The CHINABOT platform & label continues their mission to “change the dialogue surrounding Asian music” with their first release of 2020, Laughing Ears’ Metamorphosis 形变 . If you have followed CHINABOT’s output at all from their inception in 2017 until now, you will know that their catalogue spotlights some of the most eclectic and unheralded artists from Asia and the Asian diaspora. Last year, they released albums from Tavishi, Jaeho Hwang, Ayankoko, Seaketa and Sabiwa, showcasing the high level of artistry being cultivated by Asian-identifying producers living all over the world.
CHINABOT’s latest release comes from Shanghai and the artist known as Laughing Ears. This will be her debut release on CHINABOT following two releases with Beijing’s Ran Music and one with Hangzhou’s FunctionLab. Entitled Metamorphosis (Chinese: 形变), the six-track EP explores the notion of synergy as it relates to sound. Laughing Ears builds her tracks from the ground up, starting with a simple drum pattern or a tone-setting wash of synth. Gradually, she adds more layers-syncopated tom drums, processed vocal samples, dark, moody FX and even a touch of classical instrumentation.
We hear this in particular on the opening track “Unstable” which begins with an eerie, choral vocal loop that leads into a violin melody underpinned by bass drum and cymbal crashes. She follows this with “Resistance” which veers away from traditional instrumentation and leans into a footwork drum pattern that carries a delicate synth pattern and strange, distant vocal manipulations. Laughing Ears’ production style is undeniably one-of-a-kind insofar as she adeptly pulls from a wide array of reference points to construct a cohesive sound that is greater than the sum of its parts. With Metamorphosis, CHINABOT gives us yet more evidence that Asian artists are creating some of the most daring, innovative and engaging music to be heard today.
Metamorphosis 形变 is out now digitally and on LTD. edition cassette. Purchase here.