It makes more sense to describe this LP in terms of "levels" than "sides." Gulou is Beijing's medieval drum tower, Zhonglou its bell tower. Both rhythmic: one all pounding pulse, the other chaotic, clanging, criss-crossed melody. Both tiered spires overseeing the epicenter of Beijing's ancient heritage and casting long shadows on its contemporary culture. The hutong neighborhood where most of the city's young artists work and play is colloquially named after the old drum tower itself. Gulou zone.
"Gulou" / "Zhonglou" is a relentless 20-minute document of a China-side meeting between two musical minds at the forefront of their respective city scenes. New York percussion luminary Kid Millions (Oneida/Man Forever) contributes the gu (鼓), propelling the extended jam with his trademark constant 16th-note pulse, shifting as it does across his full kit, at every moment, octopedally. The zhong (钟) comes from Beijing native Zhang Shouwang (Carsick Cars/White+), deep-mid-Tangerine Nightmare, contorting his long-suffering guitar + pedal + circuit-bent synth system into increasingly baroque noise melodies. One sustained sonic freakout from the heart of Old Peking. No time signature is time's signature.