Artist: Pilgrim Raid
Album: Anna Agenda
Format: Digital / Tape
Release Date: 01/10/2021
Master: Zach Sch
Artwork: Ha Anh
Uwu! Vietnamese EDM and experimental noise music is reimagined through the lens of internet culture in Anna Agenda, the first release from Vietnamese band Pilgrim Raid on Chinabot.
Distorted samples and frantic beats are unified by a rough, DIY aesthetic and an ear for maximalist pop melody. Noise, ambient, emo and dance are just some styles touched on by the electronic duo. "Our main concept is genre play," says the band. "We try to mash a lot of genres together and make it consistent and with personal expression, with samples calling back to Vietnamese culture and personal field recordings." Like Liars and early Hype Williams, Pilgrim Raid have a healthy irreverence and an interest in repurposing sounds to make new warped pop melodies.
The album is steeped in nostalgia for a childhood spent in 2000s Vietnam, with heavily reverbed and distorted archive samples creating a dreamlike ambience. "Those [samples are] old VTV (local state television) recordings which were a big part of our childhood," they say. "Especially the TV reporters' voices, they are the most memorable parts when I look back into those hazy childhood memories." Anna Agenda is a sound of teenagehood in the Vietnamese suburbs, the soundtrack to hours of making music in a bedroom after school followed by moto trips to the city.
Standout track Cardboard Creek nods to Vina House, the specific Vietnamese strain of bass-heavy, speedy EDM heard blasting from cafes and bars across the country, a kind of local answer to other popular European dance music. Pilgrim Raid lean into Vina House's brain-shaking, teeth-grinding euphoria, mixing in trance and ambient webs of melody which recalls Lorenzo Senni as much as DJ Hoang Anh. Spencer Nguyễn of Rắn Cạp Đuôi adds guitar, vocals and field recordings to the mix.
Began in their hometown of Hà Nội, the album was completed after a trip to Saigon. "Saigon itself was like a breath of fresh air for us," says Long Trần, who makes up half of Pilgrim Raid alongside Vuong Thien. "We went there and recorded lots of sounds, mostly instruments, voices, and band rehearsals. I think that was the glue, like the final piece of puzzle. when we came back, me and her, we finished the album like instantly." Anna Agenda encapsulates the joyful sense of exploration felt by a new generation of Vietnamese artists.
About Pilgrim Raid
Forming in the Hà Nội suburbs in 2019, Long Trần and Vuong Thien of Pilgrim Raid grew up in the local noise and electronic music scenes. Initially influenced by hip hop producers, regular shows in Ho Chi Minh City and Hà Nội began to develop a distinct performance and recorded sound. Textures reminiscent of James Ferraro and hooky melodies can be heard throughout, layering grand soundscapes and playful bursts of noise and rhythm. Joined on this album by frequent collaborator Thiện Vương, the pair now continue their work warping samples and synth lines into a tapestry of rich textures, melodies, and bass. They are also members of the band Mona Evie, whose track was released on the last Chinabot compilation.
Long Tran - production, composition, arrangement, field recordings, vocals (track 10), mixing
Thien Vuong - production, engineering, field recordings, vocals (track 10), mixing
Gia Duc - studio equipment
Spencer Nguyen - guitar (track 6,10), field recording (track 3,6), vocals (track 6,10)f
Zach Sch - additional production (track 1), mastering
Ha Anh - art direction, design
Tran Van Anh - photography
It was a bit too much and samey by the end for me, but if you like dark atmospheres, if you are really interested in sound design or you enjoy the challenge of music that tries to wear you down, you should definitely check this record out.
I loved the echo-drenched drums and percussion and synths and hard to describe sounds on this, but it stays with the same sonic ideas for too long for me to enjoy to try to withstand the harsh wall of sounds minisculebarber
Si cet album semble d'apparence agressive, il révélera à l'auditeur attentif un ensemble complexe d'une profondeur rare et surprenante compte tenu du jeune âge des exécutants. Des sons apocalyptiques pour accompagner le renouveau de la scène musicale vietnamienne. Chef-d'œuvre. soap soap soap thestoneroses
a massive head rush, some of the most intense and energetic music I've ever heard - pure ADHDcore. shoutout to Nyege Nyege for getting this stuff out to a broader audience, more people need to hear this Watching Nebula