A Hippo Wildly Grinds Its Teeth Bank Side (Mao Dou + Lu Chen)

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General Information

Artist: Mao Dou (毛豆) + Lu Chen (陆晨) of Top Floor Circus
Title: 河马在岸边疯狂地磨牙 (hémǎ zài ànbiān fēngkuángdi móyá) / A Hippo Wildly Grinds Its Teeth Bank Side
Release Date: 2008, January
Label: mule Records
Type: CDDA
Catalog No.:
Language:


Track Listing

CD 1

  1. 陆晨 (Lu Chen) - 发条陆晨 [08'04]
  2. 左明良 - 散落 [01'37]
  3. B6 - My Infirm Furniture [04'17]
  4. 驴 - Clock [01'44]
  5. 孙孟晋 (Sun Mengjin) - 抒情的单行道 [06'59]
  6. Torturing Nurse - Inge [10'04]

CD 2

  1. 薄雾 [32'43]


Reviews

  • that's Beijing Magazine Online, Venus Lau, May 16, 2008

This Top Floor Circus spin-off has been brewing for years, says guitarist/vocalist Mao Dou, who considers this album “three years late.” Mao is joined by his Top Floor bandmate, vocalist Lu Chen, for this double-disc project that comes in two parts. Collaborations with other Shanghai artists (including Torturing Nurse, B6 and music critic Sun Mengjin) who were offered the duo’s poems to interpret in their own style, are followed by a poetry recital from Mao and Lu themselves, done with lyrical xiangsheng-like melodrama.

The experimental tour-de-force includes tracks like Torturing Nurse’s Inge, a stream of grainy noises drilling into your ears like a barn-full of audio, and Fatiao Lu Chen, an eight-minute repetition of the Beatles’ Yesterday as sung by Lu. Although mild, this track does a good job at mocking formulaic pop music, making the expressive pop hit as tedious as a piece of chewed gum.

Hardcore Top Floor fans may be disappointed with the absence of their heroes’ favorite lowbrow interests (like the group’s trademark slurred Shanghainese slang, or their penchant for farting on stage), and possibly even betrayed by the appropriation of intellectuals like German director Werner Herzog (sampling parts of Even Dwarfs Started Small). But lest we forget, Top Floor Circus, though disguised in farce, has actually always been a bit highbrow. After all, their name was inspired by one of the highest highbrows, Kafka.

Besides, the music itself, when compared to the beautifully-printed booklet filled with poetry and artsy illustrations, already seems like a side dish to the real purpose of this project: indulging Lu and Mao’s literary ambitions.

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