Exposé Online banner

Mao Dou + Lu Chen — A Hippo Wildly Grinds Its Teeth Bankside
(Mule no#, 2007, 2CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01

A Hippo Wildly Grinds Its Teeth Bankside Cover artThis elaborate package from the Shanghai underground would be worthy of a stateside release on Beta-lactam Ring. Seems perfect: one-of-a-kind presentation, cryptic artwork, bizarre music (and other sounds), confusing (or non-existent) credits. The CDs come packed in a lovely cloth-bound book that has 60+ card-stock pages covered with strange art (photo collages, scribbles, surreal sketches, and so on) and writing in English and Chinese. The discs are stuck on rubber knobs on the fold-out back cover. The first disc seems to consist of material that Mao and Lu gave to some of their Shanghai avant/improv scene compatriots to do with what they would. The results vary widely, starting out with eight minutes of the Beatles’ “Yesterday” repeated over and over accompanied by a music box. If there are any variations in treatment I can’t make them out. Then there is a very brief song with acoustic guitar and bass. We’re also treated to creepy ambient sound treatments from Sun Mengjin and blasts of static, radio noises and demented screaming, courtesy of the aptly named Torturing Nurse – ten minutes of that is guaranteed to clear your house of unwanted guests, and if it doesn’t, you might want to call the cops on those who remain. Obviously a lot of thought, effort, and (dare I say) love went into this release, though it’s honestly hard to imagine there’s much of an audience for it. Disc 2 contains more than 30 minutes of mostly spoken (occasionally sung) Chinese with treatments, found sounds and backgrounds both subtle and noisy. If you’re seeking out extreme art music from around the world, Mao and Lu are here to represent mainland China.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Lu Chen, Mao Dou

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Flower Kings - Back in the World of Adventures – Don't let the name fool you. The Flower Kings can jam! Take some soulful groove drumming, occasional Frippertronic style guitar, medieval flute-led romps in 7, and a plethora of keyboard and...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues