Hearing the inaudible
The Hong Kong experimental music scene in the COVID-19 pandemic
Keywords:experimental music, COVID-19, Hong Kong studies, popular music, live music
This article considers multiple ways in which, one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hong Kong experimental music scene has been impacted by the global health crisis and the social restrictions it has imposed on its actors. Using insights from three active local experimental music musicians and event organizers, it argues that three main tendencies are currently at play in the scene: adaptation, internationalization and extinction. It concludes that while the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed some actors the possibility to break down the relative isolation characteristic of the Hong Kong experimental music landscape, it appears to largely compound pre-existing structural issues within the scene.
Blundy, Rachel, 2016. ‘Hidden Agenda’s Relaunch Sparks Hope for Hong Kong’s Underground Indie Clubs’. South China Morning Post, 12 November. Online at https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/2045164/hidden-agendas-relaunch-sparks-hope-hong-kongs
Charrieras, Damien and François Mouillot, eds. 2021. Fractured Scenes: Underground Music-Making in Hong Kong and East Asia. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6
Cheung, Eric. 2020. ‘Alternative Music, Language, and “Hong Kong” Identity: The Use of Metaphor in English Lyrics of Hong Kong Independent Music’. In Made in Hong Kong: Studies in Popular Music, ed. Anthony Fung and Alice Chik, 78–90. New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429276439-10 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429276439-10
Chow, Yiu Fai and Jeroen de Kloet. 2012. Sonic Multiplicities: Hong Kong Pop and the Global Circulation of Sound and Image. Bristol: Intellect.
de Seta, Gabriele. 2021. ‘A “No-Venue Underground”: Making Experimental Music around Hong Kong’s Lack of Performance Spaces’. In Fractured Scenes: Underground Music-Making in Hong Kong and East Asia, ed. Damien Charrieras and François Mouillot, 95–105. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6_7 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6_7
Fremont, Cedrik. 2016. ‘Power through Networking: Reshaping the Underground Electronic and Experimental Music Scenes in East and SouthEast Asia’. New Geographies—CTM Festival 2016: 44–49.
Ives, Mike. 2017. ‘Crackdown Chills Hong Kong’s Indie Music Scene’. New York Times, 9 July. Online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/09/world/asia/hong-kong-live-music.html
Mouillot, François. 2021. ‘Streaming and the Online Hong Kong Underground: Conversations with Two Hong Kong Improvised Music Actors’. Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation, Special Issue ‘Improvisation, Musical Communities, and the COVID-19 Pandemic’.
Mouillot, François and Damien Charrieras. 2021a. ‘Interview with Kung Chi Shing’. In Fractured Scenes: Underground Music-Making in Hong Kong and East Asia, ed. Damien Charrieras and François Mouillot, 51–61. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6_4 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6_4
Mouillot, François and Damien Charrieras. 2021b. ‘Interview with Xper.Xr’. In Fractured Scenes: Underground Music-Making in Hong Kong and East Asia, ed. Damien Charrieras and François Mouillot, 37–49. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6_3 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6_3
Reuters. 2020. ‘Coronavirus forces Hong Kong indie club Hidden Agenda to close down’. South China Morning Post, 3 March. Online at https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/entertainment/article/3064588/coronavirus-forces-hong-kong-indie-club-hidden-agenda-close
Wong, Ahkok Chun-Kwok. 2021. ‘From Indie to Underground: The Hong Kong DIY Rock Scene in the Post-Hidden Agenda Era’. In Fractured Scenes: Underground Music-Making in Hong Kong and East Asia, ed. Damien Charrieras and François Mouillot, 145–60. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6_11 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5913-6_11
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.