Zhu – Dreamland 2021

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Album cover for Zhu "Dreamland 2021"

My taste in electronic dance music runs a bit below the radar. I’ve got nothing against artists like Skrillex or David Guetta, they just don’t speak to me. That’s why I’ve never bothered with Zhu. However, there was a compelling LA Times article about him and anti-AAPI racism, so I decided to check out Dreamland 2021.

The album’s fine. It has that dark and disenfranchised vibe that’s been prevalent in pop over the past several years. (I love that pop reflects the social disconnects of our very socially connected society.) Most of the songs are solid club jams, yet Zhu occasionally conjures introspective despair that makes me think of artists like XXX Tentacion.

Dreamland 2021 sits at the intersection where Chainsmokers, Daft Punk, and The Weeknd meet. If that’s your thing, check this out.

If you’re looking for great Asian DJs and producers, though, jump in and dig a little deeper. Yoshinori Hayashi is a new favorite. Peggy Gao always throws surprises in her energetic sets. Hundred Flowers by Ciel lifts me up every time I hear it. This is one of the most inclusive genres out there, so don’t be afraid to look beyond mainstream electronic music.

Released April 30, 2021

About Chuck

Chuck is a lifelong music lover. He spent his 20s working as a professional musician before discovering he enjoys listening to music more than playing it. He knows a little bit about most genres, though electronic dance music, rock, and hip-hop are his favorites. Eleven albums/shows that transformed how he sees and hears the world (in order he encountered them): Fleetwood Mac Rumours; Van Halen Fair Warning; The Cure Standing on a Beach; John Coltrane Crescent; De La Soul Three Feet High and Rising; Puccini La Boheme (de los Angeles, Bjorling, Beecham); Everything but the Girl Walking Wounded; Carl Cox, Twilo, NYC, May 2000; Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.; Grateful Dead. Fillmore East, NYC, April 1971; Taylor Swift 1989.

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