Friday 20 June 2014


Ahhhhhhhh… The strange romantic aesthetics of opium dens: the acceptable crackhouses of yesteryear. Divans and drapes and pipes, ingratiating attendants, sordid opulence, the classic hazy sparkle of fin de siècle decadence; the Victorian duality of public obligation and private subversion, light and dark, foreign exotica furnishing domestic shores.

Why the shit am I talking about all of this? Cause of this guy's name, Shanghai Den, and also because of their profile pic, both on SC and FB – just sparked the imagination y'know and I had to just vent those mental images. But far from these antique pollutants, in the here-and-now of present day, Shanghai Den has made some music that has juuust been released: 'The Sun' – it's unusual, unnerving, mean, cold; funny for a track named after something that's pretty much none of those things. Just as the bright side of dance music has its appeal, so too does the dark.

Let's have a listen to this mucky little number shall we?

In the midst of a swirling, narcotic haze, this track introduces itself with sharp, cutting percussion – serrated knife-edge hi-hats that seem to slash at your ears (in a good way, if possible to imagine). Different layers appear, peeling off as you descend deeper into the darkness; unknown alien synths wah-wah through the inky dirt of the track's dominant and obsessive two-note rhythm, a frantic cycle that threatens to develop into more at all times, making it one hell of a tease. A continuous detonation of fog-like bass rumbles like aphotic murk, further intensifying the principal vibe of unsettlement. Indeed, commenting on their own music, Shanghai Den themselves say it's "the fear inside of all of us mixed with a constant stream of chemical self medication." Sounds about right.

Like Shanghai Den on Facebook
Listen to Shanghai Den on SoundCloud

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