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Jazz / Free Jazz
Indie / Rock
Folk / Song
Label based out of a book shop & cafe in Shenzhen, China.
Puppet is a rock band that was started in 1991 in Urumqi by Xinjiang musician Feruh (法茹克). It has gone on to become one of the longest living rock bands in China. The backbone of Xinjiang’s underground scene, Puppet has gone through numerous line-up changes while Feruh remains the only constant member and the mastermind behind the project. In 1997, Mamer joined Puppet and has since maintained a close relationship with the band. The band went on hiatus from 2002 to 2005, reformed in 2006, and finally released their full-length debut 'Urumqiin' 2008, a sophomore titled '32 Days' followed in 2014. Feruh is currently working on his new band 6501, named after the first four digits of identity card numbers in Xinjiang, 6501 released their debut 'Endgame' in 2018 under Modern Sky’s Bad Head sub-label.
This is Puppet’s first greatest hits album, compiled by Feruh himself, with songs selected from different periods of the band’s history, the song “3 O’clock Xinjiang Time” is previously unreleased. It's gold.
Puppet – Puppet: Selected Works 1995 - 2014
Born in 1945, Guo Yongzhang is a true maestro of Henan Zhuizi, a traditional Chinese talking-singing art that has a history of over 100 years. Almost blind, he plays Zhuihu and Zhuibang to accompany his own singing. His vocal style is peculiar, resounding yet smooth, adopting various types of arias from traditional local operas such as Shandong Bangzi and Shandong Zaobang, and he always sings with deep feelings and great verve. Originated in Henan, Zhuizi is included in the national intangible cultural heritage list and has been popular in Henan and its nearby regions. Its main accompaniment musical instrument is Zhuihu, a two-stringed bowed instrument made of wood, and secondly the Zhuibang, a wooden percussion played with foot tapping. Since Zhuihu has a wide diapason with a soft sound and relatively high volume, the performer can use it to imitate the voice of human and animals. Guo was born with bad eyesight. Growing up in poverty, he never had enough food and had been living on begging in the nearby village with his parents. It was during that period he discovered Zhuizi for the first time, and was so obsessed with its unique charm that he decided to learn playing by himself. He bought a second-hand Zhuihu from the local opera troupe with wages from hard physical labor, and soon managed to play some short pieces by hard practice. However, it was still difficult for him to gain respect from the local folks without training under the traditional master-apprentice system that he couldn’t afford, and even worse, his eyesight went worse and worse to nearly blind. Not until he turns 17 was he reluctantly accepted by a Zhuizi master and has been assiduously learning and playing until now. Lyrics of Guo’s Zhuizi are about respecting the old, valuing the righteousness and compassion, while keeping a sense of humor. Today, he is widely-known in the border region of Suzhou, Shandong, Henan and Anhui, and is commonly regarded as a Zhuizi master. Guo has been playing among people tirelessly for decades. As he ages, Guo knows there is not much time left for him, and he feels sorry that nowadays only few people want to learn Zhuizi. He is worried that this precious art form would disappear someday.
This studio album is recorded after Guo Yongzhang performing on the 5th Tomorrow Festival stage.
Released by Old Heaven Books, 2019
Guo Yongzhang – Guo Yongzhang Zhuizi Selections
"Born in 1945, Guo Yongzhang has performed zhuizi - a traditional Chinese style of narrative singing - for half a century. An artform whose history spans over a century, zhuizi originated in Henan province. Its main musical instruments are the zhuihu, a two-stringed bowed lute, and the zhuibang, a wooden percussion played with foot tapping.
Almost completely blind, Guo Yongzhang is known for his peculiar, resounding yet smooth vocal style. He sings with deep feelings and great verve. Lyrics deal with both the hardships and good values of life while always maintaining a sense of humour. Despite being long regarded as a folk master, Guo has continued to play tirelessly among ordinary people, often travelling from village to village and performing for a whole day at a time. As he nears the end of his life, Guo regrets that nowadays, few people wish to learn the art ofzhuizi. He worries that this precious art form may soon be lost.
