Dark Himaya

Live review from Underground 108:

1. Silent Protest
2. Bia
3. Distraction
4. Isadora
5. Personal Demon
6. Papercut in Your Eye

The night started off with Dark Himaya, returning to our stage after nearly two years, and what better way to kick off being on the gig market again by playing the Underground? Having released their album in March, they started off with a big lineup change, having the very popular Tetsuya joining them after their original drummer left earlier this year. I suppose it’s fitting that with them looking to move on (presumably) after getting their songs on their album, they choose a drummer with a noticeably contrasting style. With many more fills and a more driving and persistent style behind the drums, Dark Himaya sound invigorated. Even better, they’ve been changing up many aspects of their songs, such as adding elaborated intros to their songs, changing up some solo-ed bits, and generally adding new textures to their songs, which always makes for interesting listening.

The classic elements that made up their music are still pretty much intact, though; Ivy’s dominating vocals set against Aileen’s more placid ones, with very smooth, melodic, drawling bass. Bia and Papercut in Your Eye are a particularly good example of this, with the two vocal lines perfectly creating mood for the others to play on. The contrast between the vocals is as rich as ever, creating deep and layered atmosphere, the sort that can make you feel tingly and give you goosebumps. The faster (or so it sounded to me) execution of the songs in particular was a point of difference that made some songs noticably different; Isadora, for instance, was one in which Tetsuya’s more busy style of drums really shined. However, I do feel that Distraction went on a tad too long as I found it a little repetitive. The guitars have also gotten more adventurous over the years, with the simple metallic, solid sound exploring more gained and phased tones, against which the lovely keyboards sound even more pristine, as in Papercut in Your Eye and Isadora. All in all, a good way to start off the show.

— Shashwati Kala


Live review from Girls with Guitars #5:


1. Subtle Knife

2. Cursed Muse

3. Bia

4. Silent Protest

5. Personal Demon

6. Papercut in Your Eye

Dark Himaya’s self-declared ‘jazz-grunge’ really kicked off the night with the perfect brooding atmosphere that showcased the silvery vocals of the two lead singers. The awesome range and impressive vocals of the singers really resonated, especially when Ivy and Aileen combine on some fantastic sounding harmonies, such as on ‘Papercut in Your Eye’. However, I felt the songs of Dark Himaya seemed to almost work in a reverse way, with the voice accompanying the silvery music as opposed to the usual way round. In a way, it wasn’t the lyrics that mattered as much as the overall melodic fusion of the silvery sound of the keyboard and velvety vocal chords, unobtrusively accompanied by the drums and bass. The distinct sound really made it a fantastic set to kick off the Girls with Guitars 5 gig.

– Sophia Chan

The Underground “Girls with Guitars 5”812日於Backstage舉行,承接以往的 “Girls with Guitars”系列,音樂會的焦點放在各女樂手身上(雖然男樂手都很有吸引力),再次為觀眾帶來精彩的演出。

第一隊演出的樂隊是演奏Jazz GrungeDark Himaya,樂隊成員包括主音兼結他手Ivy Fernie、和唱兼鍵盤的Aileen Alonzo 、低音結他手Alejandro Dini 及鼓手 Keith Woodfin。當晚他們的演出很流暢,開始時以較為輕快而富節奏感的歌曲為觀眾熱身,包括“Subtle Knife”“Cursed Muse”主音Ivy的歌聲雄厚而具磁性,演奏第三首歌曲“BIA”時,更與鍵盤的Aileen演唱二部合唱,兩位均唱功了得。一隊樂隊通常有一位歌聲了得的主音已經很出色,但Dark HimayaIvyAileen都有唱得之人,加倍出色。“Personal Demon”一曲有Aileen如清泉般的琴音,爽快利落。最後一曲 “Papercut in Your Eye”的曲風一轉,是一首比較柔和的作品,更能發揮Ivy的唱功,而她那帶點神秘感的歌聲,彷彿要舒解生活於煩囂都市中人的心靈。Dark Himaya成立於20094月,短短兩年多便已經有多首出色的作品,並活躍於多個演出場地,十分難得。


Message from Dark Himaya about CD 4 Launch Party A:

Having the opportunity to be in The Underground CD is one of the coolest things an indie band in Hong Kong can end up doing and every Underground event is always special in its own way. Underground HK is a great motivator for us artists and we are thankful that there is such an event here in Hong Kong. Thank you Chris B and to your crew who always put up a good show!

