By Rochelle Shanthakumar.
Malaysian born, Singapore and Taiwan grown, San Diego and Chicago ex resident, and Taipei-Shanghai-dwelling producer, Tzusing, released a fierce album on L.I.E.S earlier this year.
Menacing, harrowing, with full body impact, the album re-works Asian folk into a post-apocalyptic soundscape.
The album title: 東方不敗 ‘Dōngfāng bùbài’ means ‘Invincible East’. This isn’t nationalistic but refers to a character in the novel, The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, by Jin Yong about swordsmen that had to cut off their balls in order to find a secret scroll to learn how to become the most powerful man or woman in China. Negating power (your balls) to give you power, scary stuff!
Opening track 日出東方 唯我不敗 kicks the door down with pounding drums and builds up to a bending, heated explosion.
‘Post-Soviet Models’, samples Formula 1 racers with lurching windswept percussions and a steady heavy bass line overlying it all, there is no slow build up to each track and everything is full force and ADD.
As a kid, Tzusing moved from Taiwan to San Diego to stay with an uncle, after being kicked out of school, from San Diego he moved to Chicago, where he experienced sets from the legendary Theo Parrish and Traxx among many.
After moving back to Shanghai he started a bike parts business, a somewhat lonely experience that lead to a musical vision, Tzusing decided to go all in on making music and moved closer to Shanghai’s centre, he went on to land a big break at Shelter, an ex-bomb shelter, and much loved venue for electronic music in Shanghai, now closed down.
After clearing the floor with a political rap set which gained love from the club owners but sadly not so much the crowd, he landed a residency anyway. The residency led to a meeting with Doug Lee, who passed a track from Tzusing on to Ron Morelli in Berlin. Leading to Tzusing’s signing to Ron Morelli’s Hospital Productions.
Tzusing sites Middle Eastern instruments and Indonesian music, along with Taoist ceremonial chanting. Conscious of not culturally appropriating or creating a gimmick, the album focuses on using the intensity of these sounds to create a universal, out of this planet, techno record.