- Exciting club music from a vital Shanghai label.
- When I interviewed Tzusing in 2017 he said, "Chinese kids really shaped the way I DJ. You have to keep them interested, and the timespan is short. There's no slow build-up." As one of the Shanghai scene's most visible exports, it's safe to say that Tzusing's sharp, fidgety style also helped shape those same kids' understanding of dance music. Along with a handful of other Shanghai residents like Osheyack, Swimful, Hyph11e and Faded Ghost, he's helped foster a loosely defined strain of club music—explosive, restless and surprising, truly varied in its mixing of genres. This scene revolves around ALL, a Shanghai nightclub that books bleeding-edge club music and releases it via owner the SVBKVLT label. Six years and more than 20 releases in, SVBKVLT's Cache 01 compilation surveys this Shanghai squad as their music grows from regional curiosity to global force.
Not every single producer on Cache 01 is Chinese or lives in Shanghai, but they all treat club music as a blank slate to explore their own particular tastes. Unlike much of the experimental club scene around the world, these artists' beats aren't always rooted in genres like grime or Jersey club. How would you describe the martial drumming of the Beijing group Zaliva-D's "Synthetic Sin," the sparse drum-machine workout of promising newcomer Gooooose, or the jittery, larger-than-life percussion of Tokyo's Prettybwoy? Tzusing and Hodge come up with a guttural club track that uses vocal grunts like percussion, and whose hot-potato rhythm could elicit memorable moves on a dance floor.
The music might be unclassifiable, but the vibe is generally fast and loud. There's not a lot of breathing room on Osheyack & Nahash's "Hold Pattern." On "Sangkakala II," the Bali-based Gabber Modus Operandi do exactly what you think they'd do. Giant Swan member Mun Sing scores the biggest track on the compilation with "A War In Heaven," whose outsized drum samples are so over the top that the whole thing seems to tumble after you like the boulder in Indiana Jones. Contrast those drums with MIIIN's "Metagame," which enriches its swung beat with glassy chimes, resembling Arovane's classic IDM era. And the compilation begins with a track from the Korean-American rapper Yen Tech, whose Marvel-esque sound design and thespian vocal samples set up Cache 01 to be as thrilling as an action movie. Whatever form its tracks take, the compilation is a vital document of Asian club music.
01. Yen Tech - Acceleratus
02. Osheyack & Nahash - Hold Pattern
03. Tzusing & Hodge - Electrolytes
04. Hyph11e - Sinking
05. Zaliva-D - Synthetic Sin
06. Gooooose - Arp Kicks
07. MIIIN - Metagame
08. Prettybwoy - Second Highball
09. Mun Sing - A War in Heaven
10. Gabber Modus Operandi - Sangkakala II
11. Swimful - Nailz
12. 33EMYBW - Natus
13. Scintii - Reverie (Day Version)