‘Charon’ is the latest EP from UK/China art-rock duo Guiguisuisui, and the first musical release from their anti-pop brand Daftpop. The EP blends minimal wave synths, trip hop beats, and shoe gaze guitars with samples of traditional Chinese instruments such as the pipa and guzheng. Meanwhile whispered poetry is juxtaposed against traditional Chinese folk vocalisations, all mixing together to create a crossover between East and West, the traditional and the contemporary. It’s available on CD and as a digital download via the Daftpop Bandcamp page.
Each of the tracks on the ‘Charon’ EP can stand alone or fit together to tell a story with lyrics that reflect upon Chinese mythology relating to the red spider lily (lycoris radiata). These flowers are described in translations of ancient texts as growing in hell to guide the souls of the dead along the path to reincarnation. Meanwhile the title of the EP borrows the moniker of the ferryman of Hades, who serves a similar purpose in Greek mythology in helping lost souls journey through the afterlife.
The EP itself came about after Guiguisuisui had been touring their live music/performance/painting Shining Soundscape show for three months in Europe and China in the summer of 2018. As a consequence the band chose to create a record that fit this performance: flowing and layered, rooted in traditions but progressive at the same time, and something that could be presented as a story along with live artwork and performance. Created in a matter of weeks, the band chose to self record and produce the EP in an effort to not overthink the pieces, but rather to preserve the raw inspiration and improvisations, evident in not only the music but the visual accompaniment also. You can find out more about Shining Soundscape and the band’s efforts to combine live music and painting in a documentary by up and coming Chinese film maker Daga , which details the creative progression of the band between their tours in Asia and Europe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnkalX6_Mzg&t=12s
To promote the ‘Charon’ EP the duo are hitting the road between Jan 25 and March 2 in China and SE Asia to bring the Shining Soundscape concept to new audiences and collaborate with people they meet along the way. The 18 dates includes gig in China (Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Nanning, Guilin), Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City), Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampot), and Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai). You can keep on up with the dates Guiguisuisui will be playing via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Guiguisuisui/