– Ivy & Ales (Dark Himaya)

This being the first time we’ve ever laid tracks for Dark Himaya, so we were excited and nervous at the same time. Thanks to Chris B. for inviting us to be part of the Compilation CD series, we had a great experience! Koya was helpful in the studio and made the recording relaxing, fun and interesting. To our friends who have always been there (Lei and Emily never missed a show!), you are the coolest people in the world. To our fellow musos, let’s continue doing our best in breathing sweet, melodious life into this indie-music barren land of cookie-cutter pop ballads. Cheers to The Underground!

– Aileen (Dark Himaya)

U_KLN_047.jpgLive Review from Underground Kowloon #1

Set list

1. Bia

2. Cursed Muse

3. Isadora

4. Papercut in Your Eye

5. Personal Demons

Well, what a pleasant surprise. Having never heard Dark Himaya play, going off their name I thought I was going to be listening to a heavy rock band with screaming vocals and crashing guitar. What I was presented with instead was a refreshing and atmospheric set spearheaded by not one but two fantastic female vocalists. Personally the revelation of two great female singing voices in one band already had me on side, helped along by a solid and entertaining pop sounding element. The voices of both singers although strong and interesting alone, worked best and most effectively when joined together in some fantastic harmonies. Unfortunately due to some microphone issues and with no full band sound check, almost half of those moments were lost by a dead microphone.

Moving on from the vocals, I felt that the songs were very well structured and the whole set followed a strong strain strengthening Dark Himaya’s sound. The Bass, although perhaps a bit too domineering in places, added an extra enticing ingredient and the drums were used sparingly and effectively to accentuate the vocals and chords. The band seemed to grow in confidence as the set progressed. A slightly unsteady start developed into a captivating and intriguing performance that kept the crowd watching throughout.

In terms of the set list, the highlights for me were Papercut in my eye and Bia. I really look forward to seeing Dark Himaya play a lot more shows and develop the showmanship and confidence that was emerging towards the end of their set. All in all they have the potential to really build on their unique sound and impressive vocal talents.

– Heather

U94_023.JPGLive Review from Underground 94:


1. Subtle Knife

2. Across Morpheus’ Palm

3. Giving Away Gizmo

4. Distraction

5. False Hope

6. Papercut in Your Eye

7. Personal Demons (Encore)

The kind of music that Dark Himaya plays could be said to rest on one thing – atmosphere. Every element of their music is essential in contributing to a moody, synaesthetic soundscape that unquestionably stems from their very canny use of instrumentation and vocals, set against the rudimentary pop-song structure. This was clearly something that had connected with their past audiences, as there was the biggest turnout I’d seen for the first band of a night. Subtle Knife began with a very mellow intro on the keys, and it is immediately evident that Ivy has really got a set of pipes, moving into some nicely structured harmonies between her and Aileen, with the bridge having mainly downstroked chords (– some punk roots showing, perhaps?)

Across Morpheus’ Palm was introduced as being loosely based on the character, and was followed by some very John Frusciante/Lou Reed –esque use of the guitar; i.e. not as a leading instrument, but for backing effects, really underscoring the brevity in their music. Further accentuating how clued in they’ve been to pop culture in the past 20 years, Giving Away Gizmo was announced as being based on the character from Gremlins. Unlike the mogwai, however, the song was less cute than it was deep and brooding, beginning with a smooth bassline and contrastingly abrasive guitar work, and a very hummable bassline during the chorus. Distraction and False Hope served to further emphasise the synergy created by the band – semi-minimalist in terms of ornamentation, making every effect used significant.

Papercut in Your Eye is one song that could really be taken up several notches by using some deliberately set up lighting or video, a la the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, with some frantic chords and very dark/murky notes, backed up by a solid backbeat. The encore which they said they’d “try to do”, began with a highly delayed guitar, and the notable use of drums for only accents, and not fills, set against very smooth bass, really bringing out the ‘maya’ (Hindi for illusion/magic) in Himaya.

— Shashwati

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