Anthology Of Experimental Music From China


China’s experimental music and sound art scene began to take shape in the post-Tiananmen era in the late 1990s. A few musicians from the mainland’s underground music scene started to experiment with new ways of making music while the music industry co-opted the once revolutionary and independent rock music scene. The Hong Kong based experimental musician Dickson Dee and the U.S. based artist Dajuin Yao introduced Western avant-garde, experimental music to the mainland through the Internet and through the organization of music tours and festivals. The practice and spread of sound art, particularly installation and performative kinds, was made possible partially by venues such as contemporary art galleries and studios that have come to flourish in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Developed outside of academic and official institutions, China’s sound art and experimental music scene encompasses noise music, experimental music, free improvisation, sound performance art, and sound installation.
Wang Jing

The Unexplained Sounds Group is proud to present an anthology of experimental music from China, showcasing veteran musicians alongside many young and promising artists from the contemporary underground music scene.

Underscore Music Magazine
Adding to an already voluminous canon of Chinese avant-garde music primers, this anthology features some of the must cutting-edge, abstract, and bizarre music that will leave even cynical aesthetes like me gobsmacked with the bewildering new ideas explored over a single hour of noise. Perhaps due to its more deeply underground roots free of academic institutions and hierarchy, Chinese electronic music ranges the full gamut from elegant minimalism to abrasive noise, often within the same song. At one end of the spectrum, Hualun explores the loneliness of modern urban terrains on the mellow Vangelis-like “City Blues,” while at the other extreme, Aplx blasts a solid wall of turbine-drone into a cold and unforgiving galaxy of underwater seagull sutras. It’s a densely coherent mess of stuff you can’t afford to miss if you want to stay up to date on all the sounds that are physically possible to experience. I mean, do you really want to risk being caught off guard? Listen closely, expect surprises.

Edited by ©Unexplained Sounds Group
Curated and mastered by Raffaele Pezzella
Special thanks to Chunyang Yao and Jiahao Cao for their kind help
Cover image: A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains
detail, c.1113 (ink & colour on cloth) by Wang Ximeng
© 2021.