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Friday, February 5, 2010

Hong Kong bands-Elf Fatima

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In advance of the Mono show I got a chance to ask Paul and Eddie, guitarists in Elf Fatima a few questions and was quite surprised by some of their answers about the music they like and the post rock scene in Hong Kong.
First was Eddie Hui, ..

What are your main musical influences or what bands were you listening to when you formed Elf Fatima?

In the beginning, we were influenced by different genres like psychedelicspace-rock, post-punk, trip-hop, dark pop, shoegaze, noisenik and even some doom metal / gothic metal!

We listened to the music of Pink Floyd, Massive Attack, Portishead, Joy Division, Spiritualised, The Verve, Death in Vegas, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Garbage, Cardigans, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride.

What's the best gig Elf Fatima have played?

Maybe it was with Mogwai in 2004 ...

Best gig you've seen?

Must be Mono 10th Anniversary live with an orchestra in Shibuya O-EAST, Tokyo.That 's the first time I've seen a band crossover with an orchestra live and I was very impressed.

You've appeared with Mogwai and Mono.Any other artist you'd love to play with?

What if Godspeed You! Black Emperor were live in Hong Kong? Ha Ha! Impossible!

Any favourite post rock bands?

So many, Mono GY! BE, World's End Girlfriend, Envy, Mogwai

Best and worst things about the post rock scene in Hong Kong?

It's like a coin with two sides.There are not many bands so we are quite distinctive. On the other hand it's a real disadvantage that the scene is so small

Any plans or shows to watch out for this year?

We really hope to release our 3rd album in 2010!

Paul Chung

What albums have you bought recently?

 World's End Girlfriend-OST


Mono-Hymn to the Immortal Wind

Mensheng-Twisted Sight

Chochukmo-The King lost His Pink

Casino Demon-Teenage


Dreamend-The Long Forgotten Friend (Japanese edition)

Bang Gang-Ghosts From the Past

Triple Smash-When the Light Goes

What other stuff are you listening to at the moment?

Chopin, Do Say Make Think, Envy, Kashiwa Daisuke Kashiwa Daisuke (seems will come to HK
soon : D) ... ...

Musical influences / what artists, bands, styles were you into when you formed Elf Fatima?

Oh, lots of stuff, melodic songs and not just post rock

What's the best gig you've played?

Wang Wen + Elf fatima + Zhaozhe-3 Post-rock bands @ Guangzhou and Hong Kong (2008)

Steve Vai-Hitec (2004), Mogwai-Hitec (2004) Wonderful white noise!

Favourite Hong Kong venue?

No idea, all the stages are too small, maybe the Fringe club because the sound is so good.

You've appeared with Mogwai and Mono.Any other bands you'd like to share a stage with?

Envy (Japan). I like heavy music!

Any favourite postrock bands / musicians?

Jian Tak Building, Kim Tak Building, No One Remains Virgin, Fragile, Downer ...

Best / And worst things about the Hong Kong (post) rock scene)?

Best Things - everybody can play good music ....

Worst Things - not too much people spend money / time to attend post-rock concert, even oversea's famous bands!

Any plans or shows coming up next year?

Release new album 2010!!!

Elf Fatima are supporting  Secret Machines on 17th March @ Grappa's Hong Kong. 

For lots of info on these bands, downloads etc visit thesirenssound

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mono 10th Anniversary Tour in Hong Kong

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Why do Hong Kong indie fans love post rock so much? Is it the emotion and the complexity?Does the music give us some kind of personal space in a frantic,overpopulated city devoted to technology?
Or are music fans and bands here just  a lot more experimental and eclectic in their tastes than we realise?
Mono from Japan have achieved iconic status in the post rock genre and were appearing live in the city.
In support were Elf Fatima, local post rock heroes whom I first heard of when I asked a highly knowledgeable local band member 'Who's your favourite Hong Kong band?'.
'Elf Fatima' was his reply and ever since then I've tried to check out shows from this band who seem to be the band of choice for supporting Postrock monsters like Mogwai and Mono ..

First on the bill were Ghanzhou outfit Zhazhou (aka The Swamp). The band use traditional Chinese instruments as well as electric guitars, giving them a sound somewhere between Beijing bands Lonely China Day and The Gar with quqin player and guitarist at times going onto his knees to play in real rock hero style.Some beautifully structured songs synthesising traditional and modern.An awesome opening set from this band with lots of energy and brimming with musical ideas.The band have been around since 1993 so can clainm to have been at the forefront of China's experimental musical scene.

Elf Fatima play post rock that's heavy in the style of Explosions in the Sky with some of the same complexity but with a rockier edge and a slow building psychedelic groove that erupts into an explosion of sound.The band begin their set with the melancholy 'Michelle the Cellist ', Eddie and Paul's guitars gliding elegantly over the melody on top of the percussion before turning up the volume controls for the rest of the set which they bring to a gloriously cataclysmic conclusion with' I See the Light 'Before the Planet Explodes / .
1. Michelle the Cellist
2. Battle of Sunset
3. Walk away from the dark cave
4.I see the light before the planet explodes

Such a small venue is really perfect for the sound of Mono In the quiet parts, every note rings out crystal clear on songs like 'Ashes in the Snow'and for the climaxes we were almost deafened by the waves of feedback saturated power chords. The standout for me was the finale with a near 15 minute version of 'Everlasting Light' building slowly to a blizzard of guitar and percussion for the finale.
Hymn To The Immortal Wind seems like a more cinematic progression from 'You Are There' and of the 3 bands playing tonight Mono seem like the most classically influenced in their sound.

Not just a bandshow: we have been to post rock heaven.