Wednesday 10 July 2013


Wow well I have been sort of quietly anticipating something new from Aristophanes (貍貓) and here it has arrived - with knobs on. Yes with knobs on - it's an English expression. With bells on. That's right, in addition, another talent comes screaming out of Taiwan: Sonic Deadhorse. The song is technically his, Aristophanes only featuring on it, but featuring or not, she still totally kills it with her vocal skill.

If you feel like you're missing something, Aristophanes is a young female rapper from Taiwan whose talents I am rather enjoying at the moment. I wrote about her song 'The Peach Blossom' a while back, and I also wrote something about her for Dummy magazine too. She raps in Mandarin Chinese, which you'd think would cause a problem with me not being able to understand Mandarin Chinese and all, but two things: a) she provides the lyrics, so you can translate them and get an idea of what's being said; b) the WAY she raps, the way she expresses herself through her voice, is very evocative. So there you go.

Sonic Deadhorse, on the other hand, is very new to me. One thing's for sure: he packs a punch. In this song at least, 'The Arrested', he crosses genres to deliver an all-out assault on the ears. It's a sound of aggression, frustration, anger, but crafted very well instead of being just a mess of sounds which can happen too often with this kind of style. He calls it "music for lonely urban women and men, the youths captivated by literature and art, dumb rockers, and the crazy ravers" - "post rock whimpers affecting sorrow violent electro." I like those descriptions.

So on we go. I've coloured the SoundCloud player the colour of the song: bright passionate maraschino-cherry-red.

First of all there's a sample from a French film floating over chilled piano tinkling (I'm guessing it's from a Truffaut film). Then without warning, the song cracks its knuckles and gets down, a flurry of wound-up snares battling together in a violent breakbeat style, low synth earthquaking below. The beat changes throughout the song, going from that frenetic style into dubstep by way of a glitchy break, and then for the finale the two patterns almost become mixed together. That last part - wow. It's a hurricane of noise, epic-sounding electro-rock brought to an untamed boiling point with wild synths and thunderous percussion, Aristophanes' voice now distorted and megaphonic, sounding every bit as explosive as the music behind her voice.

It's interesting because I wouldn't have thought that her rap would suit a song like this, but evidently it does. She whips up her own storm, adding to the already-savage tempest that the beat has created, skilfully weaving in and out of insignificance, sadness, righteousness, beginning the song in a small empty room speaking as another person but by the end admitting that she was that person all along, was projecting her emotions onto her, yet is still in that small empty room. Looking through the lyrics, although Google Translate is far from perfect, you get a sense of how able she is to at expressing her emotions - and honesty is key for a rap that's gonna sound any good. And it does sound good. Sounds damn good.

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Like Sonic Deadhorse on Facebook
Listen to Sonic Deadhorse on Soundcloud
Hear more Sonic Deadhorse on Myspace

Like Aristophanes 貍貓 on Facebook
Listen to Aristophanes 貍貓 on Soundcloud

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