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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #332: Howie Lee

 
By on Monday, 26th January 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

The deadmau5 vs. Paris Hilton feud and equipment aside, electronic dance music (EDM) could easily be argued as globally the most level playing field of all current musical genres. All EDM artists, no matter how many of there you are in your group, if you’re male or female or where you’re from, you’ve got one goal: get as many people out there to dance to your music, whether it be on a sweaty dancefloor, down the street while they have you in their headphones, or in the privacy of their own bedrooms while listening to you on speakers.

Moreover, except for maybe the artists with swelled heads and swelled egos, the request for and the process of creating remixes is considered a sign of respect. Up-and-coming EDM producer and DJ Howie Lee might call Beijing home, but after he got a call in 2012 from none other than Snoop Lion (the Rastafarian formerly known as the rapper Snoop Dogg) to do a remix of his new reggae track ‘La La La’, the size of Lee’s world and consciousness grew, and the “future music of downtown Beijing” as Lee calls his style is and will be all the better for it.

Having been heavily influenced by the UK bass music scene, Lee left Beijing for school, working on and graduating with a master’s degree in Sound Arts from the London College of Communication. He used his time there to further experiment with the type of bass music sounds that brought him to blighty in the first place, recording the shuffles and frantic beats of ‘Borderless Shadows’ in what SmartShanghai deemed as #2 on their list of best mainland China albums “a sublime rhythmic mix on the headier side of intelligent bass music” that Lee created for his qualifications.

Now back in China, Lee has no doubt taken what he learnt in London and the new ideas he brought back to come up with some truly inventive music in the last quarter of 2014. His most recent release, December 2014’s ‘Swallow’ EP released on Shanghai’s arty SVBKVLT label, is a three-pack of rhythmic goodness. You can barely take a breath listening to first two tracks ‘Garret Jungle’ and ‘Flea’; one can only assume from the song titles and the title of the release that the general idea was to follow the frenetic motion of these creatures. If I’m correct, this is done really well, and the idea that anyone would be able to recreate these tracks live under the microscope at SXSW 2015 is a challenge, but one I am sure Lee is keen to take on when he appears in Austin in March.

 
 
 

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