Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000149 EndHTML:0000003208 StartFragment:0000000199 EndFragment:0000003174 StartSelection:0000000199 EndSelection:0000003174 A formidable new wave of musicians has taken China's music underground by storm. Working well outside government-controlled media channels they have, in the process, turned the ears of the international music community towards Beijing.
Maybe Mars <http://www.maybemars.com/> and its sister club, D-22 <http://www.d-22.cn/> , have found themselves at the center of the burgeoning scene. The artists signed to Maybe Mars represent a fresh, independent voice in a country renowned for creative conformity and saccharine Cantopop. For now, China remains in a tense state between the socialist idealism of old and a drive for wealth spurred by free-market reforms. These contradictions tear at the country's social fabric, while simultaneously provoking and inspiring younger generations to greater artistic heights, especially in the realm of music.
Given the brutal industrialization, destruction and reconstruction of China's rapidly changing urban landscapes it is probably no surprise that Beijing musicians are heavily influenced by the no-wave sounds of New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have nonetheless reconfigured this vocabulary to fit with Chinese opera's traditional delight with textural experimentation and a centuries-long history of infatuation with shimmering melodic structures. With the sound of broken-down machines cranking out lovely pop songs, the unique sound emerging from China's music underground aggressively questions the moral and social basis of the fragile modernity on which it subsists.
Maybe Mars <http://www.maybemars.com/> is the youngest of the two leading Chinese independent music labels. It was started by musicians who had found a home at D-22, the rock club that is credited with giving crucial exposure and support to Beijing's exploding music scene. In its two years of existence, it has already signed 24 folk, rock, experimental and noise musicians and bands, including most of the artists at the forefront of China's music underground.
For the first time, three Maybe Mars artists — P.K. 14 <http://www.maybemars.com/index.php/artists/pk-14/?lang=en> , Carsick Cars <http://www.maybemars.com/index.php/artists/carsick-cars/?lang=en> , & Xiao He <http://www.maybemars.com/index.php/artists/xiao-he/?lang=en> — will appear on American shores.
Read how it is going: