Running Blue bring an urbane sensibility to the burgeoning indietronica scene in China. Incorporating lighter than air vocals a la the mechanised, tetris/arcade sounds made by fantastic French band Air on their album Moon Safari, their music is sharp, chic and spare.
Liang Hu’s vocal is integral in relaying the unique sound of Running Blue, however. It’s not quite enough to simply categorise their music as indietronica, because it feels like there is so much more than that to be grasped. On Lost, tough drumming eschews the space-pop opener 悶, recalling something a la Mount Kimbie on Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, but with a bit more bite.
These songs have been in the making for quite a while now. Frozen, Honey, Rass, The Deep Blue Hope, 悶 and Lost were all revealed to the world more than a year ago. The delay in getting all these tracks together may have had something to do with the physical side of things as this, Running Blue’s first album, saw their debut released on vinyl too.
Belatedly combining these eight songs is a brilliant exhibition of the ties that bind their music together, and the versatility of their sound and also their wealth of interests. While Beijing may rule in terms of Indie Rock, Shanghai is certainly tussling for the right to call itself China’s unofficial electronica capital.
As with Nocturnes before, and Da Bang and DuckFightGoose, Running Blue brings me back to days running around underground clubs in Dublin, channeling the strange and wonderful bliss of deeply intense electronic music made in the dark.
If I weren’t bound by genres I might categorise their sound as Jazz, or as Trip Hop, or R ‘n’ B, Dubstep, Post-Dub and so on and so forth. I think the thing to be taken from that line of thought, then, is the depth of their music, whether that be their own personal voyage through these genres or simply the historic journey that music has taken in the past ten years.
Record Label – Space Circle Music
Release Date – April 19, 2018
Bandcamp URL – https://runningblue.bandcamp.com/