“We want to discuss the urgency of now,” says Chen Sijiang, lead singer of Hiperson. Based in the southwest city of Chengdu amidst a growing population of 15-million people, the five-person band essentially evolved in a state of hyper-acceleration. On their third full-length album Bildungsroman, Hiperson’s incisive, kinetic reconstructions of post-punk, art rock, and noise manifest with bright, new sonic self-awareness.
Formed in early 2012, Hiperson’s story began at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and Chengdu Academy of Fine Arts in Xindu District—a bizarre clash of skyscraper-meets-farmland sprawl north of downtown, where cheap rent and lax rules gave students fertile ground to sow creative collaborations off-campus. “Xindu was a strange place back then,” says Chen, who moved to Chengdu from the weapons-turned-infrastructure boomtown of Deyang, “we felt we were exploring something new together in a completely unknown environment.”
成都位于中国西南部，拥有超过 1500 万人口总数。扎根于此的海朋森乐队五人正如同这座城市一样，保持高速运转的状态。“我们想讨论当下的紧迫”，乐队主唱陈思江说道。在他们第三张全长专辑《成长小说》中，海朋森采用朋克、艺术摇滚和噪音实验等元素进行了一次生动精辟的重构，在清澈明亮的音色中完成了一场自我意识的觉醒。
海朋森的故事要从 2012 年初说起，一切始于成都市中心北部新都区的两所艺术院校之间 —— 四川音乐学院和成都美术学院。在那里，高楼紧邻着荒野农田形成一幅奇特的景象。廉价的租金和宽松的规章制度，为学生在校外提供了创意与合作的契机。“当时觉得新都是一个神奇的地方。” 陈思江说道，她的老家德阳是重型机械和兵器重镇，2012 年她刚刚搬来新都区，“我们感觉身处于一个完全未知的环境，时刻都在探索新鲜的事物。”
Original members Ji Yinan—an ambitious guitarist obsessed with 4AD’s back catalog, Liu Zetong—a shy, military-academy kid with a knack for hypnotic riffs, and Chen Sijiang—an oil painting student with a peculiar reputation for drinking baijiu in class, first came together alongside a rhythm section of fellow classmates, later replaced by current drummer Wang Boqiang and bassist Wang Minghui a.k.a. Ming Ming, (formerly of electro-grrrl act The Hormones). Initially rendered as “Hi, person,” a sci-fi inspired greeting to the human race—the band quickly honed their dynamic sound of crisp, tightly packed guitars, percolating rhythms and gutsy, empowered Chinese lyrics—led by Chen’s rapid, staccato cries and Ji’s backing refrains.
乐队的初始成员有季一楠，一位沉迷于 4AD 厂牌早期音乐、踌躇满志的吉他手；刘泽同，一位有点害羞的军校学生，擅长催眠式的吉他 riff 演奏；以及陈思江，一位油画系学生，曾因为在课堂上痛饮白酒而小有名气。当时乐队其他成员由班上的同学担任，后来由现任的鼓手王博强和贝斯手王明慧 a.k.a. 王明明（也是荷尔蒙小姐乐队的现任贝斯手）顶替。海朋森最初以 “Hi, person”（嗨，人类）命名，是一句带有奇幻色彩的问候。很快，乐队打磨出自己的风格 —— 由清脆、立竿见影的吉他声效贯穿，交织着强有力的中文歌词，同时渗入犀利的律动与勇气。陈思江如赋诗般急切、顿挫的吟唱，以及季一楠等一众乐手层峦叠嶂式的铺陈，使聆听感受极为深刻。
Unlike the NYC-inflected exclusivity of the Beijing experimental scene, Chengdu’s musical landscape was a delightful scramble—the band cut their teeth everywhere from dive bars that featured punk, rap, and psychedelia acts to late-night parties across the hedonistic club scene. “We didn’t necessarily fit in musically; it was more about the people,” says Ji, who grew up devouring the CDs his mother brought home from her archivist job at the local radio station. “Everyone was playing together and working out how to do a live show.”
