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Song of the day – 440: Skip Skip Benben (something wonderful from Beijing)

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Skip Skip Benben

I really, really need to be getting on with my PhD final seminar but I can’t let this go unremarked.

Skip Skip Benben remind me a little of Tenniscoats, they have a similar wonderful unobtrusiveness and quietened sound. Different, obv. It’s the sense of underplayed grandeur that lifts this song. The vocals keep building up and letting go. Magical.

I know as little about Skip Skip Benben as you. This is what YouTube has to say:

Skip Skip Benben are a patchwork of different bands and different genres, with Monkey (猴子) on drums, Steven Zhou (周乃仁) from Birdstriking and ½ Heavy Korean on Bass and Benben (斑班 ) from Freckles, Boyz & Girl and Carsick Cars on guitar and vocals. Our meeting with the band was preceded by weeks of anticipation, for a lot of which we didn’t even know the name of this brilliant new[ish] Beijing act.

Back on the 18th October 2011, we walked into a surprise show from Beijing indie stalwarts P.K.14, at D-22 in Beijing’s university district. Shortly after arriving, our friend Josh of China music and culture blog, pangbianr slid out from behind the bar to say hello. In passing, he mentioned that he knew a Taiwanese folk singer called Benben that he wanted to introduce us to later that evening, “I think she’d be great for your DaBaoGe project,” he said.

In the haze of the beer, smoke and distorted guitars, it was another two visits in as many weeks, to the now defunct D-22 venue, before we pieced together the story behind Skip Skip Benben: an appealing blend of alt-folk, psychedelic indie rock and down-tempo, tropicana grooves. Off-stage, Benben is intensely shy and we tried, in vain to convince her to venture outside the crocheted-kitch security of her nostalgically decorated apartment. We could hardly blame her though; it was easily one of the coldest days we’d seen in 2011.

One song. One take. Skip-skip done, done. We reviewed the sound and it was…magical. In fact, we’ve had the audio take from this recording looping over and over in our music library, listening to it every day since that frigid morning in December. We hope you enjoy it too.

Check out more knick-knacks from the band on their blog.

If you’re in Beijing or Shanghai, you can catch them live at one of their upcoming shows:
25th Feb in Beijing with The Pains Of Being Pure Heart @ 愚公移山 (Yu Gong Yi Shan)
8th Mar in Shanghai with Next Year’s Love @ 育音堂 (Yuyintang)

Andy & Charles
DaBaoGe

It’s nice they’re playing with a name band from abroad (see above), but it’s clear who has the honour of playing with who.

Here’s something else I’ve just found.

Here are some lyrics I like.

you could always be like a shooting star
never will said good bye
you chasing childrenhoof for thousand miles
couldn’t get ? or a smile
because the cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke
cigarette you smoke

And here’s the MySpace.

A tug of the ET beard to Shaun Tenzenmen for this tip.

One Response to Song of the day – 440: Skip Skip Benben (something wonderful from Beijing)

  1. Tom R February 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Oh my God – this is BREATHTAKING, Everett.

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