Friday 14 June 2013


Well I have to be honest, this is something that I didn't think would exist. It's very bad of me I suppose because any kind of music can come from anywhere. It just so happens that this is quite different at the same time as being unusual, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I found this track the other day and I was blown away by it. Not only by the general sound of the music but by the voice too - it's a haunting, mesmerising voice.

And it is the voice of Aristophanes 貍貓 (I think her real name is Li Mou but those Chinese characters are like a play on words and say... I don't know what they say: raccoon cat? leopard cat? I dunno), a Taipei-based (Taiwanese) MC who rhymes and flows in Mandarin Chinese. It's that thing again of not being able to understand something, yet understanding or actually FEELING the emotion or atmosphere that has been brought across by the way the words have been sung, or rapped in this case.

Also the track has been produced by Tokyo producer Lidly, who makes beats for many people. These particular beats he's made, however, are gloriously chilled, like a memory that moves as a slowmotion skateboard compilation or long pans of sun-tinted afternoon landscapes. A truly beautiful hip hop sound that Li Mou's achingly passionate vocals, starkly echoing, almost nude in the way that they float with languor atop the fluid beats, compliment excellently.

What a chilled vibe, but at the same time there is something agitated and pained in Li Mou's flows, especially in the break where she ups the tempo and lets out a heartrending 'ahhh!' before the beat comes back in, accompanied by a brain-tilting synth solo that sounds as stretched out as Li Mou's earlier vocals. Lovely.

The interesting thing about this song (aside from, y'know, how good it sounds) is that the lyrics actually deal with a take on a classical Chinese story called The Peach Blossom Land (written in 421 AD by Tao Yuanming). In the story, a fisherman sails up a river in a forest made up entirely of blossoming peach trees to its source, where he finds a utopian village of people living in harmony. In the version told by Aristophanes, a man dreams of finding the place, travels a long time to get there, but finds it ruined. Bummer. But you can definitely hear the dreamlike atmosphere in the song, the long journey, as well as the sadness of a destroyed kind of Shangri-La.

Check out Aristophanes' SoundCloud cause there are some other great tracks on there, featuring fresh collaborations with a number of talented producers and of course her distinctive vocal flow. She is also involved with MICRO'Session, a group that puts on nights for Taiwanese DJs, beatmakers and MCs.

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Listen to Aristophanes 貍貓 on Soundcloud

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Listen to Lidly on Soundcloud

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