July 2005


today(well, technically yesterday now that it’s after midnight) peter and i went to keelung to spend the afternoon hanging out with his friend edward. it was horribly hot as we walked around to various temples and the such. i took a ton of pictures, though i don’t have high hopes for most of them.

in the early evening we got back to taipei. peter went home as he was super tired, and eventhough i was also super tired i went to the last day of the formoz music festival. i’d mentioned before that there were two days when bands i’d like to see were playing. well, as luck would have it – the scheldule was changed so all the bands i wanted to see played on the same day on the same stage.

the first band up was a taiwanese band called mrs. something. i never quite caught what the name was as i couldn’t figure out the characters for the name. they were ok. they seemed like your typical local band, but at least they didn’t immediately remind me of another band.

the second band up was pixel toy. this is a band from hk that i was curious about. when they were setting up their equipment i thought i was going to like them. electric drums, some sort of keyboard(maybe a mini moog?), and this thing that was played by waving your hands over it. it was like a theremin, but no antenna, and it didn’t sound at all like a theremin. the laptop they were using also had video game controllers hooked up to it to play it. really cool. if pizzicato five had a more electronic edge they might have sounded like this. from the moment they got on stage they were ready for fun. just full of joy and it was definately infectious. the crowd seemed to really love them too. i bought their cd which has 4 music videos on it along with music. i haven’t had a chance to watch/listen to it yet. it’s a shame james wasn’t still in taiwan for this because he would have really loved it. the cd is on the people mountain people sea label. a few years ago eslite got in some releases on this label, but before i could get my butt in gear and buy them they sold out and they never got them in again. if the other releases on this label are anything like pixel toy, i’m going to want them.

the third band up was the konki duet from paris(for some reason i’ve often seen them credited as coming from taiwan). i knew a few of their songs from the comp for the grass festival i picked. they had some technical problems(not caused by them) but were quite nice. too bad they didn’t play at the grass festival as i think they would have been better suited to that environment. it’s not really the kind of music i want to stand up to. they did a song for/about cyndi lauper and a cover of queens of the stoneage. i’m not sure which song, but the cover version wasn’t bad. i’m curious what they are doing in taiwan though. i’m sure i’ve seen them on the mrt here before.

the fourth band up was the aprils. the leader of this band came to taiwan with hazel nuts chocolate. at that time i’d hoped the aprils would have come(eventhough i really dug hazel nuts chocolate). and here, i got my wish. they were super fun. there was one band member that seemed to push buttons in some box i couldn’t really see into, but other than that he just seemed to be there to dance along with the two singers. he was a bit on the campy side too – which just made it all the more fun. at certain points in the show they’d try to say something in chinese which usually amounted to something like “we are the aprils we come from japan” or “visit our website”. towards the end of the show he talked about how much he loves taiwan and the food. i’d love to see them do a proper show in a club all to themselves. i hope that happens one day.

the fifth band up was ymck. video game music. i know this is a genre into itself 8-bit or something. they reminded me of kraftwerk somewhat. if kraftwerk had a female singer and were doing music associated with early video games they may have been something like this. the show was tightly choreographed to the video projection going on behind them. the music and voices were so synthesized that i’m not entirely sure if they were really singing or just lip synching. regardless it was an impressive show. it’ll be interesting to see how it is to listen to their music without the visuals.

the sixth band i forget their name. i left after a few songs. i was rather tired, and i saw them at the grass festival(at least i think it was them – some of the same members) so didn’t really feel like i needed to see them again. what i saw felt like a rehearsal rather than a gig.

the shows made me super happy, but sad to think that i have yet to see a taiwanese band that can make me as happy as these japanese and hong kong bands. hopefully one day a taiwanese band will just totally take me by surprise in this respect.

how pathetic is it that i had to learn about this terrible story of two gay teens in iran executed for having sex from an online comic? was it just not deemed newsworthy or have i just missed it somehow? regardless, it’s horribly sad.

