OH YEAH! We pulled off another electronica event! Thanks to the creative musicians for their original music. Thanks to Ableton for the prize. Thanks to Asahi and Edifier for their great support. BIG thank you to Dharma Den, Pawan & all its lovely staff. Great location to host our second electronica event – we look forward to the next one.
love Chris B xx
Once again began a night that featured a kind of music about which I am part of the patent un-cognoscenti. Still, I have ears and can type, so let me begin with my disclaimer – I don’t really know much about electronic music, and a huge part of that is because I just don’t “get” it (if you know what I mean). Plus most of these artistes play continuous sets, so there’s almost no way for me to place a musical event within it adequately using text. So, these reviews will flow as an amassment of the most insightful comments I can muster at any point. (On the other hand, you won’t have to deal with my constant references to relatively unknown bands, so that’s positive 😀 )
TADJGRUV introduced himself as being influenced by funk, and trance and ‘everything’ among others. And indeed, his set was of a quite urban cosmopolitan mindset – an amalgamation of multiple different, but related, styles. At its best the music was intriguing, even compelling, as he deftly moved between from funky to pop-funky to breakbeat-esque to hip-hop– an interesting, historically accurate and musically astute, progression. The beginning of the set was one to remember: the beat, a very simple melody and the bass slowly melded together, the contrast between the chromatic, twangy notes and the resistant bass rising with the volume. The bass was almost wrong at points, because it wasn’t really playing the root note, but in a really cool, non-aggravating way (this approach usually grates on my ears). The styles then progressed into what sounded like my idea of the Beastie Boys, then into more Euro synthpop territory, and then much more industrial and sparse. Whatever particular style his music channelled, TADJGRUV does seem to have the ability to effectively blend sounds that would, initially, seem antagonistic, and make them sound interesting. He ended with an almost cyberpunk Devo-like piece, which was a great way to end on an energetic notes (if undesirably abrupt). As I understand it, people who’re better informed also thought that his variety and the quality of the music was good, so I guess his talent is undeniable. A very enjoyable set indeed.
— Shashwati Kala
看到Underground Electronica #2第一位演出者TADJGRUV的介紹是“Rhythms found in all things music”時也不太了解，但欣賞過他的演出後便明白多一點。TADJGRUV的電子音樂以很多豐有強烈節奏的電子樂器聲所組成，一開始時以鼓聲襯托，再逐步加入不同樂器的音樂，如以電子琴奏出旋律，再加有富有宗教意味的鐘聲，令音樂更富層次感。在不斷重複的音樂節奏中加入不同的元素，亦有一種簡約主義的味道。最精彩的部分是TADJGRUV演奏像以前看錄影帶時那fast forward的聲音，營造出一種不由自主的感覺，彷彿是說著時光的飛逝及生活的無奈。
— Eva Leung
In contrast to the previous set, which had many styles in it, Beatnick’s was more consistent in its progression. It seemed to me to have the same concept behind it as doing variations on a theme – to explore the possibilities and nuances of a musical thought in detail. An idea which, to me, has great artistic merit. The downside of this is that, at points, it does become a little repetitive (which, by its very nature, it has to). But, if you can get past that, it’s a very interesting exercise – which Beatnick’s set certainly was. He started off with an almost jazzy sound, featuring lots of variations of beat combos, and moved on to adding voice samples with increasingly heavy bass. The voices were interesting in that they seemed like they were from R&B songs at points, but escalated into an almost choral arrangement, before the breaks suddenly entered. He then proceeded to take the music into electropop, industrial and nearly Latin soundscapes, and a little bit of what sounded like reggeaton to me. At one point there was something that sounded like the pan-flute in Shakira’s Whenever Wherever to me, which was quite funny. He finally, moved into a more grinding sound that he contrasted with lots of high accents, and gave the set a well-defined ending. At all points, to me, the set was interesting and made me wonder where it’d go next. I liked the continuity, because that’s hard to do, and Beatnick did a commendable job.
