Why I Love the Erhu (a Short History of the Instrument)

Illustrated man playing Erhu, starry backdrop

The erhu, often hailed the “Chinese violin”, is a two-stringed musical instrument originating from China. The “er” in erhu means two in Mandarin. It’s made from a soundbox—which can be hexagonal, octagonal, or circular in shape—connected to a long neck by two silk strings. These days, the strings are usually made of steel. The erhu’s … Read more

Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th: Why Does It Sound So Distinctive?

Aphex Twin album cover Drukqs, album of Avril 14th (or April 14th)

What makes a song—like Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th—instantly recognisable as special? …Alright, yeah, it’s subjective. But you’d be hard-pressed not to find something special in the piece embedded below. There’s a lot to be said about Aphex Twin. I’m not going to try to say it all now, or even pretend I understand the enigma. … Read more

All I Understand Is That I Don’t Understand – Toe

Picture of Toe's album cover

The highlight from a great album, ‘The Book About My Idle Plot On A Vague Anxiety’ from Japanese band Toe. A song that achieves the quality of being introspective, without having any words. Super expressive guitars and drums weave over each other in a way that’s difficult to forget. It’s the type of song that … Read more