Head Composer – Lost in The Northern Sea

Head Composer, a psychedelic doom band straight out of Taipei City, Taiwan coming at you with this four-track EP. Drawing on a variety of influences from the Stoner, Doom and psychedelic genres, Head Composer has created a seamless soundscape that flows in and out of the lighter psychedelic side of things and then delves deep into the doom.

Check out their Bandcamp & Facebook pages below:

https://headcomposer.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/HeadComposer/

Fuermosha

Fuermosha 2 color

Many artists want to be cool. And why not? After all, coolness is all about being calm, confident, and getting what you want without appearing to make any effort. Against this popular ideal, however, Taiwanese post-rock band Fuermosha adopt a quite different yet equally powerful ethos—that of warm. To emphasize the point, the band’s Mandarin name is Nuan Dao, which literally means warm island. The ‘island’ being referred to here is of course Taiwan (‘Fuermosha’, by the way, is what you get when Taiwan’s other name, Formosa, is written in Chinese characters – 福爾摩沙), and you would be forgiven for thinking that ‘warm’ refers to Taiwan’s tropical climate. But it’s much more than that. It’s also a description of the national character—friendly, easy-going, peaceful, and warm.

This warmth is always there in Fuermosha’s  music. The gentle ebb and flow of their small but impressive collection of melodic compositions definitely produces a warm, soothing, comforting, and at times almost narcotic feeling in the listener. Which is just what these four young Tainan-based musicians are trying to achieve. Life, they say, inevitably has its ups and downs, but the warmth of humanity is always there. We just have to have our attention drawn to it.

The sound is not unlike more well-known Taiwanese post-rock bands such as Sugar Plum Ferry, Pleiades, and Selfkill. There’s plenty of variation in volume, but it never gets loud for long, and it always seems to flow along at a leisurely 70 to 80 bpm. There’s no droning—the lead guitar always sounds bright, with a clear ringing reverb sound that never gets drowned by the only slightly distorted rhythm guitar. The bass is really smooth and liquidy, and the gentle cymbal swells and snare rolls of the drums further add to the atmospheric sound. The surprising thing is that the band’s members come from quite diverse non-post-rock backgrounds that include heavy metal and pop.

Their live show is a real pleasure. Unlike some post rock bands I’ve seen who sit down for the entire performance, don’t  talk to the audience or even look at them very much, Fuermosha play with passion and spend time between songs to talk about them and the philosophy behind them. The performance is enhanced with recordings of natural sounds such as waves. In my opinion, some video projections of Taiwan’s natural beauty would make it even better.

Fuermosha have been together for a year. The members are Joy Liu (劉樵) lead guitar, Bingze Gan (甘秉澤) rhythm guitar, Jack Chen (陳瑋) bass, and Chih-ying Chen (陳致穎) drums.

Their first EP is due for release in early 2018. After which there will be a hiatus while the members do their military service. Currently, their music can be heard on Streetvoice and Youtube. High quality downloads are available from Indievox and they can be contacted through their Facebook page.

Hope The Flowers

IMG_9049-19.jpg

Music, as we know it, has a definitive and distinct impact on us, this is why music in all its infinite forms, genres, and methods of delivery, have for centuries held such importance in the development of humankind. One of the earliest forms and reasons for the creation of music was to tell stories, and pass down traditions. This reason is still very much alive, and can be seen in the musical output of bands such as ‘Hope the Flowers’.

Hope the Flowers is a Thai based post rock band that formed in March 2013 out of the initial solo project of Narongrit Ittipolnavakul, who plays guitar. The line-up was complete when Chananan Janthorn (guitar), Wasin Wainiya (keyboards), and Panuwit Naksuppanit (bass) joined to round off the band.