This release, titled after one of Guo Yongzhang’s most well-known songs, Lao Lai Nan, commemorates his performance at the 5th Tomorrow Festival. Guo co-headlined the last day of the festival with French prog-rock act Gong on May 20, 2018. His performance was recorded live and is due to be released on both CD and LP by the Old Heaven label in November 2019.
Guo Yongzhang / Zhuihu, Zhuibang, Vocals
Recorded in the late-1980s, Released in 2018
Guo Yongzhang – Lao Lai Nan (Old Man’s Blues)
A co-production between Old Heaven Books (Shenzhen) and Leo Records (UK / Russia). Recorded in the Chinese city of Shenzhen in front of the full capacity audience, the first set was a Vyacheslav Ganelin solo (42'05), followed by a Kruglov-Yudanov duo (35'11). They then played a trio which received a long ovation in China.
Vyacheslav Ganelin / Alexey Kruglov / Oleg Yudanov – Russian New Music In China - Live In Shenzhen
Recording of Otomo Yoshihide's set at B10 Live, Shenzhen.
大友良英 Otomo Yoshihide / 吉他 Guitar / 人声 Vocals
录制于2014年4月28日，深圳B10现场. Recorded April 28, 2014 at B10 Live, Shenzhen
Otomo Yoshihide – Otomo Yoshihide Live in Shenzen
"马木尔 Mamer meets Ruins Alone (Tatsuya Yoshida) 吉田" for an improvisation after a solo set from Tatsuya Yoshida at the first Tomorrow Festival, 2014."
吉田达也 Tatsuya Yoshida / 人声 vocals, 鼓 drums, 采样器 sampler
马木尔 Mamer - 贝斯 bass, 人声 vocals / 口弦 mouth harp
1. Hyderomastgroningem 01:28 2. Schvostess 01:46 3. DAGDAD 00:51 4. Korromda Peimm 01:19 5. Jallamjikko 01:17 6. Obthecklomtz 02:21 7. Pallaschtom 01:58 8. Skhanddravisa 04:03 9. Shofetim 02:50 10. Nivaftopoftz 01:11 11. Zurna Taksim 00:33 12. Snare 01:16 13. Classical Music Medley 01:17 14. Progressive Music Medley 02:16 15. Lockssomblez 01:16 16. Glaschzenck 03:03 17. Equesspaldho 01:43 18. Komnigriss 01:44 19. Becttem Pollt 02:42 20. Laiptchig 01:57 21. Improvisation 1 (Tatsuya Yoshida × Mamer) 10:32 22. Improvisation 2 (Tatsuya Yoshida × Mamer 06:46
Recorded May 10, 2014 at the 1st Tomorrow Festival, Shenzhen. Released April 10, 2017
Ruins Alone & Mamer – Tomorrow Ruins
"Drummer Deng Boyu's debut solo electronics release. Being almost obsessive about constructing a minimalistic ambiance, his works are full of exquisite and whimsy compositions which shows his characteristic aesthetic of sampling and collage. Deng Boyu has collaborated with many important musicians and bands at home and abroad, including Mamul, Xiaohe, Wu Na, Da Wang Bar, Lee Ranaldo, Marc Ribot, Akira Sakata, Sabu Toyozumi, Steven Buchanan, Federico Casagrande."
Deng Boyu / electronics
Mixed by Liu Ying 设计：魏籽. Design by Weizi 发行：旧天堂书. Recorded in 2011 Released in 2012
邓博宇 Deng Bo Yu – Wild Air Waves
More 'traditional' dombra solo album from Mamer - more cyclical, less sustain driven reflections on Kazakh tunes.
1. Bande 土匪 Brigand - 01:42 2. Aylanew 旋转 Rotating - 04:33 3. Jamaw 补丁 Patch - 01:58 4. Dom Mêtal 炼钢 Steel-making - 02:31 5. Kaytalaw 循环 Cycle - 02:29 6. Iyirim 漩涡 Whirlpool - 02:29 7. Xaman Biy i萨满舞 Shaman Dance - 03:09 8. Kêngês 闲聊 Chatting - 02:49
Mamer 马木尔 – Kaytalaw 循环
Mamer’s signature dombra solo album Kêngistik (meaning “sky” in Kazakh), arguably one of his best-received and widest-known works to date. Apart from tracks 3, 7, 9, 11 which are Mamer’s own composition, all tracks are interpretations of tradition Kazakh tunes. Instead of showing off his skills in the high-speed type of playing typical of dombra virtuosos, Mamer plays the dombra note by note, slowly and calmly, with heavy reverb. His approach to the instrument here, as in his other solo releases, reflects Mamer’s unique and contemporary understanding of the music tradition of his people.
