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    Artwork by Felicia Chen, Kieran Loftus and Tianzhuo Chen

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Uncle 02:13
Ylva's Theme 03:59
(Enter) Hell 04:26
Nutz 01:30
My Fortress 08:29


In a global landscape that increasingly prioritizes individuality over collaborative expression, TRANCE is a distinctive project. Initiated by Chinese multidisciplinary artist Tianzhuo Chen, best known for his work with Asian Dope Boys, TRANCE is as artistically amorphous as its constantly evolving line-up, that fluctuates as it shimmers across borders and time-zones. In 2019, the project was demoed in Beijing as part of a solo exhibition from Chen, a 12-hour durational performance that examined the altered states of living and dying and pondered the sounds, sensations, bodies and spaces that notion might suggest. On hold for three years due to COVID-19 restrictions, TRANCE was eventually premiered in Hamburg at the Kampnagel Theatre last year where it was presented as a surreal three-day ceremony. This time around the Trance Band was made up of Berlin-based noisemaker and vocalist Dis Fig, Indonesia's Gabber Modus Operandi, musician and MC KIM KHAN, guitarist and engineer Felix-Florian Tödtloff, and Vancouver-based percussionist and producer CITY. Chen directed the show, channeling each artist's unique energy into an alliance that highlighted their independent skills while pushing towards ideas that simply couldn't have been realized discretely.

"Entrancing" is a live documentation of that incendiary Hamburg session, powered by the performative fireworks that came from having the project halted for two years before it was allowed to burst into life once more. Just as with previous iterations of TRANCE, the space was terraformed into an alien landscape that allowed the collective to enact a carnivalesque display that was tightly controlled but creatively boundless. Musical u-turns were accompanied by monumental stage overhauls that reshaped a muddy, fog-filled outdoor riverscape into an arena, or a sweaty nightclub. This theatrical impact can't be visualized as clearly on the record, but musical cues do just enough heavy lifting to provide a tantalizing contour. When the alluring electro-acoustic plucks and resonant sustained string tones of 'There's a Ghost in the Lantern' cascade into cinematic drone metal on 'Ylva's Theme', it's impossible not to be drawn into the TRANCE narrative. Sonic stage lights flicker with uncommon intensity as the nebulous group rewrite their collective personal stories into stirring, synergistic poetry.

"Something changes!" KIM KHAN calls out on 'Soft and Black', cutting through warbling synths and itchy beatbox percussion. The track builds quickly, reaching a sizzling crescendo of buzzsaw noise and acidic electronics. It's a stylistic sea change that channels the group's kinetic energy into a rock show, and CITY picks up the message on 'Trance Genesis', adding rapid-fire drums to a barrage of guitar skronk. 'Shaolin Affliction' glues Trance Band's jagged artistic edges to a vintage metal template, gradually dissolving into throaty post-hardcore, while 'My Fortress' brings the show to a powerful conclusion with Dis Fig assuming the role of grunge balladeer, bellowing into the void over cacophonous live instrumentation. Unbound by musical and artistic conventions, TRANCE peers out from the basement, the gallery and the playhouse to forge an expression that's all of this and something new entirely. It's refreshing, witty, exhilarating and most of all, completely unpredictable.


released March 3, 2023

Tracks 1 - 10 recorded live at Kampnagel Theatre, Hamburg, 2022.
Live Recording: Sebastian Meyer
Mixing: Felix-Florian Tödtloff
Mastering: Raphael Valensi
Artwork: Felicia Chen, Kieran Loftus, Tianzhuo Chen


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