IMG_9055-24.jpg

Coming from Samut Prakan, a central Thai province in the Gulf of Thailand, they have been able to forge a sound very unique to themselves. Their sound has evolved over time to what it is today, but started out as an influence drawn from Asian movies, especially those coming out of Japan. Narongrit witnessed the scenery of Japan through these moving pictures, fields of cherry blossoms, landscapes filled with snow, and attempted to harness these images by communicating this through their music. The music would go on to become the sonic expression of images usually bound by the movie screen.

IMG_9048-18.jpg

The music would go on to evolve, later incorporating influences from Asian melody-like singing, accompanied by a heavy rhythm, Hope the Flowers were starting to find their sound. There is also a major Taiwanese, and Japanese post-rock sound in their music. All these added together makes for a kaleidoscope of sounds.

So far Hope the Flowers have released one album, with a second one on the way for the middle of this year. In their first album, Narongrit attempts to compare his life with the nature of things that surround him, this led him to title the album “Nature of Everything”. All the track titles are nature orientated and come from Narongrit himself. Through this album there is a sense of what Narongrit described in his own words “Life has happiness, hope, sadness, sorrow. Everything is human nature”

IMG_9051-21.jpg

Their second album due for release soon communicates something a little different. The album appropriately named “I miss you” speaks of the emotional connection we have with those around us. It’s about missing someone you love, someone you haven’t seen for a long time, and perhaps even someone you have never met before.  This album created a new approach to the way in which Narongrit and the rest of the band write their music. In their first album “Nature of everything”, Narongrit led most of the song writing. This has changed in the writing of their second album where band members have been given the artistic freedom to add their own lines. It started out as initial melodies which then were later turned into tracks by adding MIDI drums, keyboards, guitar riffs, and bass lines.

Make sure to check out Hope the Flowers the next time they tour your area. In the meantime keep an eye on their band camp page for more details on their next release.

Facebook page

Pleiades

IMG_9004-10

Pleiades, the Greek mythological story that speaks of the seven daughters of Atlas who were turned into a group of stars does much to describe this band and its sound, a sonic journey through space and time. A post-rock band from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Pleiades has solidified a name for themselves in the local music scene playing at all major venues on a regular basis across the island. If you are one that attends regular music events the chances of you coming across Pleiades is very high.

Pleiades formed in 2011 when guitarist and loop specialist, Turn Lin, started to forge the idea of the band. It wasn’t until June 2013 when drummer Andy Ho joined to mark the official beginning of Pleiades. Today Pleiades has a full line up consisting of Drummer,冠橋(Guan-ciao), Bassist 名家(Ming-jia), Guitar/loop:林轉(Turn Lin), Guitar:黃甯(Flower)

IMG_8971-3.jpg

When asked about their influences, they are quick to point out some of Taiwan’s other established post-rock groups, including Sugar Plum Ferry from Taipei, Taiwan. Other notable influences include, This Will Destroy You, CASPIAN, Tokyo Shoegazer, and cinematic such as Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The sound that they have created is fully enveloped in the name they have chosen for themselves, it dreams up images of space travel, planetary exploration and the depths of the unknown beyond our solar system, but then it brings you back down to earth on a quest to look into ourselves, to realize our place on this planet.

IMG_8968-2.jpg

When asked the question, “What do you wish to communicate through your music?” the answer is a deep and complex one that shows much deliberation and thought has gone into the way in which this band aim to sound and what it is they wish to project onto their audience, the answer is as follows:

“We do not wish to send out a particular message through our music. Our music shares our feelings about life, yet we hope that our listeners can search deep within themselves and through listening to our music, find a message from their heart.”

“Post-rock is a very special type of music that doesn’t use words to mention a particular object. Hence, it allows people to connect with their own personal experience. The answers and stories to what the music means only exists in the individual.

IMG_9009-12

Beyond race, culture, region and generations, we hope that we can share our feeling about the world and life with our listeners.”

“Feelings are too abstract to put into words and letters due to their limits. Therefore, music is the best way express those feelings.

