Ni-Hao! — No Respect
(Tenzenmen 182tzm, 2016, DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-04-27
I often find recordings of the “lo-fi” esthetic very frustrating. Bad quality sound in a live situation is something that often can’t be avoided, and is mitigated by the positives of having the performers right there making the music. But when you take the time to record for later listening, distortion and poor equalization can be very tiring and distract from the content and quality of the music. In the case of vintage live recordings, I’m willing to make some allowances if the performance is of historical significance. This recording by the now-international group Ni-Hao! is quite a mixed bag in a lot of ways, not least the fidelity of the recording. Some tracks have an overdriven distortion that could have been recorded on a smartphone in a dive bar, and one track is explicitly called out as a live recording. Others have cleaner sound, akin to good quality modern demos. But the band’s style, which they call “cheer punk,” might be described in outside-world terms as “art-punk,” and lends itself to quick-and-dirty recording. They’re all about spontaneous fun, and precision playing is not at all required. That being said, there are some very inventive sounds on No Respect, with thrashing guitars and shouted vocals one moment and rinky-dink drum machine with piano bass the next. Or wildly oscillating synthesizer, or chopped up sampled spoken words. The inconsistency becomes the theme, and the album becomes a sonic collage, a cut-and-paste vision of the weird musical world these women inhabit.
Related artist(s): Ni-Hao!
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more