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Album Review

Snapline – “Phenomena” – [Maybe Mars]

Thurston Hunger   6/30/2018   12-inch, A Library


2012 Chinese trio, minimal moody bass driven numbers
could take a full dance floor and pull apart all the
couples into singles spinning with dreams of Alan
Vega calling to them above in the rafters. Li Weisi
and Zhong Qiu used to be passengers in Carsick Cars
(KFJC added a 2007 release from that project in 2015).
Chen Xi sings in English, monotone mantra over a usually
stark hypnotic beat. Gatefold unfold the lyrics, his
deadpan delivery coupled with repeats gives each song
an additional spark of tension, but Li Weisi’s (aka
Levis) basslines are absolutely vital here. Zhong Qiu
squiggle-decorates space, some synth, some guitar. The
last two cuts with most prounounced electric guitar, for
a No-Wave Beijing razing. But I like the preceding tracks
as this band truly gets the less-is-more vibe, a little
spacy slide guitar, or some flickering keys there, it’s
a bleak but beckoning sound, like a strobe-light that can
double as a disintegration ray.

Potentially even more promising Snapline in 2017 were
supposed to record an album at GOK studios in Japan
(where many killer albums for the God Mountain label
were created). We need to work on our KFJC tunnel
beneath the Great Firewall to uncover more of the
Chinese underground. Some feedback drenched erhu
please…with circuit bending electronics.
-Thurston Hunger

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