Our music contains our respect to the universe and the greatness of nature, the thoughts of individuals and life, our objections to society and system.

Through music, we have a way to express more than “true or false”, “right or wrong”.

We hope we can strike a chord in every individual’s personal experience, thoughts, and feelings.”

IMG_8981-5

It is clear that Pleiades have an insatiable drive to forge ahead with their music and their sound. With only one EP released in 2014, “M45”, they have been able to tour and gain a respectable following. New music is currently in the process of being written and should be due for release this year. With new music in the pipeline, Pleiades have expressed their intention of a tour to foreign countries, taking their music and their message to more people by cooperating with movie productions, visual artists and short films.

Make sure to catch Pleiades on their next tour or show near you. In the meantime you can listen to their music through a variety of sources, just follow the links below:

 

Street Voice | Band camp | Facebook

The Devils & Libido @ Rocks

IMG_9358-2

Rocks, Kaohsiung 3/31/2017 saw yet another fantastic lineup of international artists perform as part of the pre-Spring Scream party. Deer Mx, from Hong Kong, set the tone with their unique blend of trip hop and electronic down tempo, while COMezik a three piece all girl band from Japan set the stage alight with their energy and powerful garage punk sound. The night was left on a high note with an immense performance by The Devils & Libido, from Japan, who brought a powerful mix of alternative noise and hardcore sounds. An intimate crowd gathered to witness the nights preceding’s.

IMG_9362-4.jpg

The Devils & Libido are without a doubt one the most gargantuan bands to have played at Rocks in recent memory. This was their second performance to date at this iconic Kaohsiung venue, and marked a brief stopover on the road to the Spring Scream festival, and they did not disappoint. For those witnessing their performance for the first time it really was something unique and somewhat outrageous.

IMG_9383-6.jpg

The Devils & Libido are a two piece alternative noise core band from Tokyo, Japan. One of the most explosive two piece acts around, The Devils & Libido have crafted a huge sound from a variety of influences, packed all these influences into a concise arrangement of sounds,  stripped it down and made some of the most uniquely powerful music around. Consisting only of a drummer and a bassist they have collectively created a sound one would expect from a symphony of a larger magnitude. Their influences come from unexpected places, Sun Ra, Lightning Bolt and even Metallica are cited as having influenced their sound. The drumming is unreal, expertly executed, in time and on point. Its funky, its hard rock, its jazz, its loud, its fast however delicate at the same time. The bass literally screams at the audience and as the genre they abide by suggests, it’s noisy, high energy packaged in a high energy performance. The two musicians complement each other in their contrasting approaches to their instruments and the way it which they perform.

IMG_9384-7.jpg

Founded in 2015, The Devils & Libido are constantly touring and playing gigs, big or small, indoor or outdoor. They have applied their own theory to the way in which they go about performing, playing and producing their music. This theory, as so eloquently stated by their bassist, is known as the ‘Fuck off theory’ or in other terms an explosion of human energy that they try to capture through their performances. Their writing technique is one of a pretty straight forward nature, simply put, play what feels and sounds good.

The Devils & Libido have their sights set on the future, with many more tours planned around the world they plan on spreading their noise throughout the globe. This a band you definitely do not want to miss the next time they are in your neck of the woods.

COMezik @ Rocks

IMG_9341-24

Rocks, Kaohsiung 3/31/2017 saw yet another fantastic lineup of international artists perform as part of the pre-Spring Scream party. Deer Mx, from Hong Kong, set the tone with their unique blend of trip hop and electronic down tempo, while COMezik a three piece all girl band from Japan set the stage alight with their energy and powerful garage punk sound. The night was left on a high note with an immense performance by The Devils & Libido, from Japan, who brought a powerful mix of alternative noise and hardcore sounds. An intimate crowd gathered to witness the nights preceding’s.

