Dirty Beaches has been laid to rest, but Alex Zhang Hungtai remains a wanderer. In the statement that accompanies the project’s swansong, Stateless, he comments on the transitory and unpredictable nature of life and prompts us to "brace ourselves for the ever changing tides of time." Above, find a powerful audio-visual representation of that existential melancholy. Godspeed to us all as we wander through this life!
Last month, Alex Zhang Hungtai announced the laying to rest of his long-running and acclaimed no-wave singer-songwriter alias Dirty Beaches. The recently released Stateless was packed with gorgeous drones and was thankfully an elegant end for the project.
There was a silver lining to this news: Hungtai announced that new music under different handles would be coming as soon as 2015. Lo and behold, he has already delivered over 20 minutes of music under the pseudonym Last Lizard. The 18-minute-long "Dickie's Theme" and the below 4 minute excerpt from "Detroit" are billed as "tenor sax and tape experiments," in a similar vein as some of the material on Stateless. Try to imagine The Disintegration Loops constructed only out of layered tenor sax sounds - if you can, then you ought to have a good idea of what you're in for.
Lo-fi rock project Dirty Beaches, a.k.a. the solo endeavor of Taiwanese musician Alex Zhang Hungtai, had its breakthrough in 2011 with Badlands, a brief exercise in dirtily recorded indie rock that filters influences from old styles through an odd, hazy lens. Many modern rock acts adopt the "lo-fi" tag, but on Badlands, Dirty Beaches felt as if it truly earned the descriptor, implementing a commitment to rough and noisy production that calls to mind artists such as Japanese noise rock pioneers Les Rallizes Dénudés.
The project's next offering is a double album, which will be released on May 21, 2013 via ZOO MUSIC. Titled Drifters/Love Is The Devil, the record's two discs will explore the behavior brought on by pleasure-seeking night life and a more introspective viewpoint of remorse and the loss of love, respectively. The latter will include this track, "Love is the Devil," an instrumental comprising of evocative synthesizer drones. In spite of its instrumentation being particularly minimal, "Love is the Devil" manages to be highly earnest and intimate, representing its disc's themes quite appropriately.
Video: horrifying. Song: captivating. They were made for each other. Of course, this isn't the "official' video," but it still works.
This track comes from Dirty Beaches' latest album, Badlands, which is his fourth. Look for it on Zoo.
Dirty Beaches is Alex Zhang Hungtai. He's a Taiwan-born musician who currently resides in Canada.
His latest album has been staring me in the face on my to-listen list for a while now. Though his music contains elements of nostalgia as far back as the 1950s, there's a fuzzy, noisy, alienating aspect to his style, too. Imagine greasers all parked up at makeout point with their girlfriend, but they're all wigged out on acid instead of kissing. Kinda reminds me of something I loved earlier this year.