Fat City from Beijing is the now-defunct duo of guitarist Ma Meng and vocalist/synth noodler/misc-noise-device artist Zhu Wenbo. This, their self-titled crowning achievement, almost got lost to oral history. It documents a brief but intense period of no-wave/kraut revival that percolated up from the Beijing underground for a white-hot stretch circa 2009-2011. It was recorded onto tape in the basement studio of fellow kosmische explorers Li Weisi and Li Qing of Soviet Pop in November 2011 for cassette release on Rose Mansion Analog, at the time Beijing’s standard bearer for lo-fi grit tunes. Sadly, RMA soon after ceased to exist, and these tracks sat collecting virtual dust until being dug up and digitally mixed/mastered by P.K.14 vocalist Yang Haisong at the end of last year. Like the recording itself, Fat City’s physical release plays with the analog/digital divide: the packaging is a brutally spare 7-inch sleeve containing a plain-black-sleeved CDR and typewritten lyrics insert. It was produced in an indefinite edition of maybe around thirty copies, given away to friends and family as a final goodbye to a band and an era fondly remembered by the aforementioned 30 people.
The members of Fat City are still around: Ma Meng will show up to the occasional gig, and Wenbo still runs the weekly experimental music series Zoomin’ Night. But the band’s dead as dirt. Go here and name your own price for the full download to get a taste of what they were all about. I guarantee that whatever money you choose to spend will go directly into printing flyers for shows that will be attended by mostly friends of the bands playing.