Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Releasing Manchuria

Announcing the debut album from Chinese Electronic Music Project - MANCHURIA.

This is a collection of songs made over the 4 years with multiple collaborators combining traditional instrumentation native to my adopted hometown in northeastern China (formerly known as Manchuria) with modern production and electronic styles including breakbeat, drum and bass, and more.

I have lived for a number of years on the China - North Korean border and after marrying a local girl, have essentially re-grown up in that culture over the past 20 years. We are now raising our children to be proud of their northeastern Chinese culture and heritage, and if you are wondering - yes, even my Mandarin Chinese language is even spoken with the local accent.

I hope this album helps people become more curious about Manchuria and the huge influence it has had in global history - even if it seems to be a forgotten part of the world now.

Now available exclusively on Bandcamp:

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

A New Christian Music Record Label for Australia

Christian music in Australia needs a shake-up, so I have joined forces with other Christian artists, singers, producers and creatives to establish an indie record label focused solely on original, Christian pop music for Generation Z.

Our website and socials can be found below. Thanks for all your support!

Australian Christian Records Logo

Australian Christian Records Website

Facebook @ozchristianrecords

Instagram @ozchristianrecords @ozchristianrecords

Friday, December 23, 2022

2022: Year in Review

Where do I start?

Another massive year for me professionally with some big gigs including OzAsia, AnimeGo and Asia Oasis introducing thousands of Adelaideans to my music and other cutting edge Asian electronic sounds.

This year, I also produced a few songs with most of them unreleased for now. I'm thinking I may put up an album's worth of material on my Bandcamp around Chinese New Year. 

I of course also worked with Chinese Canadian 3D pixel artist bkvoxel on my very first NFT now up on probably the most exclusive NFT gallery in SuperRare. It was a huge creative challenge, ensuring that the soundtrack I composed was able to seamlessly and dynamically change according to the users timezone.

Another highlight was giving a guest mix for one of the world's favourite Asian lofi masters in Elijah Nang and his East Asian Fusion Radio show. It was a lot more laidback than my usual sound and I had fun recording it live in my home studio - I even filmed it and you can listen below:

So what is in store for 2023?

Aside from my album release, I'm looking forward to play at Adelaide Chinatown's Chinese New Year Street Party on January 28.

I'm also beginning to do some work with some inspiring up-and-coming young artists for a very ambitious project and I can't wait to share more about this project soon.

Have a great holiday season and amazing 2023!!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Riverside Reflection: An NFT Artwork

Unquestionably my most technically challenging artistic project, I have been working with Chinese Canadian 3D pixel (voxel) artist and engineer BKVoxel since February of this year to combine our love for traditional Chinese architecture and music with the most modern of artforms.

We worked together step-by-step on the same vision, creating the music and art to complement each other and I drew upon my experience living in what was formerly known as Manchuria, I have also taken inspiration from video games such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Genshin Impact to combine traditional Chinese instrumentation with modern production techniques and sounds

The result is 3 distinct compositions that play seamlessly with BKVoxel's amazing diorama of Chinese village life across your real-life daytime, sunset, or night-time - no matter where on the world you may be.

Out now on what is probably the most exclusive crypto-art auction house SuperRare, this 24 hour dynamic artwork has been minted as an NFT with a reserve price of 2 Ethereum but can be enjoyed by everyone for free at:

DAY (06:00 - 13:59)
The little robot is fishing while waiting for his friend. Running water flowing through the village evokes sunshine and a gentle breeze. As a wind instrument, the "dizi" or bamboo flute carries the lazy tune that floats through the air.

SUNSET (14:00 - 19:59)
As the moon begins to come around, villagers return home from work; children come out to play and kitchens get busy preparing for the night's festivities. Our little robot meets his friend by the bridge. The music in turn becomes livelier, with gentle percussion and a deep, drone bassline complementing those traditional sounds from earlier in the day.

