Chinese singer-songwriter Zhu Jingxi reinvented himself as the cyborg character Akini Jing in 2019, drawing inspiration from the futuristic aesthetic of Neon Genesis Evangelion and the magical realism of Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. His synthpop explores the relationship between technology, humanity and consciousness – a vision exemplified by the 2020s”plastic heaven,” the clip of which combined cyberpunk imagery with mundane scenes of daily life in criticizing the superficiality of the Chinese pop star’s celebrity. On the recent concept album 永无止境的告别 (Endless farewell), she and the Shanghai-based producer Hunt design a multiverse where each track represents its own parallel world. While Akini Jing explores technology and the divine, Chace also takes us into different worlds, experimenting with IDM, synthpop and space disco.
On the climax “Blessing,” Akini Jing races against a rhythmic liquid funk beat, reflecting his struggle to maintain his identity amidst virtual noise. “Watching the cosmic afterglow from the front of the TV screen,” she sings in a daze, mistakenly believing she can glean something from the static. Attempts to shake each other off end in failure – the screams sink back into a sense of isolation and invisibility, and soon Chace steps up the pace. While the single edit is a tight assault of drums and synths, the album’s editing gives “Blessing” the space it deserves, wedging hard breakbeats and mechanical sirens between vocal sections. By the extended outro, the dimensions of the song begin to crumble, and its off-beat drum fills and wobbly synth converge into nothingness.