Tag Archives: Alex Zhang Hungtai

Album of the Day: Alex Zhang Hungtai, “Divine Weight”

In 2014, Alex Zhang Hungtai put his Dirty Beaches project to sleep with an emotionally heavy final chapter, switching from dirty, lo-fi pop to expansive epics heavy on spiritual saxophone and viola. In the four years that followed, he’s split his time between working as a free jazz saxophone sideman, and working out his demons over intimate keyboard arrangements. Divine Weight brings the two Zhangs together, digitally reworking “failed” (in his own words) saxophone compositions into brooding oceanic ambience that’s been processed out of recognition. Opening track “Pierrot” scatters mournful notes from the man’s horn into a cavernous echo chamber, while lonely piano chords bristle underneath. It’s a compelling facade, Zhang playing up his role as the lonely sufferer namechecked in the track’s title, splitting his turmoil into scattered sax. Elsewhere on the record, Zhang moves even more slowly, recalling Popol Vuh at their keyboard choir peak.

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2017: The Year in Photos

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A look back at our favorite photos of the year.

Bandcamp is home to amazing musicians all over the world, so it’s only natural that we’d want Bandcamp Daily to feature independent photographers who also have unique and exciting perspectives. The process behind a photoshoot with an artist often requires multiple coordinated efforts, and can take place under stressful conditions, with tight time limits. It’s a credit to our photographers that none of these pressures are evident in their final resonate images. It’s always our goal with our original photography to elevate the message of the musicians we profile, and to allow for a meaningful collaboration between talented musicians and photographers. We reached out to some of the photographers we worked with over the course of the past year and asked them to share their behind-the-scenes thoughts and secrets. These are our favorite photoshoots of the year.

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After Retiring the “Dirty Beaches” Name, Alex Zhang Hungtai Goes Experimental

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Photos by Sean Marc Lee

There are few musicians better suited for our rapidly evolving modern society than Alex Zhang Hungtai. Best known for his lo-fi acid-crooning project Dirty Beaches, the Canadian-born, Taiwanese-rooted, Chinese-speaking U.S. resident is candid about how lucky he was when his album Badlands suddenly attracted attention in 2011. “I was just a dishwasher working multiple dead end jobs and then suddenly I was touring Europe,” says Zhang (in Chinese, the surname comes before the first name—his full Chinese name is Zhang Hungtai).

Today, he’s busier than ever, playing saxophone in a recent episode of Twin Peaks, and touring with Love Theme, a new project released via experimental producer Helm’s blossoming record label, ALTER. “For me, there was always an element of curiosity about Alex’s music,” explains London-based Helm, aka Luke Younger. “He was always one of these artists that seemed omnipresent to me—mainly as we have so many mutual friends, but also because of how prolific he is.”

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