The album was recorded in 2010, during the same session of Iz’s album Kөlêngkê. In the studio, Mamer involved in an argument with his friend Fei when the latter asked whether Mamer had “abandoned” the Kazakh tradition for rock music. Mamer turned the light off, recorded the whole album on dombra in one go, and left his friend with his answer: “This is my kind of tradition.”
Mamer – 星空 = Sky = Kêngistik
Iz’s classic album Kөlêngkê (meaning “shadow” in Kazakh). Arguably the most well-known work of Mamer’s group projects, the album was recorded in 2010 when Iz was in the middle of transformation from a Kazakh folk group to an avant-garde music project under various contemporary influences including industrial, progressive, and psychedelic rock.
The album took almost a year to record during which Mamer decided to start all over several times. In Kөlêngkê, the band mixes the acoustic sounds of traditional Kazakh instruments, such as dombra and kobyz, with distorted electronic effects and harsh metallic percussion. Drummer Zhang Dong assembled his own kit, replacing snares and cymbals with barbed wires, a giant caged iron fan, and various metal scraps collected from factories. The result is a bricolage of dark, rusty, and confrontational industrial sounds underlying the traditional Kazakh surface, a forceful and sincere anti-world-music type of “world music”.
Mamer / vocal, dombra, bass, guitar, kobyz, jew’s harp
Nurtay / bass, vocals
Zhang Dong / drums, percussion
Recorded in 2010, Originally Released in 2011, Reissued on Cassette in 2015
IZ – 影子 = Shadow = Kөlêngkê
"On October 15th, 2017, after their performance as members of the Yosuke Yamashita Special Quartet at OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival, Shinpei Ruike, Hiroaki Mizutani and Shinnosuke Takahashi were joined by two of China’s fearless avant-garde improvisers, Lao Dan and Deng Boyu, at the Old Heaven bookstore. This jam session, simultaneously pleasurable and mind-blowing, is a definite highlight of the long-standing tradition of the bookstore improvisations during each year’s OCT-LOFT Jazz Festival and Tomorrow Festival."
Shinpei Ruike / trumpet
Lao Dan / alto saxophone, bamboo flute
Hiroaki Mizutani / bass
Deng Boyu / drums
Shinnosuke Takahashi / drums
Recorded in 2017, Released in 2018
Shinpei Ruike, Lao Dan, Hiroaki Mizutani, Shinnosuke Takahashi, Deng Boyu – Burning Bookshop
Live recording of a totally weird collaboration between flutist Lao Dan and multi-instrumentalist Li Daiguo. A new interpretation of Chinese folk instrumental music.
"The collaboration between flutist/saxophonist Lao Dan and multi-instrumentalist Li Daiguo began in 2018. The duo named themselves “Benbo’erba & Babo’erben” (奔波儿灞与灞波儿奔, BBB & BBB for short), after two minions from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. Delivering whimsical, improvisation-based melodies woven around the backbone of Li Daiguo’s quirky pipa and Lao Dan’s spiritual flute, Benbo’erba & Babo’erben take their listeners to a grotesque fairy world which presents a radical but light-hearted re-interpretation of traditional Chinese music.
In 2019, the duo released their debut on cassette titled Benbo’erba & Babo’erben at Old Heaven, a remixed live recording of their performance at the Old Heaven bookstore in December 2018. In this album, tribute is paid to Fei, owner of the Old Heaven bookstore and pivotal figure of the Chinese avant-garde scene, whose magnetic voice and demonic laughter can be heard at the very beginning of side A."
Lao Dan / chinese bamboo flute, bawu, jews harp, vocals
Li Daiguo / pipa, mbira, synth, vocals
Recorded in 2018, Released in 2019
Lao Dan & Li Daiguo – Benbo’erba & Babo’erben at Old Heaven