Six months in the making, Nasty Wizard Recordings is proud to present our first Asian post-rock compilation tape, celebrating a genre that spans the Pacific region and encompasses some of the most epic sounds coming out of this part of the world in recent years. Assembled in celebration of this year’s International Cassette Store Day (Oct 13), the compilation connects the dots between bands and artists in China, South Korea, Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, and includes established names such as the mighty Wangwen and Miss Woman(CHN), but also newer names like BLAD (KOR) and The Grey Field (Indonesia).
The full line up includes: Wangwen, Miss Woman, and Acid Accident (China), BLAD (South Korea), MOMA (Japan), The Reasonable Hope (India), Mashrabiya (Malaysia), The Grey Field (Indonesia), and Odd (The Philippines), an awesome package for seasoned connoisseurs of Asian post-rock but perfect also for the uninitiated who want to metaphorically dip their toe in.
The release is available on a limited run of 200 cassette tapes as well as a digital download.
‘Bamboo Crane’ by Wangwen (China), a band that surely needs no introduction for those well versed in the post-rock genre. For those who aren’t these legends hail from the port city of Dalian in the North East of the Middle Kingdom, where for two decades they have been crafting beautiful soaring instrumentals, playing sold out tours and released multiple albums and EPs. ‘Bamboo Crane’ comes from their latest effort Invisible City (recorded at Sigur Ros’s Sundlaugin studio in Iceland): it’s ethereal and haunting, an aural landscape where guitar melodies drift and strings wail out into oblivion, a piece that is a perfect example of Wangwen’s ability to create atmosphere pieces that instantly grab you and pull you in.
‘Blue Hearts & Shades Of Grey’ by The Grey Field (Indonesia) is a slice of brilliance from a one man sonic-texture machine. The Grey Field creates atmosphere epics in his home studio, which are then disseminated through his Soundcloud page, and this track has all the warmth and intimacy you’d expect from a home studio production: compact drum machine beats mingle with reverb drenched guitar, triumphant vocals samples, and warm pad sounds. It’s the shortest track on the compilation, yet also the one that manages to condense so many ideas into two minutes and fifty three seconds without feeling forced.
‘玖’ by Miss Woman (China) is an epic jaunt by an instrumental three piece who hail from Guilin, Guangxi province (diagonally the opposite side of country from Wangwen) who garnered tens of thousands of listens on Chinese streaming sites due to an iconic track dedicated to their hometown. In direct contrast to The Grey Field’s contribution Miss Woman’s track is the longest on the compilation and takes the listener on a sonic journey, where processed field recordings and synth loops create a canvas over which laid back grooves take hold, perhaps influenced mountains and lakes of their home town. The subtle shifts and changes in melodies, rhythm, and textures reward attentive listeners, and while the changes might be glacial the whole thing never becomes a drag.
‘Bot Battle’ by BLAD (South Korea) is a complete 180 to the track that precedes it, being one of the more aggressive tracks on the compilation which helps illustrates the variety of that exists within the post rock genre. In this instance BLAD draw on math rock and noise-laden shoe gaze for a track that nicely bookends the first half of the split, with its cold-cock breaks, brooding bass lines, and lo-fi synth squeals which build to a glorious sky-punching peak.
‘From Memories to Monuments’ by Odd (The Philippines) gives a blissful opening to side B that steadily ascends with shimmering guitar and playful bells that give way to a full blast, head on charge of epic, distortion-soaked riffs. There’s an almost painterly quality to the fine details, and the way that different parts rise and fall away, yet the sheer energy of the band keep it firmly rooted, never losing the song to self indulgence. It’s odd, but it’s also brilliant.
‘LÆ’ by MOMA (Japan) follows on next, a track that was as much a blessing to our label as it is to the compilation as we’re head over heels in love with the MOMA sound. Complex beats, tasty bass lines, bright piano keys mix with ringing guitar, all coming together to create an upbeat tour de force that demonstrates just how tight this outfit is. It’s a piece that packages so many ideas together but not for the sake of showing off: always serving the song, and what a song they serve up.
‘Incident 1’ by Acid Accident (China) gives an insight into why this three piece are considered one of the most exciting up and coming post-rock/shoe gazesque bands to come out of Beijing as of recent. Strong back beats, moody grooves, and silky guitar lines combine to give us a jam that is full of soulful and dripping with emotion, yet still packs a punch. This home recorded effort says so much, which is ironic as the track lacks vocals: just like a well crafted poem the meaning is between the lines.
‘Amidst The Pines’ by The Reasonable Hope (India) opens likes a Vangelis synth epic before the groove kicks in and transports you to far away lands of swirling colours and morphing clouds, like a ticket to some trippy amusement park inside of Brian Blessed’s mind whilst he’s in the midst of a particularly heavy acid trip (alright, maybe that one is a bit too out there, but you get the picture). Layers upon layers, all of them weaving together to create a beautiful of tapestry of sounds you’ll be thankful you made part of your day.
Finally, 'Parallel’ by Mashrabiya (Malaysia) plays out our journey through the post rock sounds of Asia, jumping straight in with frantic riffs, beefy beats, and an urgency that ensures this is one conclusion you won’t forget anytime soon. It rises and falls, never losing its grit and determination, before the vocals kick in and the whole thing breaks down like a star going supernova before fading to black.
On the cover of the compilation we find the artwork of James Sserwadda, a Ugandan artist living and working in Beijing. James’ work crosses a number of different mediums, including painting, illustration, sculpture, and film making. His paintings are typified by deep colours that radiate out of the canvas, adding a temperature to the bold expressionist lines. On occasion audiences can see this process as it happens as James paints in conjunction with live musical performances: the subtlety or brute force of the sound in term influences how the paint meets the canvas at the front of the stage — and occasionally the floor and the shoes of the musicians. It’s this ability to switch the dichotomy of hard and soft, and create layers upon layers that makes James’ work the perfect companion to the multilayered sounds found on this compilation.
Dive in and enjoy!
released October 10, 2018
‘Bamboo Crane’ by Wangwen (China)
Recorded in Sundlaugin studio, Iceland in January 2018. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Wouter Vlaeminck and Lode Vlaeminck.
‘Blue Hearts & Shades Of Grey’ by The Grey Field (Indonesia)
Recorded by The Grey Field, in his room.
‘玖’ by Miss Woman (China)
Written, performed, recorded by Miss Woman.
Mastered by Aye.
‘Bot Battle’ by BLAD (South Korea)
Self recorded by BLAD, mixed by Gavin Brooks.
‘From Memories to Monuments’ by Odd (Philippines)
Drums recorded at Peter Joshua Adanza's Drum Studio, the rest
recorded Under The Mango Tree Recording. Mixed and mastered by Dhen Dart Gonzales of Under The Mango Tree Recording.
‘LÆ’ by Moma (Japan)
Recorded at SOUND STUDIO NOAH NOGATA in 2017
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by “Takasi (gravel’s end)”. .
‘Incident 1’ by Acid Accident (China)
Recorded at their home studio in Beijing.
Mixed and Mastered by Xiao Zi.
‘Amidst The Pines’ by The Reasonable Hope (India)
Produced, written and performed by The Reasonable Hope , Yaduveer Singh Thakur , Manish Thami. Recorded, mixed and mastered by AJ Eates at Rhapsody Recording, Pune (India).
‘Parallel’ by Mashrabiya (Malaysia)
Recorded and engineered by Mokhtar Rizal at
Iseekmusic Studio, Malaysia.
The painting used as the artwork for this compilation is by
James Sserwadda, a Ugandan artist living and working in Beijing.