hello. how do you do? do you remember me?

A lot has happened since the night I stayed up until 6 in morning waiting (somewhat in vain) for Hosni Mubarak to step down as the president of Egypt, and not just in the world around us. In short, I am now working for Split Works, the Beijing and Shanghai-based music promotions, production, and management company. Right now, we’re in the thick of Jue《觉》(“pronounced ‘joo-eh'”) music + art festival. The festival kicked off on 12 March with two Taiwanese bands at Beijing’s Mao Livehouse and runs until 3 April when the Japanese group World’s End Girlfriend (世界末日女朋友) plays at Tango 3rd floor (the former Star Live/星光现场). We had four very fun, very intense gigs last week; The Whitest Boy Alive (Germany/Norway), Vitalic (France), Shanren (山人) (China/Yunnan) and The Besnard Lakes (Canada). Jue is a multi-disciplinary, two-city, art, music and culture festival that focuses on alternative and interesting happenings in concerts, art shows, theatre performances, film screenings and much more. Basically, it’s one big amazing stressful wonderful cultureball three week semi-clusterfluck.

We have two concerts coming up this week, both of which I’m quite excited about. The first, which is tomorrow night, is a Dutch band out of Groningen called the Black Atlantic. They play this Wednesday (tomorrow) at Mao Livehouse here in Beijing. With a sound that wouldn’t be out of place in a wildflower meadow or on the shores of a freshwater lake high up in the mountains, their songs are spare yet operatic, lo-fi and lush all at the same time. As befits this digital age, their 2009 LP, Reverence for Fallen Trees, which features Peter Silberman of the Antlers and Leo Maymind of Spanish Prisoners, is available to download for free (or pay-what-you-wish) here. Come out to Mao tomorrow night to see them and opener Wu Zhuoling (吴桌玲), who’s also played with José Gonzalez during his China tour a couple of years ago. Doors are at 20:00 and tickets are 50 rmb (no presale).

The other show this week is a Shanghai band called Yuguo (羽果乐队) who play extremely catchy throwback-y Britpop with tight melodies and great little synth lines (not an oxymoron!). Fun fact, they formed in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, where my maternal grandfather’s whole family is from and still lives. The press photo of them is oh-so-cool with their leather jackets, sunglasses, and sepia-ish tone. Don’t you think the band member on the front left could pass for Asian Jarvis Cocker? I’d argue for that. They play, with Beijing favorite Perdel (逃跑计划) at Mao this Friday 25 March. Again, doors are at 20:00 and tickets are 50 rmb at the door. Check out Yuguo’s Douban (豆瓣)—Chinese myspace—site for songs. Additionally, you can even vote for which songs you would like them to play at Friday’s gig (if you read Chinese).