Hu Mage

Hu Mage
b. 1973, Wufeng, Hubei
Folk-rock musician
Originally named Hu Qunfeng, Hu Mage joined the ‘floating population’ in Beijing after graduating from the Department of Geography at Middle China Normal University in 1995. The rural background and life as a sojourner in the metropolis later became the hallmark of his songwriting.
Hu’s first album, Everyone Has a Wooden Bench, Mine Will Not Be Brought to the Twentieth-First Century (Renren dou you ge xiaobandeng, wode bu dairu ershiyi shiji), was recorded by himself with a wooden guitar and a four-track machine in August 1998, officially distributed by Modern Sky Records (see New Sound Movement, Modern Sky Records) in March 1999. Although Hu’s music can roughly be categorized as indie folk-rock, it is distinguished from any existing Chinese music with its DIY production, the irregular use of fingering and rhythm, the freely incorporated singing and narration in Hubei dialect, the good-humoured account of the daily ironies in a sojourner’s life, and the expressiveness of its extraordinarily repetitive refrains.
Hu carried out his ideals of recording life and exploring new sonic possibilities further in his second album, Kill Seven with One Slap (Yi bazhang dasi qige), finished in August 1999 and released online by his own company, Pythagorean Records (Gougu changpian, 2001). Designed as a two-scene drama, it consists of nearly thirty episodes, often a parody of Chinese sociopolitical life, accompanied by sounds from altered guitar, kitchen utensils, faked voices and other samplings. Hu Mage also earned fame as a DV filmmaker with the short film Life is Very Boring, Fortunately We Have High-heeled Shoes (Shenghuo hen wuqu, xinghao you gaogenxie), which premiered at the First Unrestricted New Image Festival in Beijing (December 2000), the festival in which Ying Weiwei’s The Box (Hezi, 2001), the first video documentary on lesbian life produced in China, had its first showing (see gay cinema and video).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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