With Eyes on Beijing This Week, Ears Turn Towards China's Underground Music Scene

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With the world's eyes turned towards China for the start of this week's Olympic Games, ears turn towards two albums from today's Chinese punk-rock scene. This is underground China.

'Look Directly Into The Sun' ... is one of those increasingly rare rock surprises--a collection with enough wit, sass, and smart noise to belong with the post punk classics of 25 years ago.

When Chicago-based musician, producer and label owner Martin Atkins visited Beijing in the fall of 2006, he had no idea what to expect. What he found was a thriving underground culture of rock bands that reminded him of his time in London in the late '70s, and of the downtown scene in early '80s NYC. He signed several bands while he was there, shot 80 hours of video footage, and rented out High End Sound Studios, where he recorded tracks from well over a dozen bands. He recorded live shows at the D-22 club--a venue that embodies the spirit that CBGBs had when Martin arrived in NYC over 25 years ago--just as news of the final show at the legendary NY nightclub was breaking on CNN.

Absorbing all of this, Atkins set out to create an album that reflected what he was seeing and hearing in Beijing. Pushing the envelope and risking the easy camaraderie with the avant-garde, he chose to bring in traditional Chinese musicians and instruments and Tibetan singers for a fuller picture.

The results are two very different collections of contemporary Chinese music:

Various Artists, 'Look Directly Into The Sun'
'Look Directly Into The Sun' features 18 Beijing pop, punk and rock bands. Members of Snapline, China MC Brothers and Carsick Cars are heavily featured on Martin's China Dub album as well. Carsick Cars toured Europe and played Vienna, Prague and London opening for Sonic Youth. The Scoff, PK-14 and Joyside opened for Nine Inch Nails at last year's Beijing Pop Festival. This compilation features the bands that are front and center in the emergence of the Beijing underground beyond China.

"On one stunning disc, post-punk polymath Martin Atkins compiles 18 Beijing pop, punk and rock bands he discovered in China last year." - Newsweek

"'Look Directly Into The Sun' ... is one of those increasingly rare rock surprises--a collection with enough wit, sass, and smart noise to belong with the post punk classics of 25 years ago." - NPR's "Fresh Air"

MP3 Carsick Cars, "Panda"

Martin Atkins' China Dub Soundsystem, 'Made In China'
'Made In China' is an incredible collision of traditional instrumentation and post-punk, dub and experimentation. Recording the elements separately, and waiting to mix and match them together after returning to his Mattress Factory Studios in Chicago, Atkins was able to keep the performances on both sides uncontaminated by any expectations of the final result. The finished album is probably the most creative and effective musical collaboration that Atkins has spearheaded since 'Gub' by Pigface, Atkins' long- running musical collective.

[MP3] Martin Atkins' China Dub Soundsystem, "Yellow Cab"

About Martin Atkins:
Martin Atkins has played drums in PiL, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Killing Joke, Pigface and several other international acts. He is the owner of Invisible Records and the Mattress Factory Studios in Chicago. He is the author of "Tour: Smart," a guide for touring bands and musicians.

Invisible China is distributed by Bloodshot Records, LTD.

To set up an interview with Mr Atkins, or to obtain promo copies of the album, please contact Jenny Pfafflin at Bloodshot Records.


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