与严肃、深邃的北京地下场景不同，成都的音乐景观呈现出另一番令人兴奋的活跃气氛 —— 从以朋克、说唱和迷幻等类型为主的音乐现场，到享乐主义盛行的俱乐部和深夜派对，到处都是年轻音乐人初试啼声的舞台。“音乐上我们不一定能融入，但更重要的是人。” 季一楠说，他从小就花大量时间在妈妈从当地电台带回家的 CD 上面，“大家平时都在一块儿琢磨怎么做现场才够牛逼。”
Alongside the NIN-inspired-techno stomp of university friends Stolen, Hiperson was soon scouted by Cai Ming, the booker of preeminent rock venue Little Bar to play support slots for touring acts like The Gar, Nova Heart, and P.K.14—the latter which would herald their signing to Beijing-based indie label Maybe Mars via frontman and label’s A&R manager, Yang Haisong, a big fan of the young band who went on to produce their first album.
It’s been over five years since the release of their stellar debut No Need for Another History—the record that launched the band on a pivotal, get-in-the-van tour of China and Europe and cemented a devoted fanbase from Beijing to Berlin. Now, following years of performance, experimentation, and self-produced records, including the lovely Dalston-tinged bedroom pop of Four Seasons EP released via London-based label Damnably last year, Hiperson has been connecting the dots for the story of Bildungsroman—a ten-track narrative opus that brings their sound of unwavering momentum into rich 20/20 focus.
Bildungsroman tells the story of a female protagonist on her journey to connect with the outside world following the fall-out from a breakup elucidated in the explosive introduction “Spring Breeze.” Vocals are spotlighted front and center, a key instrument and omniscient storyteller that shifts through musings on consumerism, indulgence and ambition, flourishing with the cassette sing-a-long “I Am in A Period of Desperation,” spoken and screamed words of “From Birth to Present” and lush, five-part harmonies on “Found It,” a triumphant standout that features the same string synthesizer Bowie used on “Heroes.” Ji supports throughout with smooth backing vocals and shouts of allyship to the female lead.
“When we decided to record, we started to see the songs as having something coherent,” says Chen, who penned the lyrics for “Xindu People” as early as 2013. “We had a lot of discussion about the character moving from one emotional state to another, experiencing the details of her life as she changed to a new one—even now we are still trying to picture the shape.”
《成长小说》讲述了一位女生试图向外界连结的旅程。故事以《春风》中极富冲击力的自白作为开场，以一段失败恋情的自述延伸开来。聚光灯下，主唱是站在上帝视角的叙事者，思忖着消费主义、放纵以及野心。伴随《我进入了绝望的时期》里失真的磁带声效、《从出生到现在》的狂躁呢喃、《找到了》的丰富和声，整张专辑的情绪起起伏伏。在歌曲《找到了》中，乐队采用了 David Bowie 在《Heroes》里相同的弦乐合成器，季一楠以流畅的合声融入其中，烘托整首歌曲的不凡力气。
“决定要录音时，我们才开始关注这十首歌曲的连贯性。” 早在 2013 年就为《新都人》写好歌词的陈思江说道，“关于角色情绪状态的变化，我们此前探讨了很多。其实主角在情绪切换的过程中，能够体验到许多新的生活细节。即使到现在，我们仍在尝试用音乐来描述这个过程。”
Recorded over eight days at Hansa Tonstudio, the birthplace of Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, Bildungsroman is a “bounce back” to the abrasive 8-track tape distortion on their 2018 sophomore She Came Back from the Square, which was captured in live takes from their tiny sweatbox practice room in downtown Chengdu. “After recording the last album, we knew we wanted to do something more hi-fi,” says Chen. It’s a sentiment echoed by Ji—the pair recently returning from London to Chengdu after two years of sonic arts and painting study.
“I think the key influence [from my studies] was how to change myself to a listener of the sounds, not a producer or a creator of the sounds,” says Ji, whose fascination with the meditative teachings of composer Pauline Oliveros had a deep influence on the sonic structure of Bildungsroman—embellished with instruments from sunny-side-up celestas, to big-room timpani, to absolute silence.
