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Thursday, December 14

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Transmission
« Xounds! It's Xome!! At Elastic!!! TONIGHT!!!! Weather Report »

Concert Tue Aug 21 2007

Beijing Blanket Bingo

What's all this about "cultural imperialism," eh? Okay, granted -- there's been no shortage of exoticist fetishization afoot in the ping-ponging of intercultural exchange over the years. But fortunately for all involved, the global village does provide for two-way traffic. Case in point: the Chinese surf-rock combo Red Chamber. When they first started up in the 1960s, the music they played was most likely not what Chairman Mao had in mind for toeing the "party" line of the Cultural Revolution. Hail, hail decadent and politically-incorrect Western influences! And "Bali Hai" while you're at it.

Red Chamber (not to be confused with these gals) reportedly went on a long hiatus sometime in the 1970s, eventually resurfacing over two decades later to give the whole thing another go. The recent CD Red Chamber Brings You The Mao Sound, released on the locally-based Far East Audio label, gives a good taste of the band's repertoire. The disc features one track from a vintage bootleg cassette by the band, another from a live performance from a festival in Penang circa 1971, and five others recorded during a more recent set cranked out in the studios of WZRD in 2005.

While a few tunes sport occasional, fleeting moments where the musical traditions of the band's homeland sneak in, there's largely no sense of wonky east-west mutational "fusion" to be found. It's an elegantly rocking affair, one that recalls The Ventures at their best. And when they swerve slightly off-path, the rewards are plentiful. "Edo Lullaby" features some expansive guitarwork that's distinctly psychedelic in its spaciousness. And dig the Link Wray-styled bluesy strut undergirding the otherwise brisk "Flushing Face, Smiling Heart (Slow Soul)."

Or just go see Red Chamber for yourself when they will be playing at The Hideout this Thursday evening. Chicago lounge-folk-popsters Can.Ky.Ree open. 9pm show. Tickets $7 in advance, $8 the day of. 1354 W. Wabansia.

[mp3]: Red Chamber - "Flushing Face, Smiling Heart (Slow Soul)"
[mp3]: Red Chamber - "Apricot"

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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