“Forget the familiar world, open the door to accidents, go to the other side.”
This is the ultimatum set by Beijing’s Gate to Otherside on their debut album, Dragon Bus Terminal, a backlit chamber of esoteric mind-flight set to nine smoldering psychedelic slow-burners, floating heavy, thicker than incense smoke. Like a gently cresting nervous disorder, Dragon Bus Terminal pivots around the head, obeying the rigid pop-logic set by the band’s seminal influences — Can, Sonic Youth, Pink Floyd, and Beijing forebears Carsick Cars — but just as often ricocheting toward the unknown, wild dream logic that sees dragons in Guizhou batiks, religion in nature, mystical truth in abandoned bus stops on the Mongolian steppe. Tied from end to end by a meditative prayer bell as coda, Dragon Bus Terminal at its highest is a trip toward spiritual self-betterment, at its (blessedly) basest a sideways-smiling romp through “drums and sex and sound and love and so much fun” (“Unknown Chain”). Shimmering with shambolic, earnest charm, Dragon Bus Terminal is a crisp and cryptic first chapter in what’s sure to be Gate to Otherside’s long, twisted acid-flash narrative.
Dragon Bus Terminal was produced by Ricky Maymi (Brian Jonestown Massacre) at Tweak Tone Labs in Beijing, engineered by Li Ping and mastered by Treelady. Recommended for fans of other members of the Maybe Mars psych/noise universe: Carsick Cars, The Gar, Birdstriking, Chui Wan.