two interesting articles via the sound-scavengers list:

on-line file sharers buy more music. downloading music has lead me to buy a lot of music, but none of it in the form of an mp3. that may yet happen, but the files would have to have no restrictions attached to it for me to do so. of course the record labels are still putting on their typical spin on this trying to act like it’s not really true and refusing to look at other reasons why sales may be down.

music labels admit to payola:

IN 1980, according to a book about the music industry by Fredric Dannen called “Hit Men”, CBS Records decided to run an experiment with a band, Pink Floyd. Their concert dates were sold out in Los Angeles, and radio stations everywhere were playing “Another Brick in the Wall (Part Two)”. Dick Asher, the deputy president of CBS Records, wanted to find out whether the band’s popularity meant he could refuse to pay the usual bribes, or illegal “payola”, to the four big Top-40 radio stations in Los Angeles. Like stations across the country, they claimed to make independent choices based on taste. But Mr Asher lost; only after Pink Floyd’s manager insisted that CBS Records hand over the money did the stations spin the record.

so downloading music is bad, but paying radio stations to play your music is good? of course it looks like the labels are getting off with your typical slap on the wrist(via quiddity). i haven’t read much about the djs role in all this. personally, i think they should be banned from radio/entertainment business for their greed. inflicting the likes of j-lo and good charlotte on the public – can their be a punishment high enough for such crimes against humanity?

this week’s audioscrobbler chart. obviously i’m still on a bit of a henry mancini kick.

i’ve just begun to read the interviews in the vinyl will kill! book and it’s already having an effect. today i hit a bunch of toy stores to see if i could find anything cool like in the book. most of the vinyl toys seem to be from japan, but none of the cool tim biskup variety that i’m so craving. i did end up picking up the star blazers capsule toy set. luckily i found it for 190 nt which is even cheaper than if i’d gotten them individually from a machine. coolness.

some film festivals are coming to the taipei film spot that look quite good. first up is the ocean-ville festival. one of my favourite films – cyclo – is playing. quite a few of the films have english subs too. then from august 12th to the 26th is a festival called music in taiwan and mandarin films: a companionship. it looks like they haven’t put up the scheldule on line yet(at least if it is i can’t find it), but i picked up the poster(poorly pictured above) which contains the scheldule on the back. and it looks like quite a few of the films have english subs. sadly most of the newer films have no english subs.

after i picked up the scheldules for these festivals, i stepped outside and got out my camera to take a picture. someone from behind the ticket counter came out and told me you can’t take pictures. i wasn’t even inside the building. i asked him why but didn’t quite understand his explanation. seems ridiculous that a place that has hosted photography exhibits in the past wouldn’t want you to take pictures just outside their building. i often see people taking pictures out there, so i really don’t see what the big deal was. but as it is, he was too late and i’d already snapped my shot.

anyway, to continue with the film theme of this post – there’s a series of books coming out on the history of taiwanese cinema. of course there’s no mention as to whether the books will be in english or not. it sounds like something i’d definately want to pick up if they were in english.

oh, and it looks like there’ll be an asian lesbian film and video film festival next month. the english portion of the webpage seems in need of updating, but there’s a scheldule here in chinese.

echoes of forgotten places:

On the fringes of every city lie the relics of our industrial past. Swept aside to make way for condos and shopping malls or left to decay in silence: these huge structures stand as a testament to the acomplishments of the industrial age.

For many people around the world, these places hold a special fascination. Urban Explorers and industrial Archaeologists seek to preserve and explore the unseen and forgotten.

Echoes of Forgotten Places is a unique journey into locations rarely seen by the public. Visit decaying factories, decomissioned power stations, storm drains and many other mysterious places.

Stunning imagery and a haunting music score from Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins and treated piano by Leesa Beales caputures the moods and atmospheres of these strange, empty and decaying environments.

Echoes of Forgotten Places brings the past alive, illuminates the present, and points a cautionary way towards the future.

it sounds interesting. the clip available on the site is intriguing. but of possibly even more interest(at least for me) is that according to this tc.com thread(where i first heard about this) there are extra galleries on the dvd of still images some taken with toy cameras!

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