NIGHT (20:00 - 05:59)
With the last of the sunlight gone, the soundtrack goes nearly all electronic with rich, retrowave sounds that wouldn't be out of place in an imagined future from 1980's Tokyo. Analogue synthesizers, airy reverb, and bubbling basslines that make it difficult to know whether you are in the moment or merely dreaming. In the echo of inspiring music, the little robot and his friend enjoy the night together.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

OzAsia 2022

Aaron Duff will be performing November 3 at OzAsia Festival
Last year I performed a dj set on the opening night of OzAsia Festival's Lucky Dumpling Market. It was an incredible night with coloured lanterns strung up by Adelaide's River Torrens and maybe a thousand people sampling Asian street foods on the grassy hills of Elder Park. The weather was perfect, Adelaide Oval was lit up and I played some of my favourite tracks with many being my own productions through the sunset in what was a beautifully lazy evening.

So I'm super excited to share I'll be back for OzAsia 2022!

I'm busy preparing for another 2 hour set from 7:30pm on Thursday, November 3. It will feature some of my own unreleased music from the Chinese Electronic Music Project as well as other artists I've discovered that like me, also combine traditional Asian instrumentation with electronic beats and sounds.

It's totally free admission, but I would love to hear in advance if you are planning to be there - just send me a DM on Instagram or Facebook @chineseelectronicmusic

To get you in the mood, I've included a recording of last year's live set as well as the official write up:

Aaron Duff, DJ / Producer of the Chinese Electronic Music Project
There's a place in North Asia where the Manchu, Han, Korean, Japanese and Mongolian cultures have intersected with each other over many centuries and created a rich, cultural legacy.

Known to the west as Manchuria, this is also the adopted homeland of Aaron Duff, DJ and producer of the Chinese Electronic Music Project who having returned to Australia, remains immersed in the language, culture and music of the Manchurian peninsula.

Aaron has pioneered new music forms using classical, wooden instruments such as the erhu and guzheng, fusing together their incomparable sounds with the rainbow lights, beeps and beats of synthesizers and drum machines - something championed by very few in Australia or indeed the world. The same goes for Aaron's guest DJ sets for radio stations and podcasts around the world; where he shares his treasures found on the English and Chinese speaking webs for future bass and beats with a traditional Asian flair.

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Year in Review

It has been a long time since my first 'Year in Review' post in 2014 and it's pretty interesting to look back on how I've progressed as an artist, all the cool things I've been a part of, and also how my motivations for making music change over the years.

2021 saw me progress my Chinese Electronic Music Project plans working with some amazing classically trained musicians in David Dai, Kangkang Huang and Zhaohong Liang and their beautiful instruments of the erhu, zhonghu, guzheng and guqin. 

I started off the year with my now customary Chinese New Year's mix for local radio station Fresh FM and followed it up with a guest mix for one of my favourite progressive breaks DJ's in Joe Wink who is based in Florida and seen the breaks scene grow up over many years. It was a real pleasure to join his Broken Essence show as I've been an avid listener for a number of years and I felt a real sense of satisfaction that I could play one full hour of nothing but my own, original music.

Big news came in June when I announced our first EP Mountain Water had been signed by UK label Break Wind Productions. The label boss Uncle Boba (Bobalino) is a titan of the global progressive breaks scene and was my first choice as our type of music fits in well with his back catalogue of releases that have a focus on melodic storytelling.

Further to our EP, we did some promotional work releasing 3 music videos and also appearing as the feature artist for UK artist Dovetail's monthly F.A.B. show.

Undoubtedly the highlight of 2021 though was playing on the opening and closing nights for OzAsia Festival's Lucky Dumpling Market. It had been my goal to play at OzAsia since putting together Chinese Electronic Music Project and to be able to play to thousands of people in the centre of my hometown as the sun went down was something to remember - especially while most events and concerts have been cut back due to COVID.

I'm particularly proud of my 2 hour DJ set from the opening night where I have scoured both the English and Chinese-speaking web over searching for outstanding electronic music tracks featuring traditional Asian instrumentation - including around 30 minutes from yours truly! You can listen to the whole set on my Youtube channel here: Traditional Asian Electronic Music DJ Mix.

2022 will undoubtedly be different again from this year as my bandmate and fellow collaborator Kangkang has moved to Queensland, but rest assured I am still working on new music and have big plans.

If you are still reading, then you must be a true fan and I thank you for your support and wish you and your family all the very best in the new year!

(L-R) David Dai, Kangkang Huang, Zhaohong Liang, Aaron Duff