Boomkat Product Review:
Beijing duo Zaliva-D drag traditional Chinese rhythms into an industrialised crawl elevated by freakish vocals. Brilliant and perplexing material that’s hard to fathom in a single sitting, a bit like listening to gabber at 5% speed; hypnotic, still jarring, completely unhinged.
'Misbegotten Ballads' is one of those albums that made us wonder what the fuck we were listening to on first play. It’s traditional Chinese, defiantly experimental and bizarrely electronic - with ancient percussion rubbing against screwed synths to form a driving pulse alongside saw tones that rattle like snakes.
Mostly deployed at a sultry 60bpm crawl, it’s all almost uncomfortably slow and defiantly awkward, like some possessed fantasy version of propulsive dance music played at a pace designed for zoned-out contemplation. Where so much “exotic” music experienced at this tempo feels measured and tasteful, Zaliva-D revel in aesthetic carnage - their choice of instrumentation, pitch and arrangement all seem designed to stick a middle finger up to the polite mode of expression that seems to be the sound-du-jour as the world disintegrates around us.
On 'Hun Shou Qiang Qiang' saturated woodblock rhythms and vocal wails knock us into the next dimension, linking to traditional music without mimicking anything specific. The cartoonish processing makes the vocals sound like some alternate version of baile funk, combined with fuzzy lead synth melodies that are impossible to take seriously, in the best way.
One of the weirder things we've come across this year, and easily one of the Shanghai label’s most rewarding oddities.