The musical genre called ‘shoegaze’, which emerged in the UK and Ireland during the late 1980s, has enjoyed something of a second wind lately, at times in the unlikeliest of places. In the Chinese-speaking world, where it is known as zi shang (or “self-appreciation”), the form has inflected the musical landscapes of cities as diverse as Taipei, Beijing, Xi’an, Hong Kong, and Shaoxing with the genre’s hallmark mix of indistinct vocals, ethereal guitar distortion, noisy dissonance, and effervescent melodies.
For Shanghai-based band RUBUR—now two albums deep with a third on the way—the genre continues to offer a creative outlet for exploring a range of cultural influences and big ideas. Their self-released first album, True Bypass, garnered praise from fans and critics alike as well as added a certain layer of art school aesthetic to the Shanghai shoegaze scene. The video for the song “Every Me,” for example, is a trippy slow burn replete with sumptuous sonic textures, gossamer-like vocals, and copious amounts of gold glitter.
20 世纪 80 年代末，在英国和爱尔兰出现的一种名为“盯鞋”的音乐流派，最近又掀起了一股新风——且在最不可能出现的地方。在以“自赏”着称的华语世界里，这种形式把台北、北京、西安、香港和绍兴等城市的音乐景观，混合了模糊的人声、空灵的吉他、嘈杂的不和谐音和欢快明亮的旋律。
Their latest offering, 2019’s Evening Sitdown Vision (the title comes from a line in Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Sunflower Sutra”), sees the band confidently navigating their first full-length album, with brooding reverb and searching lyrics rubbing shoulders with sun-soaked guitars and pop melodies over the course of ten tracks. From stratospheric heights to subterranean depths, it is a harrowing journey of Jekyll-and-Hyde proportions that leaves listeners reborn to the thrilling pleasures of “sinogaze.”
2019 年，他们的最新作名为《Evening Sitdown Vision》（中译《日落景象》，专辑名来自艾伦·金斯堡的诗作《向日葵箴言》中的一句诗），在这首张长专辑中，RUBUR 游刃有余地进行十首歌曲的创作，让带着沉思的混响、犀利的歌词，与明朗的吉他声和朗朗上口的旋律相互融合。宛如从平流层的高度到地下深处，这是一个可怕的“变身之旅”，让听众在惊心动魄的“国产盯鞋”（即“sinogaze”）中获得重生。
“Betenden Hande,” the album’s propulsive opener, is a kaleidoscope of moods and textures, alternating between shimmering chords, a swirling baseline, and an almost preternatural belief in music’s power to resurrect the past. Its title also alludes to sixteenth-century German artist Albrecht Dürer’s famous drawing “Betende Hände” (or “Praying Hands”).
“The song tells a different story from the original artwork,” says bassist Guagua. “The drawing relates to Dürer’s brother, who couldn’t pursue the same artistic path, but the song is more about a kind of metaphysical longing and a delayed response that might never come.”
这张专辑的开篇第一曲《Betenden Hande》像是一个情绪和质感的万花筒，在闪烁的和弦之间交替着，一个旋转的基线，以及对音乐复兴之力的、近乎不可思议的信仰。曲名还暗指 16 世纪德国艺术家丢勒（Albrecht Dürer）的名画《祈祷之手》。
Listen to select tracks from Evening Sitdown Vision below:
点击即可试听几首来自《Evening Sitdown Vision》的精选歌曲::
Originally formed in 2014, the band coalesced around Shanghai. Although it was recorded in October 2017, Evening Sitdown Vision took another year and a half to be released, partly due to a line-up change (their drummer Xiaosa left). Current drummer Anran joined at the beginning of 2018, with Guagua, Shanghai guitarist Xiaoxue and Maojia on guitar and vocals rounding out the quartet.
According to RUBUR, Evening Sitdown Vision is built around the concept of eternity in an instant, a moment in which the ephemeral and the eternal co-exist, merging past, present, and future. Citing things such as a sunset or a phantasm, they draw inspiration from poetry and philosophy, which inform their approaches to both musical composition and songwriting.
The lyrics for “Luo Ge Si” (alternatively titled as “Logos”) are inspired by lines from pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, Guagua reveals. With a plaintive melody and discordant guitars backed by Guagua’s spoken and sung vocals, it is also one of the album’s most urgent tracks.
乐队最初成立于 2014 年，在上海相聚。《日落景象》这张专辑虽然是在 2017 年 10 月录制的，但又花了一年半的时间才得以发行，部分原因是他们的鼓手小萨离开了。2018 年初，现任鼓手岸然加入了乐队，挂挂、上海吉他手薛昊阳、猫加则负责演奏吉他和人声四重奏。
据 RUBUR 说，《日落景象》建立在“瞬间即永恒”的概念上，在这个瞬间，短暂和永恒共存，融合了过去、现在和未来。他们从诗歌和哲学中汲取灵感，以赋予音乐和歌曲的创作。
In “Talking Bread” and “Wu Mian De Meng” (alternatively titled as “Sleepless Dream”), the mood lightens considerably. Backed by jangly guitars and breezy drumming, Maojia sings in Chinese:
In hazy dreams, we float like melodies
The summer wind caresses us like strands of silk
With the coming dawn, we can’t hide from these converging dreams
In this moment, our dark thoughts are quieted, not much else to say
Elsewhere, a sense of ephemerality returns, as on “Huiyou” (alternatively titled as “Migrate”), a song more spoken than sung in words more poetic than prosaic.
Envelopes unravel like rivers, but they dry within the year
In my reflection, I see someone else
Pour one for the night sky and let the stars come crashing down
Drink it down but don’t forget your face
晨曦已破 梦醒交错 怎么躲
此时尘落 念影稀薄 如何说
And a few minutes into the mesmerizing, eight-minute closing track “Intentionally Blank,” the band ask searchingly: “Will every prayer be accepted? / Will every wish be resigned?” But the song slows to an abrupt halt. A soliloquy sampled from Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series The Young Pope can be heard, a spiritual intercession of sorts, before the music flares up and burns out as the album ends where it began, lost in a circle of illusion and longing as white noise fades into silence.
RUBUR’s ability to absorb different cultural undercurrents is one of the band’s real strengths, and their openness to a range of influences will continue to draw listeners into a world without clear borders and a future intentionally left blank.
而在几分钟的迷幻过后，在持续 8 分钟的结束曲《Intentionally Blank》中，乐队尖锐地发问：“每个祈祷都会被接受吗？每个祝愿都会被听从吗？”但它缓缓地收尾了。可以听到《年轻的教皇》中的一段独白，就像是一种精神上的代祷，在专辑结束时，音乐爆发一空且燃烧殆尽，它的起始之处，消失在幻想和渴望的圆圈里，而白色的噪音，则渐渐被寂静吞没。
Contributor: Brian Haman
Photographers: Yulu, Jerry, and Oscar
Chinese Translation: Chen Yuan
Images Courtesy of RUBUR