During the World Expo last year in Shanghai, a lot of musicians, bands, artists and performers were brought over by various pavilions to show of the artistic talent of their country. A lot of these performances and events were very poorly promoted (we went to see Herbie Hancock in a 1/3 full venue), but the two countries which put the most effort in to really connecting with the Chinese audience and actually tried to contribute to the scene were Germany and Finland. The German pavilion did a lot of work directly with Chinese artists, having B6 curate a stage at the expo for a month, and also the Hip Hop Stuntzpunkt project (which i was involved in) working with Uprooted Sunshine and many other Chinese MCs, producers, break dancers and graf artists. The Finnish pavilion did something a little different, and one evening in May they took over the whole of XingFu Road (a small street with 3 respected alternative music venues) with a whole host of Finnish underground music, including Jimi Tenor, Desto, Clouds, Villa Nah, Jori Hulkkonen, Top Billin and Renaissance Man. It was a fantastic event, and seeing Jimi-Tenor perform at Logo was definately one of my musical highlights from 2010!
Sub-Culture present: Clouds and Desto – Poster designed by Gregor Koerting
Of course, once Sub-Culture found out about the Finn-fest, we definitely had to get involved and a few days after the XingFu Road event, Clouds and Desto joined Sub-Culture in what was one of our favourite events of last year. Clouds played a full live set with Tiiu on vocals, and then Desto and Dead-O got on the decks unleashing dub-plate after dub-plate of killer tunes! At the end of the night, Shanghai based Tibetan vocalist Lamu got on the mic with Dead-O and the two of them blew everyone away. The party ended back on XingFu Road, but this time in a park with carrier bags full of beer. Warning, if your going to party with Dead-O, get ready for a late one!
After we’d recovered from the event, the Finnish crew still had a few days left in Shanghai so we had the pleasure of hanging out with them and taking them around. Dead-O and Desto came to Udance studio with us to record a set for our radio show, we spent an afternoon with Jimi, Clouds and Desto at MoGanShan Road art district and last, but by no means least, we spent an evening in the studio with ChaCha, Desto, Jimi, Clouds and one half of Villa Nah!
The studio session was a lot of fun, with Desto laying down some drums, Jimi (who had brought some dope synths) laying down some keys and bass, Clouds layering in some of their trademark atmospheric weirdness and, of course, ChaCha blessing the mic with her sweet vocals. At the end of the session, Jimi, Desto and Clouds each took away everything that was recorded that day and returned to Finland to work on their own versions of the song and a couple of months later ‘Time Bird’ was born.
‘Time Bird’ comes in 3 versions, a Jimi Tenor version, a Clouds version and a Desto version. Each version is very different, but equally as solid as the others. They each use some of Desto’s killer drum patterns and synth work, Jimi’s bass and flute skills and Clouds atmospherics, and each version uses ChaCha’s vocals in full. The vocals, in Chinese of course, are about a ‘Time Bird’ flying away too fast and ChaCha begging it to slow down, the time slipping through our fingertips and our youth quickly disappearing into the past.
Since returning to Finland, Desto and Jimi have kept in close contact and have been in the studio a lot together. The fruits of their labour are now quickly upon us, and their first 12″ on Oneman’s 502 Reconrds is about to be released, including the Desto version of ‘Time Bird’! The track can be heard at the end of my Kongkrete Bass Mix and also on the Red Bull Music Academy site. Big up to the whole of the Finnish crew, and also Oneman for getting this great tune out there to the masses!