East Asian Studies: Highlighting eMusic labels from Japan, China, & Korea

I’m going to wager that at least China & Korea are geographic holes in the collections of music lovers gathered here.  In today’s edition of searching for lemons to make lemonade of eMusic’s remaining selection, I want to highlight some labels from East Asia I’m really excited to explore.  The two main ones that prompted this list I just discovered yesterday:  StreetVoice from Taiwan and Magic StrawBerry Sound from Korea.  Together, they’re over 800 titles worth of well produced pop, rock, electronic, folk, and just about every genre and will probably never show up on the site’s highly constrained “recommended for you” section.

From days of yore hosting a Sino-Japanese alternative music show on KUCI, I can recommend good albums and bands from StreetVoice, but the rest beckon starts from scratch.  My Chinese/Korean/Japanese alternative music subsites are works in progress but I hope helpful for exploring beyond the confines of eMusic.

Chinese - StreetVoice; WinGo Music Media; Icing Culture.  http://www.omnifoo.info/pages/Alternative%20Chinese.html  

(Recommended Mainland entry points:  Second Hand Roses - either the “Used Rose” LP if you’re feeling frisky or the 99-cent “Lover” EP offer rock that has been compared to Frank Zappa (if only b/c it’s wild and crazy in a way that doesn’t lend itself to easy comparison.  It’s not far off.)  Kawa - “The Route Out of Yunnan” offers a take on reggae that’s worth trying.  Wang Wen albums (there’s several on eMusic) are serviceable post-rock.  Not sure what Zhaoze (The Swamp) are doing on their live album, but their studio work alternates between alt. rock with synths to post-rock on traditional instruments.  The three albums by ITSOGOO are the Mainland’s finest in jazzy hip-hop.  I’ve got a loooong way to go before I can recommend stuff from Taiwan but it’s nice not to have to cross an ocean for the time being.  I at least can say Cicada of Taiwan could be called light new classical.)

Korean - Magic StrawBerry Sound; YOUNG,GIFTED&WACK; dingn\dnts; Greater Fools; Studio Broccoli; SUGARRECORDS; The Valiant; d3ip; Ruby Record; STEEL FACE; illoYlo; 2story; Cosmos Hippie; MODERNBOY ENT.; vomrecords; tearliner; ttoc; Casker; peripericompany; NHJO HYENRO; Diatology; YG Entertainment; Jarip; In the endless zanhyang we are; GMM; Cogason; B-Records; Oh Hee Jung; Night Riding; WISUE Music; Smalltown; Bluestream; LEEXLEE; Woozus    (Typing random HanGul yields results, though most are just one or two artists.)

Japanese - Chimera Music; Takeo; NATURE BLISS; Space Dog! ; S.C.S; Hypnotic Room Japan; DiY Gang Entertainment; White Paddy Mountain.  (Typing random katakana only seems to yield trash comps.  Japanese artists seem to be much better integrated into the catalogs of Western labels.  It could be because there’s no noticeable drop-off in quality, whereas I’d still give Korean and Chinese bands a bit of a handicap for rocking in hard places.)  http://www.omnifoo.info/pages/DSAonKUCI/Links%20Japanalt.html

If anyone knows more like these above on eMusic, please let me know!

Chinese pop singles labels (not recommended, but hear for yourself) - 酝星文化; 嗨库文化; 北京咚吧嗒文化有限公司; 成都塔堡文化传播有限公司


  • Just picked up Second Hand Roses, Lover, based on "sounds like Zappa." just listened through it, some moments are in fact Zappa-esque.

    What do you think of Gol Dolan? I picked up their Constantine Summons album; tagged
    new age," sometimes described as "dark ambient" although it did not seem that dark to me.

  • @Plong42 I'd only sampled their Pino album, but anything that's crosslisted as Ambient/New Age/Hard Rock/Alt. Rock at the same time deserves a listen just for the apparent contradictions.  I'll wishlist the one you mention and try to pick it up when the month's credit kicks in.
  • @omnifoo to a large degree thanks to you, I now have more than a year's worth of downloads on my Wish List. Please do keep it up!
  • @peterfrederics always appreciate your encouragement and receptiveness.  If the site can hang on to what it's got now, I think we and hopefully more folks can too.
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