Genjing Records, a DIY record label based out of Beijing, China, happily presents the debut of Yang Fan. Her album “What Happened After 1,001 Nights?,” released at the beginning of this month, questions the untold ending of the fabled Scheherazade. Scheherazade, the Arabic queen and wife to Shahryar, strategically used storytelling to enrapture her husband, therefore prolonging her life. Until meeting Scheherazade, the king had a penchant for chopping virgins’ heads off after boredom and one night of marriage set in. Scheherazade, with her feminine charm and ability to take Shahryar to different worlds without even leaving the bedroom, lasted 1,001 nights. Ever curious, Yang Fan’s eerie and sinuous sounds climb across a soundscape, projecting smoky question marks into the air.
A fully experimental and occasionally psychedelic experience, transcending different time periods, “Nights” isn’t Fan’s first adventure, having started her first band at just 15, but it’s her first album with Genjing, and is definitely her most complete narrative. Fan plays all the instruments, writes all the songs, and mixes all the tracks with the exception of “Autumn In Your Town.” Mastering the ghost-like quality of the guitar, glockenspiel, harmonium, brass bell, and possibly some foley effects, Fan creates a cerebral dream sequence that lingers long after the songs are over. The lyrics are minimal throughout but there are many human-produced cat wails. On the short tenth track, “See!! (Here Comes) the Witch Again?!,” cat wails travel methodically down a Nintendo-based hellhole and into a tunnel of darkness. Each track is like a chapter from a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, urging the listener to take chances and form their own hypothesis.
What happened to Scheherazade? That’s up to you to decide.