Dirty Beaches, a.k.a. Alex Zhang Hungtai, started off as a one-man band in 2005 in Montreal. A trans-Pacific nomad and genre-hopping sound-smith, he has released music ranging from drone instrumentals to film scores, and possesses a fascination for dissecting popular American music like blues, rockabilly, soul, R&B and hip hop, often rendering it to a point where it is no longer recognizable.
Hungtai’s latest release, Drifters / Love Is the Devil, is a sprawling double-album that chronicles the musician’s life on the road over the past two years—through the labyrinths of Berlin, Belgrade, Paris, and many other cities; through heartbreak, rebirth and masochistic, existential self-reflection.
Recorded between Montreal and Berlin in the winter of 2012, the two halves of Drifters / Love Is the Devil are separated only by aesthetics, as they are tightly woven together thematically as one conceptual piece. If 2011’s Badlands was an exercise in exorcising past ghosts in a semi-fictional world, then Drifters / Love Is the Devil is a reflection on the fragility of reality—that of the outside world in which the artist explores the nightlife of bright neon temptations and hedonistic values, and that of the inner world, one of remorse and lovelorn tragedies.