— Shashwati Kala
Beatnick是一位來自新西蘭的音樂製作人，這次他在Underground Electronica #2讓觀眾體驗他那富有神秘感的靈魂音樂。他的音樂以較為幽靜開始，再以扎實的鼓聲穩定著音樂的節奏，再奏出一種柔和的音樂，使人彷彿進入一處神秘之境，是仙境，是樂土，但又像令人迷惑的迷宮。
— Eva Leung
1. The Manaed
3. Almost Finished Now
4. Moving In
7. Moving Out
Another HK group, but with a difference – one of them (wait for it)….DOES NOT USE A MAC!!! OH MY GOD!!!! *(&($%*#($%*#)$%)(@#!
They had a huge variety of drum sounds which, during soundcheck, gave me the feeling that they were much more percussion- (rather than simply beat-) oriented than the others. The huge quantity of sounds they had at their disposal helped them to keep the variety alive while playing the same beat – a clever strategy. The Manaed, despite its Dionysian reference, was quite reserved in its nature, with that winking-at-you mischievousness that jazzy keyboards bring (it kinda reminded me of Prince’s When Doves Cry). It seemed to be an attempt to play jazz with electronic equipment, which I think is a great idea, and a novel way of interpreting the style. Falling was much more eerie, with swirling bass and ethereal vocal samples. Underlund was sort of Kraftwerk’s style reinterpreted in a more contemporary manner, and Rising was like R&B if the drums were done by a drum machine. It also rose at points to where the drums sounded almost like grindcore, along with the melody. They ended on a song that wasn’t quite as satisfying to me, as it seemed they had overused the rich ethereal voice thing by then, and they had fake-out melodies (I’ve always hated when people do that). It didn’t develop the ideas like the other songs did so when they did end, it felt unresolved to me. But, the rest of their set had plenty of character, and was very useful in helping overcome my own stereotype of electronic music, so I’d say it was musically successful.
— Shashwati Kala
TKO是一隊本地的三人電子爵士樂隊組合，這次Underground Electronica #2是他們的第一次演出，而他們第一次演出便有這麼出色的演出，實在令人驚喜。TKO的電子爵士給人一種不覊的感覺，而且音樂很有dynamic，音樂由柔至強的轉變控制得宜，中段有電子琴的深沉，又有不斷地朗誦的人聲，在快要讓人迷失時又出現清翠的音樂，彷彿在黑暗中出現的光明般，形成很大的張力。而且TKO的音樂很有空間感，他們以音樂營造一個迷幻的空間，但從一個空間跳出來後卻墜入另一個超現實的空間，有點像超現實主義畫家雷內·馬格利特 (René Magritte)的作品。
— Eva Leung
DJ Miko Van Chong
Jan Linton (Japan)
Jan Linton (for reasons as yet unknown) decided to arrive so late that one would think he was at the pinnacle of the fashion world. But, despite rubbing me (and the other waiting people) the wrong way before he even began I have to say that his set was good. He began with almost prayer-like music with him speaking over it. There were many cats-being-strangled kind of sounds that followed set to hip-hop beats. He then moved into a Daft Punk-like shiny-happy bit, which had more screeching sounds. I’m not sure if one could reasonably describe his style as “anything punk”, though it is vaguely post-hardcore, especially because the combination of strange sounds and a constant, normal-sounding voice was reminiscent of Big Black. There was some almost-Calypso sounds, with some very heavy and distorted bass to contrast. At one point, commendably, the sequenced drums were almost like those that a real rock drummer would play (with lost of ride cymbal to boot) which, when set against the irrepressibly electronic electropop sound was really cool. Even more innovative was the way he went on to combine funky-hip-hop melodies with a beat poetry feel – which felt (though didn’t necessarily sound) like Talking Heads. The 90s Fresh Prince type hip-hop continued, and blended into a more Suicide-like sound – the tortured Phil Spector girl-group melodies with the deliberately simple beats. Plus, he actually sang in tune, unlike Alan Vega, so that was cool too.
However, he really didn’t know when to end, and went on for waaaaaayyy longer than I could take. So, I cleared off after this point, feeling pleasantly saturated by electronic music. Surprisingly, I was kept interested throughout the show and impressed by the variety of sounds we had. A good night, after all.
— Shashwati Kala
— Eva Leung
photos © Copyright 2011 by ANGUS LEUNG
poster by ANGUS LEUNG