I can still remember watching the first performance of And So I Watch You From Afar in Beijing. I was totally struck by their unexpected incredible instrumentation and dizzying beats’ changing, the forceful wall of guitar sound and aggressive percussion.
And the show was just like a juncture of my viewpoint on music. The flexible rhythm and notes of Math-Rock led me to find more and more fresh and interesting bands all around the world. I also found bands right here in China – where I’m born and living – with math-rock sensibilities which are sure to interest international listeners.
Many of the Math-Rock bands in China are influenced by Toe, American Football at first（who are not?），and their works are more connected with Emo, Post-rock, Ambient and Oriental/J-style. However, more Math-Rock bands have jumped into Chinese buffs’ ears in recent years with more abundant inspirations, so nowadays we can hear harder riffs, more aggressive beats, and even djent cadenza in some compositions of Chinese Math-Rock bands.
Well, here are a bunch of Chinese Math-Rock bands waiting for you. You can see some of them are extremely fresh – they haven’t released any EP or album by now; and some of them are dissolved which left great works to us. All you need is putting on your headphone, and find a place to settle down, just listen to them. You will get joy for real.
Key album: 《Chinese Football》
Chinese Football’s debut album was released in 2016 gained many thumbs up on bandcamp, and also got a space in the TOP-50 Albums of 2016 on Fecking Bahamas. This band just finished a Japan tour, and will release their new EP soon. I really like their vivid compositions, and the performance during their live shows is also full of energy. You can hear so many young hormones in their songs, which really impresses me.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :《400米/400 miles》
Key album: 《Northern Electric Shadow》
DOC（Dalian Obscure Club）- once was known as the indie rock band Doc Talk Shock – released their debut album last year, then toured around China with Electronic/Indietronica band Duck Fight Goose. The album and tour brought them a lot of attention from Chinese music buffs. Their works are full of ambient emotions together with math-leaning synth & guitar notes and rhythm. They also have more electronic characteristics.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :《Metropolitan-Viewer》
Key album: Cosmos Egg
GriffO had really active performances last year. They’ve released their 2nd EP Cosmos Egg, which was mixed/mastered by Miura Kaoru (he is also the mixer of Lite ). Their creations were more mature than before. The J-style instrumental melody and Dream-pop vocal impressed me a lot.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :《Freaky》
Key album: South, South Ⅱ
48V has always been loved by Chinese Post-Rock fans, and is one of my favorite bands. The exquisitely scattered notes make a perfect conversation between different instruments. Their songs are dressed by pulsing electronic beats and oriental melody, which are catchy, and can stand against scrutiny. They make me feel like I was right in the wet air of Chengdu. Besides, the solo-project of their guitarist Fayzz is also extraordinary. He dabbles in math-Rock and Jazzy Hip-hop etc.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Dazzle Style
Key albums: NEXT EPISODE: LORD. SMART VS DR. JIN, Heavy Metal Rock is the Best Music
One of Lava|Ox|Sea‘s members – Han Han – incidentally formed the aforementioned indietronica band Duck Fight Goose. But we Chinese can not forget the huge influence of this dissolved math rock band. Their songs always amaze me every time I listen to them. The melody of the vocals and other instruments really combine perfectly.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Kaleidoscope
Key album: Nod 4, Like Playing to a Cow, Strange Meat
Spiral Cow were said to be the first math rock band in China, although the members didn’t really care about what exact style they were. You will find hard guitar riffs and progressive features, together with some jazz, experimental, noise and even post punk characteristics in their compositions. I’ve seen their last show before dissolved which gave me a deep impression.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :The Chase
Key album: TBA
I’ve only listened to one or two Lo-Fi demos of Nein on the Internet and I’m already attracted by this young band from Guangzhou. Their compositions are full of youthful spirit, and the vocal is always vibrant.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Could Be No
She Never Sings Our Songs
Key album: TBA
She Never Sings Our Songs is also a young band, and they’re trying to find more abundant ways to express their emotions in the creations. You can hear a lot of bouncing conversations between the two guitars. They’re active in Beijing local music scene and will release their debut album in 2017.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :浮 FU
Key album: Little Wizard I
Little Wizard’s music always brings you a feeling of simple but clever spirit. Their debut album has a post-rock rich atmosphere together with math rock interludes. They’re recording their second album right now in which there seems to be more flexible notes and rhythms
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Accident/a>
Key album: Animals That Don’t Lay Eggs, Vol. 1&2
Based in Beijing, Mammals was formed of musicians from different countries. They show you a lot of special wild math rock riffs and the drummer always attacks your soul while playing. Because of one of them going back to his home country, Mammals has sadly disbanded and the other members have sinced formed several new projects such as Fake Weed and Social Boar.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Dolphin/a>
OTHER MATH ROCK BANDS NEAR CHINA
Key album: Un/titled
Emptybottles’ guitar composition is a big bright spot which reminds me of American Football. They’ve just toured with the band Touming Magazine around China and have drawn much audience attention.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Real
Key album: 在Zoi, Equal Unequals to Equal
I have a soft spot for tfvsjs. I’ve seen three of their live shows, and am moved by them every time. The two drummers act very tacitly, and every instrument is combined perfectly. Every listen is bound to surprise.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Shrine Of Our Despair/a>
话梅鹿 (Prune Deer)
Key album: Solid Transparency
Following the departure of their vocalist, the young members of Prune Deer chose to continue as an instrumental band. Their works combine the popular J-style with Hong Kong-style melodies.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Heat Death
Key album: 23:59 Before Tomorrow, GDJYB
This all-girl band just released their 2nd album with more variable compositions. The dazzling guitar notes and dramatic vocal form their unique style, a style they personally refer to as ‘math folk’.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Durian What What What
大象体操 (Elephant Gym)
Key album: Work, Balance, Angle
Elephant Gym’s music offers a happy and vivid atmosphere, and as a result this band is now very popular in Asia. You can hear the growing influence of jazz and funk as they mature as a band, particularly in their newest EP. A Taiwanese essential.
Song Menu to Feed Your Appetite :Games
You can listen to all these bands, plus a few other lil’ nuggets, all in one hit via our Chinese Math Rock Youtube playlist. And, yeah, may as well subscribe to our channel while you’re there y’know?