专辑《成长小说》与 David Bowie 柏林三部曲诞生于同一个地方 —— 汉莎工作室（Hansa Tonstudio），录制时间持续了八天。此次 “卷土重来” 距离上一张失真质感质感的专辑《她从广场回来》仅两年的时间。不同的是，《她从广场回来》在成都市中心一间小练习室现场录制而成，“自从上一张专辑之后，我们尝试去做了一些高保真（hi-fi）的声音。” 陈思江说道，季一楠也表示认同。在伦敦进行了为期两年的声音艺术和绘画专业的学习，两人最近回到了成都。
“留学期间，我最大的启发是如何将音乐人的身份转变成声音的聆听者，而不是一味的制作或创造。” 季一楠说，他对美国作曲家 Pauline Oliveros 醍醐灌顶般的授课深深着迷，继而影响了《成长小说》的音质结构。专辑中出现了许多不同以往的声音要素，例如清脆明亮的钢片琴（celesta）点缀其中、营造大场面的定音鼓，甚至还有全然寂静的声音留白。
The listening experience is a rollercoaster of rising suspense and emotional catharsis, escalating notably on the motorik, call-to-arms “Daily March”—a near nine-minute build of impassioned cries (“fight, fight, fight!”) and ricocheting guitar spars, bolstered by a militant snare roll that bursts into soaring release with a joyous polyphony of synth swirls and shimmering solos. “[The song] is a response to what we feel in the urban environment,” says Chen, “how the body reacts to this living rhythm.”
“I Don’t Want Another Life” peaks in the epilogue, a powerful and melancholic denial of reincarnation that proves the band’s penchant for tearjerking, anthemic shoutalongs has not faded since the days of their first demo “You Don’t Sacrifice Your Innocence Here.”
整张专辑是一次过山车般的体验，翻过情绪的山脉，夹杂着各种悬念与不确定性。在歌曲《每天的行军》中，乐队采用 4/4 拍行军鼓点（Motorik），揉捏将近 9 分钟的呐喊（“战斗，战斗，战斗”）和摇摆不定的吉他扫弦，直至情绪上升至顶端，又在最终星光淋漓的吉他独奏和堆砌的合成器复调中痛快释放。“这首歌反映了我们置身于城市的感受。”陈思江说，“是我们的身体对这种生活节奏的反应。”
While most Chinese artists choose to steer clear of any potentially sensitive content, Hiperson’s holistic artistic vision has birthed an alternate “new band power system” for the album to inhabit—donning dark-grey zhongshan suits and circulating their own coin currency ahead of the upcoming album release tour in September. “The ideas in these songs are not static,” says Ji. The band looks to historical signifiers as springboards for “continuous practice and discussion.”
Dressing like austere state leaders and performing an interpretive dance in front of a washed-out orange curtain (see: the music video for “Our Ballad”) may seem subversive, or even satirical to the uninitiated, but for Hiperson, their motives are in earnest. Observant and aware, they work to show and not tell—more interested in exploring art as a dialogue, rather than a vehicle for any overt lyrical directives.
“We see ourselves as story starters,” says Chen, “we want to start the story, and let people write the rest themselves.”
Hiperson China Tour 2020
9/4 Guiyang | JIN
9/5 Chongqing | NUTS
9/12 Xi’an | Aperture
9/19 Shanghai | YuYinTang
9/20 Hangzhou | MAO
9/24 Guangzhou | TU 凸
9/25 Fuzhou | We·Maker
9/26 Xiamen | Realive
9/27 Shenzhen | B10
10/9 Nanjing | OLA
10/10 Beijing | Yue Space
10/17 Changsha | VOX
10/18 Wuhan | VOX
10/24 Chengdu | A Flame Art Center Hall 1
穿得像个严肃的国家领导人，干净的橙红色幕布前翩翩起舞（见《我们的歌谣》音乐视频），这在外界看来可能颇有颠覆的含义、甚至是讽刺。但对海朋森来说，出发点却是无比认真。他们将历史符号作为 “持续讨论与实践” 的出发点，用音乐的方式去表达敏锐的察觉，而非挑明 —— 更多的，是去探索艺术与人的对话，而不让音乐成为刻意抒情的工具。
9/4 贵阳 | 劲
9/5 重庆 | 坚果
9/12 西安 | 光圈
9/19 上海 | 育音堂音乐公园
9/20 杭州 | MAO
9/24 广州 | TU 凸空间
9/25 福州 | 唯美客
9/26 厦门 | Realive
9/27 深圳 | B10
10/9 南京 | 欧拉艺术空间
10/10 北京 | 乐空间
10/17 长沙 | VOX
10/18 武汉 | VOX
10/24 成都 | 正火艺术中心 1 号馆