Coming straight from the vaults of the Obama years (remember those?), here are two fresh, fast & loud melting-pot blasters from defunct San Francisco “Canto-core” duo Say Bok Gwai. Chinese Jesus and TRIO were recorded prior to Say Bok Gwai’s disbanding in 2010, simpler times when more people were less mired in a constant state of anger and anxiety. Well, desperate cultural times call for desperate cultural measures, and for Say Bok Gwai’s Alex Yeung (also of internationally distributed anarcho-hardcore unit Conquest for Death) that means unearthing these long-buried, screamed screeds on “Chinese and American culture, society, politics, history and identity”.
Well, all of these things are in a pretty fuckin’ intense high-pressure mashup at the present moment, aren’t they? Chinese Jesus presents four tracks bouncing from purely pentatonic technical shred-muck (“Kiss The Goat”), to some discomfiting smooth jazz/no-wave riffing (“Do Some Job!”, “Jazz Guitars For Few”), to, finally, doom creeping — wafting, really — like bong coughs shared around the room on closing track “Stoner Chino”, which might have the slowest drum solo in recorded human history.
All that is left in the dust on TRIO, a more straightforward weirdo-grind long-player. This one’s recommended for multiple plays in immediate succession next time you’re power-scrolling through your fury-signaling Twitter echofeed. “Fuck Your Ancient Chinese Secret” and “Culture Not Borders” feel more aggressively necessary than ever, even if they were hastily recorded the better part of a decade ago, and the one sonic reprieve we get on TRIO — a brief ska interlude on mid-album track “Lazier” — is kinda the most downer part. “Lazier from lack of hunger… is this what America has to offer?” Yeung asks between Cantonese polemics.
Guess we’ll find out soon enough.