Alpine Decline descend once again from their outer-tier Beijing smokestack to deliver Life’s a Gasp, their seventh long-player and deepest trip yet into the city’s dankest corners. “Pre-Columbian Artifact,” the album’s debut single and opening track, kickstarts the oblivion to follow with a lilting modular synth crescendo crunching straight into business, locking from the first few seconds into the band’s signature propulsive psych-groove. Longtime band collaborator and producer Yang Haisong — himself a star of the underground scene via PK14, the art rock band he fronts — pins the tune to earth with a grounded turn on bass.
In the video for “Pre-Columbian Artifact,” an extraterrestrial coven falls to earth — suburban-industrial Beijing sprawl, specifically — and promptly colonizes its harshest zones. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all. Apocryphal images from a tentative archaeology of the future flit by at 100 frames/sec, recomposing the attenuated pyres billowing relentlessly from the heart of “the world’s factory” into a song of sudden enlightenment, hitting you like a burst of sun through a hole in your skull.
Life’s a Gasp was released May 1 via Maybe Mars Records. Stream/buy it here, and watch the video for “Pre-Columbian Artifact” — directed/edited by Maya Eva Gunst Rudolph and shot on luscious 16mm by Benny Shaffer — below.