes and totally outrageous high heels put me in touch with her friends at a performing arts school, where I eventually found my teacher. His expertise was the horse-head fiddle, which accompanies all the songs and singers in Mongolian music. His throat singing was alright, but his knowledge was fantastic. He knew what sounded good. He knew how to direct me.

Are there special things you need to do to look after your voice?

Every teacher I met would be at the banquet table drinking baijiu and chain smoking. Saying to everyone – ‘don’t drink and smoke.’ It’s a bit rock and roll really [laughs]

The All Seeing Hand and that all seeing eyeball at Valhalla 5 July 2014. With Orchestra of Spheres and Seth Frightening.
The All Seeing Hand and that all seeing eyeball at Valhalla 5 July 2014. With Orchestra of Spheres and Seth Frightening.

Were there any customs around throat singing you needed to observe?

I had to understand the performance style, I couldn’t just get away with the technique. When I throat sing my face goes quite red, which is a big no-no. The presentation of throat singing is that it is very manly, you are supposed to sit their with your big belt buckle and look staunch and effortless. If my teacher saw me in All Seeing Hand, it is the total opposite of this aesthetic. I do want to present the All Seeing Hand to people over there, but I hope people see the respect and love that I am doing it with. People are doing throat singing all over the world. It is a YouTube phenomenon.

How did you see the role of throat singing develop in Inner Mongolia?

Its this weird thing where Western tastes and influences are having an impact on an entire world of music. But Mongolian people are making those aesthetic decisions themselves with their own standards – the unfortunate thing is a ‘drive to what is correct’ and the marker of that is which bands have made it to WOMAD – the Tuvan style, bands like Anda Union and Huun-Huur-Tu. It used to be more diverse within the individual practice.

Among young people there’s kind of this national pride in being Mongolian, which is driven by a dislike of the political system they are in and strong urge to retain their identity.

I went to a village and met two women – one was the last to know how to make a particular hat of the region, and the other was the last to know their songs. The young people I was with weren’t keen to engage with them at all, there was this feeling that Inner Mongolian culture was not ‘true’ Mongolian culture – they would look outwards to Outer Mongolia, outside the People’s Republic, as being ‘true.’

Tell us about your time in Xinjiang.

Dan from Orchestra of Spheres and I used to flat together at university. He was in the UK and came to China before going back to New Zealand. It was 2007, the year before the Olympics. Lots of rottweilers and AK47s. Massive Police presence in the Uyghur areas. It is active colonialism.

We went from Hohhot to Urumqi, then down to Kashgar and Yuli. It was awesome. In the south, the towns are all scattered throughout the desert. In Urumqi, there’s the Pakistani and Russian parts of town. It is an import export area with all these business people and sales people – the Silk Road is still current! Great food, beautiful, interesting people.

Show Me Your Teeth is the first All Seeing Hand song in English. What words are the other songs formed of?

Just sounds. Even when you are not doing the pure whistle-tone, the whole idea is to have total control over the shape of the sound. I like to imagine the vocal shapes coming out like a synth, and try to pull something out of what David is making – finding a sonic timbral relationship with the other two.

Lady Lazer Light. Image from ASH Facebook page.
Lady Lazer Light. Image from ASH Facebook page.

A big part of All Seeing Hand’s live performance is the lighting and visual impact. The ghosts at Camp, the Blob, the wolves at Puppies, the crazy lights at Garrett Street…

Erika Sklenars, Lady Lazer Light! I see her as part of the band. Sometimes its just projections, we always try to have something visual – she gets it completely. We will go to the venue beforehand and talk about what the show will look like, but then she just rocks it out live. So often people will be ‘wow, the visuals were great tonight!’ and we won’t even have known what was going on behind us! It’s a projection of all of our imaginations. It is the first time I have been in a band where visual artists, presentation, costume and jewellery joins together.


So John Lake mentioned there could be a China tour in the works??

China would be awesome, and John could come along and document it. Shaun Tenzenmen could also sort us out a South East Asia tour – but it would be ambitious to do both. I need to talk to people and see which would be the most realistic.

What kind of music do you like to listen to? 

I like listening to folk musics from around the world that have awesome singing in it. I love live music – local stuff. The Pyramid Club is my centre. Jeff Henderson and the stuff he is doing in Auckland with The Audio Foundation. A lot of the time I’d rather see live music go terribly wrong than sit at home listening to my favourite album. It’s about the now. For me that’s what music is all about, inhabiting time.

I love Orchestra of Spheres and I reckon Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing is one of the best live bands I’ve seen.

With the recent closures of Mighty Mighty and Puppies, there seems to be a polarising view around at the moment: Wellington is dead vs. Wellington is pumping. Where do you sit?

Wellington is pumping! [YES – *high-five*]

Wellington is awesome. It’s a great time right now. People are having to think about what they wanna do and see. I used to hang out a lot at Happy on Tory Street and the Space, upstairs from Newtown Shoes opposite Mr Bun. That came out from people wanting a place to do something. There is a whole plethora of different projects that came out of the Space in the late nineties. There were people who used to do stuff in the late eighties and early eighties coming in to experience the new energy. The house parties, Pyramid Club, 19 Tory Street – there is stuff happening!

Cheers Jonny!

Check out the latest All Seeing Hand video for Lying Dead, With a Bar of Soap! Keeping fingers on both hands crossed for a China tour in the very near future!!

And ahead of the election tomorrow, keep this song in mind…