THE EITHER Release New Album, Electronic? Folk? China-Chic Cannot be Limited

THE EITHER Release New Album, Electronic? Folk? China-Chic Cannot be Limited

SHANGHAI, April 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Daydaydream is an EP released in collaboration with the popular mobile game Arknights. You might be tempted to relegate Daydaydream to China-Chic the first time you hear it, but the more you listen, the more it will draw you in. “Weird but pleasant”, the song has now achieved such popularity online – over 5 million PV streams on the Bilibili platform alone – that it has also sparked a trend among uploaders on Bilibili trying to cover it. THE EITHER – band and creator of Daydaydream – has been labeled “Genius” by countless ACGN communities. On January 24, the pioneering electronic band officially released its second full album, E·myth, a continuing attempt to communicate its unique vision of aesthetics. “We want to push the envelope of creation and performance with traditional and electronic music in a border-crossing and subversive way,” bandleader Zongli said. “China-Chic is very popular, but we don’t think it can be limited.”

THE EITHER: Border-crossing exploration cannot be limited

THE EITHER is an indie electronic music band founded in New York in 2017 by Chinese musicians Zongli, Jiaju and Yang. Each member’s job is clearly defined. Zongli composes, plays the keyboard, and sings (vocal electronic mix), Jiaju plays the plucked string instrument (electric Pipa), and Yang plays the bowed string instrument (electric Erhu). They each bring their own ideas to the collective and complement each other. Through the exploration of each other’s inspiration, they were eventually able to create a style that is all their own. They have described the band’s name, THE EITHER, as “an abstract description of either this one or that one”.

Each of the members have brought their own share of talent and a professional educational background and reputation to the band. After four years of undergraduate studies in Composition and Music Production and three years of postgraduate studies in Electronic Music Design at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Zongli attended New York University, where he received a master’s degree in Film Scoring. In 2016, his work Peace was performed at a summit at the U.N. Headquarters. His music was performed at New York Fashion Week for three consecutive years, and films he has scored have been selected for the Cannes and Tokyo International Film Festivals, etc. Jiaju, a graduate of Shanghai Theatre Academy, is a professional Pipa player. Jiaju has had the honor of performing at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and numerous NBA games. At the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Expo, Jiaju was invited to accompany the performance of the famous dancer Huang Doudou in the show Diversification at the closing ceremony of the 2010 World Expo. Yang, a graduate of Xi’an Conservatory of Music specializing in Erhu, has had the honor of performing at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, and Carnegie Hall among others. In 2019, Yang became the only Chinese musician to perform at Afropunk, one of the world’s most important African-American music festivals.

Tradition isn’t what drives these young people, however. They want to perform music in innovative ways and usher in new times. “I had a band and wrote songs in high school. I wanted to be a producer and a rock musician back then. But after seven years at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, I gradually became more focused and determined to be a composer,” Zongli said. “I dream of composing a kind of music that occupies a space somewhere between the mainstream and the pioneering outer edges.”

At that time, Jiaju was studying arts management in the U.S. and was working with industrial design majors to make an electric Pipa. “We all believe that there’s great potential for making traditional Chinese instruments into electronic ones,” Jiaju said. After several years of research and development, she is now no longer confined to an electric Pipa. Her latest plucked string instrument is known as a Black Marrow – a combination of the essence of Pipa and guitar.

Jiaju met Zongli when she was looking for someone to compose for electric Pipa. Their respective musical ideas immediately resonated and spawned their first mini-album, Black Silk. Audiences were appreciative of their innovative use of the Pipa and the new ideas they brought to traditional music in Black Silk, which The China Press described as “refreshing”. Ultimately, the experience would lead them to Yang and the creation of their new group, THE EITHER.

The music and fashion communities immediately recognized the band’s unique and futuristic aesthetic ideas when it first appeared on the scene. Consequently, THE EITHER has been invited on multiple occasions to perform at some of New York’s top live music venues, including the Gramercy Theater, Irving Plaza, Bowery Electric, and The Bitter End. They have also been invited to perform at the New York Fashion Week and Shanghai Fashion Week. THE EITHER’s Daydaydream, the EP produced in collaboration with the popular mobile game Arknights, has expanded the band’s reputation even wider, bringing it to an idolizing younger audience.

E·myth: THE EITHER’s reiteration of the concept that everything is multi-faceted

After the release of the second full album E·myth, THE EITHER, this four-year-old band, now has six singles, two albums, two mini albums, and several music videos under its belt. Its music is pioneering in its tonalities, musical themes, and performance styles.

Take the tone of the instrument, for instance: Chinese traditional music and modern electronic music are harmoniously integrated. Vocalist Zongli is able to mix natural vocals with electronic vocals so harmoniously as to make them sound completely natural. “My natural voice is getting more and more mechanized, while my electronic voice is getting more and more humanized. The two supposedly contradictory voices are now integrated within me. I enjoy it very much because it’s unique and interesting,” Zongli said.

E·myth is made up of 10 songs, with the odd and even numbers comparative in concept. As the band explains, the “E” in E·myth represents the odd numbers, an abstract concept that one can explain in whatever way he wants, while “myth” represents the even numbers, a concrete concept, most of which concern mythology. Joshua Valleau, a Grammy-nominated mixing & mastering engineer based in New York, is responsible for post-production on the album. His profound knowledge of musical aesthetics and unmatched mixing skills have played a major role in the fulfillment of THE EITHER’s concept for their album.

Interestingly, THE EITHER’s performance in E·myth is distinctively divided. The odd-numbered tracks employ traditional vocals, Pipa and Erhu, or electronic rock music plus vocals, Pipa and Erhu with an external effects unit. The even-numbered tracks employ futuristic electric vocals, the plucked string Black Marrow, and the bowed string Pin Xian – all truly cross-bordering integration masterpieces. “Only Drift off course, the tenth track, is an exception. Its first half is a traditional music performance while the second half is pure electronic. We integrated them like this deliberately,” THE EITHER explained. E·myth is THE EITHER’s reiteration of the concept that “The Essence is multifaceted, and the Extremity is illusory.”

In fact, pioneer artists have been pursuing cross-border integration for some time, but with audiences’ artistic senses improving, pioneer art previously enjoyed by only a limited group of people has now developed into a valuable resource worth an audience’s attention because of its uniqueness. THE EITHER’s independent style is not something made intentionally to appeal to the audience. They also do well in film scores and game scores, something known as “commercial music” to outsiders. “THE EITHER’s main goal is not to be limited. We have a very diversified style,” Yang said, “We can create scores for all kinds of films, such as serious dramas, comedies, action films, animation, sci-fi and emotional films.”

“We don’t stick to tradition or innovation. You can see from E·myth that we are rooted in traditional music and electronic music, but what we pursue is the modernization and internationalization of traditional and electronic music. We also believe that there’s sufficient space in music for us to explore the versatility of each form. If you define a form of music, you will lose the meaning of exploring it, as well as the possibility of developing it,” Zongli said.


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