It’s another winter of tough commercial pressures and pandemic limits on gathering. But Hong Kong Community Radio – and now CFK Radio – provide some shining examples of how to create new spaces for far-out sounds.

Synthtopia gets the jump on us for this first one – CFK Radio is a new project by Crazy From Kong (CFK) collective. Two cyberpunk hosts tour tracks, with evidently an open call to artists to send stuff in. Here’s a story I’m sure will be familiar to producers around the world – they’re working to keep the stuff they love alive in contrast to the more commercial dance tracks that tend to dominate.

I’ll be digging for some of these artists and tracks:

Project Soda – Shift State
Danny Le Vrai – Grand Prix (Radio Edit)
Raxa – Sudden Philosopher (Radio Edit)
Lantern Festival – Tiger Blud
Joelectrick – Meteor
Auxpulse – Transgressive
Mefaun – Firefly Rice
X24R – Tea
Mellow Lync X – Night Waves
Canyon Crows – Vamp
Gokei – Tokyo Calling

Episode 2 is already up:

Lantern Festival – Cryo @lantern_festival
Biting Eye – System Drive @biting_eye
Amiga Junglism – Hold On @amiga_Junglism
Mefaun – KKSLDR @mefaun
Purple Key – Oh Monica @purk_official
Acidalius – Korma @acidalius
Dertie Basset – Needing You @dertie_bassett
Tame Werewolf – Vapor Sands @tamewerewolf

Trippy, acid-infused visuals and dark underground tracks, and I think this might just be the Hong Kong doppelganger of our friends LSB TV (Köln – Berlin edition moved to Portugal).

Come for the music; stay for the mystery food reviews?

There’s no space to cover all that’s happening with Hong Kong producers and DJs. So instead I’ll just use this as an excuse to check in again with HKCR (Hong Kong Community Radio), easily one of the best underground broadcast platforms online right now anywhere. HKCR are proving an important hub both for Hong Kong and more leftfield stuff internationally.

On the music side, they’re hosting not only the usual DJ mixes but also live performances like this murky, drippy live set by Taiwan’s R000000M, who “aims to produce the ugliest music in humanity.”

Check out more of that darkness from her, both self-released (she does say in the description “I wish you nothing but happiness”) –

and on Berlin’s ultra-goth Vumantra imprint with remixes by Vū and фанкшн (you’d read that last one I guess ‘function’):

Hey, I did say we’d be getting away from commercial EDM. (What’s on CDM? Pain.)

Want some live coding? HKCR has you covered there, too – here’s “CrRdR.eXe: CRRDRxBURDO: Goticodeo” with I think SuperCollider on the left (does appear to be SC and not Tidal or something), and Hydra on the right:

If you need something lighter for your Monday, here’s a fluffy, groovy, hyper-happy set by yiiee, who’s a regular and seems to have developed a really unique way of DJing on Push:

This is worth its own story after some more thought, but I think it’s also important that these programs and platforms represent a new kind of locality – both intimate in how they work with local contributions, but also providing conduits to folks in an international scene. What’s local, anyway, in today’s connected world – especially a connected world where in-person connections are largely severed for the moment?

So part of what HKCR can embody then is some off-center local interests in styles that exist without particular borders.

That has another impact – even as I’m here as an American writing in English from Berlin (hi y’all), we’re finally seeing media recenter itself across geographies and in other native languages. That ultimately benefits everyone, particularly as even big western outlets are either oversaturated/overly centralized, underfunded, or both.

All that is to say, some of their far-off residents are a big part of the essential character of what they’re doing, too. Take Sarah Badr aka FRKTL, the UK-Egyptian artist now in Latvia. Part of why I find myself checking into HKCR regularly is paradoxically the shows she’s been doing.

Ruhail Qaisar’s Hounds of Pamir series has been another of my favorite listens of late – it’s just an exceptionally curated show full of unique guests. (Nerve and Mint Park, mentioned here below, also joined our CTM hacklab last year.) Here are a couple of recent must-hear episodes:

Indonesian noise? You got that, too.

It’s from back in May this year, but I find myself listening back on their fundraiser compilation, too.

That release features a track by and was mastered by the excellent Nerve, whose music you should also check out –

But read their fundraising call for more on why they need support, and as clear articulation as I could imagine of why these activities matter in general – there and everywhere:

With already scarcity of affordable venues, spaces such as online radio is one of the last piece of backbone that supports underground artists to make performance and other forms of creative activities indiscriminately, it is the space that powered by independent artists and for the independent artists, where commercial music is dominant of the cultural front.

Since the pandemic hits the globe, we realised that the continuity of freedom of movement are only temporary, however, ideas shouldn’t stop because of physical barriers, hence, it’s important that we should expand the horizon broader, from this planned upgrade of our operation, it enables more cultural exchange through air waves without limitation of timezone and borders.

Such online platform is rare in the Asia front, we wish to be one of the first station to be able to provide a central point for artists in the regional network who can use our platform to build a together relationship within the continent.

And check the full platform: