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Meet the Offset: Spectacles

The Offset: Spectacles are probably the most stubborn band in Beijing.

The Offset: Spectacles are probably the most stubborn band in Beijing. Their brand of precisely overblown Cantonese rock n’ roll condenses the urban scream of their native Hong Kong into blasting surrealist bangers that are as captivating as they are uncompromising. In concert, the band dispenses with pleasantries like stage banter or directly facing the audience and challenges the clangor of the Chinese capital with their own cathartic racket. Inspired by the massively influential Chinese band P.K. 14, the Offset: Spectacles moved to Beijing in 2009 in search of like-minded musicians. Within two years, they had started Rose Mansion Analog with three other Beijing bands: Soviet Pop, Hot & Cold, and Golden Driver. The boutique label is dedicated to analog recording and reproduction, documenting Beijing’s thriving scene through the lo-fidelity, one-room-and-a-mic tradition of early blues recordings. On stage, Vince Li and Ah Ki’s guitars strut and snarl against the steady pulse of Ou Jian’s bass, producing a darkly cinematic sound that’s forceful and driving. The group aims for what they call “phantom rhythm”: without a drummer, the roaring percussive clash of pawn-shopped 1960s guitars gives the impression of ghostly snare-hits and echoing cymbals. The Offset: Spectacles found a kindred spirit in Noisey artist Dirty Beaches, whose minimal approach to composition made him a perfect choice for their label’s first international artist. In addition to running Rose Mansion, the Offsets issued their debut cassette on the label in 2010.