Samantha Culp

Rockers & Romancers

Just a little sonic something for Valentine’s Day: “Rockers & Romancers,” a mix of luscious, vintage Jamaican rocksteady and soul. Lovingly collected by L.A. musician Spencer Dunham (of The Allah-lahs, another great recent discovery) when he was working the discount reggae bins at Amoeba Records, these tracks are a subdued tropical caress to a fevered or broken heart. Extra reverb makes them extra dreamy. Preview Tony Gregory’s stunning “Human” here – which at first sounds like it could be a rework of “Moon River” or “Sleepwalk” but then turns into something beautiful and new:

Human – Tony Gregory

Download the compilation here: Rockers & Romancers

Two bonus tidbits:

“The Bus Driver’s Face” – a short, mysterious Valentine’s Day story in translation from Jing Xianghai (鯨向海), Taiwanese poet, essayist and psychiatrist (via Asymptote Journal)

– A campy cover of The Cure’s classic “Lovesong,” as performed in a Bangkok bathtub by the effortlessly-fabulous Gene Kasidit (formerly of Bangkok’s defunct electro sensation Futon)

Apidistrafly – New Music Video From Singapore Dronesters

Though the band Apidistrafly hails from Singapore, there’s no clue of their tropical island homeland in their latest music video, “Landscape with a Fairy.” Instead, the track off their upcoming release seems deeply influenced by their time spent in Japan – evoking the type of melancholy afternoon best spent in a Shimokitazawa cafe on the last day of autumn. For the new album, April Lee and Ricks Ang (the principals of Apidistrafly and also founders of the Kitchen Label) continue their longstanding collaboration with Japanese musicians/sound artists, in this instance featuring guests like Kyo Ichinose, Seigen Tokuzawa, haruka nakamura, and others, to create their trademark sound: a “flickeringly filmic mixture of ambient folk with gossamer-like vocal harmonies, guitar-based drone and environmental recordings wrapped in a delicate lo-fi haziness.”

The record/art-book looks like a beautiful object, featuring photographs and collages that explore imaginary landscapes such as “a secluded hilltop cottage, a forest hued in the splendor of autumn and distant, rocky shores.” I think we’ll see more Asia-based musicians creating unique physical manifestations of their albums, to supplement the disposability of download culture, and hopefully better sustain their creators. Some drones are too delicate for mere download.

Purchase/read more about the album here

HO TZU NYEN: RECENT VIDEOS – Special Screening in Shanghai


It’s a pretty insane week here in Shanghai, as the “back-to-school” activities of the artworld commence, but truly looking forward to an event I’ve helped organize for this Sunday evening: two recent works by Singaporean filmmaker Ho Tzu-Nyen, to be screened in association with my friends at Future Perfect, and hosted by the just-barely-soft-opened Shanghai branch of Café Sambal. (Many thanks to Cho Chong Gee of Sambal for graciously supporting the event!)

If you find yourself in Shanghai this Sunday, please do attend – it should be a relaxing, atmospheric end to a crazy week.



Flying Bird from Samantha Culp on Vimeo.