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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big in Japan(and elsewhere)

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One of the many advantages of living in Hong Kong is picking up on the many Asian bands who make a visit here mainly through the influence of local bands.Last week   Elf Fatima gave us a 2 day event with Pg.lost.This week The Lovesong and  alternative music lover  Gary Ieong of Whitenoise records are presenting 2 highly popular Japanese outfits:instrumental/mathrock virtuosos Toe and Buddhistson.
The buzz of excitement surrounding the first show was evident when we arrived at the venue to join a very long line waiting at least an hour before the doors opened for a prime spot  near the stage at The Hangout.
The central stage provided us with an intimate close up view of the performers and created great rapport between band and audience.First on was Shima, lead vocalist of Buddhistson who are appearing in Hong Kong, next wekgiving us a gentle ,acoustic introduction to next  week's electric show.

 Shima (Buddhistson) acoustic set

Headliners Toe last played in Hong Kong two years ago in a legendary set which is still remembered with awe and affection.This set was just as awesome but with a much more intimate.feelingSound was also perfect with a stack of Orange amps specially hired for the show and instruments tuned to perfection by the band's awesome sound technician as the band conjured up intricate,shimmering soundscapes with versions of material from their recent album'For Long Tomorrow' for our pleasure.There are not too many times that Hong Kong audiences beg for 3 encores but this was one of them as they brought one of Asia's best shows this year to a close.

 Japanese band Toe 'Long Tomorrow'

Buddhistson will be appearing live @ M1 on 27/10/10

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Asian postrocktoberfest in Hong Kong

Sometimes the best and most exciting new bands have to wait a while for their indie fanbase to catch up with their sound like Radiohead,Arcade Fire .That's just a fact of the indie scene in Hong Kong as elsewhere where the music is promoted by a few dedicated  friends or fans rather than the commercial machine.This problem is accentuated for bands in less mainstream genres like postrock and bands like Explosions in the Sky,Sigur Ros were inevitably slow to build their current fanbase.
Two of Asia's best instrumental bands,Hua Lun from China and Ovum from Japan, seemed to be suffering from that syndrome  at The Hangout last night,a venue which was packed the night before for local band Fragile's farewell gig along with Swedish postrockers Pg.Lost but which lacked the atmosphere that bands of this calibre merit.In fact members of the supporting band paul and Eddie agreed with me that Ovum were technically and idea-wise miles ahead of any bands they'd seen for a while.
Hua Lun opened the show in an uptempo mood before shifting to a more downbeat tempo that seemed to have influences from bands like  Caspian and Explosions in the Sky.

Next on were local postrock heroes Elf Fatima who helped to organise the show  and  have also played legendary sets with Mogwai and Mono among others. The band have been one of the pioneers of the postrock sound and were responsible for getting this two-day show organised and this was another of their trademark sets ,full of melodic invention and sonic explosions.

Elf fatima @ myspace
I was highly impressed by the set from Japanese band Ovum whose sound is more mathrock than postrock ,reminiscent of their compatriots Te .
If you agree that Japanese postrock bands add something unique to the genre,taking into account bands as diverse as Mono and World's End Girlfriend,then fairly soon Ovum will be rated amomgst their more well known compatriots.I advise anyone interested in the genre to catch this band live or at least check them out online.
Check out this band on myspace

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pg.Lost live @ Hangout

PG.Lost live in Hong Kong with Fragile was not the apocalyptic,earshattering event I expected but an evening full of beautiful postrock melodies which left us all with warm,fuzzy feelings.
In fact the band are much closer in a melodic sense to Explosions in the Sky than to Mogwai and in this show they were perfectly matched in melodic intent with local band Fragile,who were playing a farewell gig before disbanding or at least taking a long break..

For those of us who think there are far too many bands in every indie genre and not enough postrock bands that's a loss.In fact the band played with a kind of passion and intensity that made their aethereal  postrock harmonies  linger in the memory  like a dazzling sonic pyrotechnic display.
Fragile's unique debut and farewell album 'White Shadows' is available from whitenoise records.whitenoiserecords hong kong 
Ode to Joy
PG.Lost may not be as well known as more established postrock bands like Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky but they are fast gaining admirers outside of their native Sweden on the strength of their two albums and great live sets.In fact they seemed overwhelmed by the reaction of the crowd who refused to leave until they had played 3 encores.This postrock band from Sweden should soon have a worldwide following on the strength of their live shows. 

Pg.lost on myspace

PG.lost album 'in Never Out' is also available from whitenoiserecords.