COMezik, a three piece all-girl garage punk rock band may sound like a mouth full, a powerful, energetic band of young ladies ready to blow up any stage they set their instruments on. They arrive peacefully, innocently, having not seen the band before one would not be prepared for the explosion of sound they unleash upon the crowd, and they whirl you around in hyperactive circles, and then leave the stage as peacefully as they arrived.

IMG_9283-3.jpg

The band, originally from Japan, Tokyo has an absolutely endless amount of energy on stage and project this energy through an engaging performance. Lin, bass & vocals, Satomi on drums, and Mariya on guitar have created a sound which reminds one of the garage punk scene of the late 80s. However, there are glimpses of other genres such as funk, rock, and occasionally indie influences which make this band such a delight to see. The performance lies in their never ending amounts of energy that just bound from the stage in waves of sonic vibrations. It is fun, energetic and an expertly delivered performance to say the least. With Lin’s bass holding down the rhythm and her fast paced vocals sung at a relentless pace she still manages to leap and move around the stage in a way that engages the audience, swaying backwards, forwards, left and right. Mariya on the other hand compliments the sound with her guitar and backing vocals, she too steps forward towards the crowd in bursts of liveliness. Satomi brings it all together with drum beats that match the passion, power and enthusiasm in their music.

IMG_9299-11.jpg

COMezik formed in 2009, they settled on a name that had ancient origins, but a name that would describe their music and their ultimate embodiment of their performance. Comezik, as it is written, means “life” in ancient Asian island language. This idea of life is instinctively inherent in their music and molds together so effortlessly through their sole purpose of creating a high energy musical performance.

“I just want to live well, but I do not feel alive?” Shout out the question of “existence of self’ which does not stop at loud heavy rock. – COMezik

Deer Mx @ Rocks

IMG_9244-27

Rocks, Kaohsiung 3/31/2017 saw yet another fantastic lineup of international artists perform as part of the pre-Spring Scream party. Deer Mx, from Hong Kong, set the tone with their unique blend of trip hop and electronic down tempo, while COMezik a three piece all girl band from Japan set the stage alight with their energy and powerful garage punk sound. The night was left on a high note with an immense performance by The Devils & Libido, from Japan, who brought a powerful mix of alternative noise and hardcore sounds. An intimate crowd gathered to witness the nights preceding’s.

IMG_9224-11.jpg

Deer Mx is a band that one really has to see in order to believe, feel and hear. Made up of the duo which is Adriana Martinez and Miguel Bastida, the group, originally from Mexico now based in Hong Kong, have produced and honed their craft on their own terms. From a classically trained music background Miguel brings an experience of composition and song structure while Adriana, who has studied ethnomusicology, brings a folk like presence to their music accompanied by her passion for various forms of traditional and ethnic music. This lends itself to something truly original, but represents a departure from the areas they have trained in. Pulling from a variety of influences and genres, Deer have created a musical experience that gives the listener glimpses of the greats such as Massive Attack, Bjork, Portishead and Nine Inch Nails. Their sound drifts from hard industrial bass lines with pummeling drums to lighter sounds that create a sensation of floating, of traveling on clouds. Electronic percussion to surging synths, piano and electric guitar all culminate around Adriana’s beautifully powerful and nostalgic vocals to create a piece of music that is full of contrasts.

IMG_9256-29.jpg

The writing process for their music is the opposite of which they have trained for. Through free play and improvisation they are able to guide the writing process a long in a natural, organic way which lends itself to the creation of their unique sound. While structuring the songs an atmosphere is created within which certain characters are created or their perceptions and feelings of the world is inserted into the lyrics. From vampiric erotic experiences in the track “The Blue Dark” to a perspective on illegal immigration in “Wild eyes” there is a variety of music material that is expertly delivered.

As unique as their music, Deer add a more unique aspect to their performance by attempting to break the boundary between themselves and the audience. This is achieved at the end of the set when Miguel removes his deer mask and presents it to a member of the audience who then becomes a free entity to dance and move as they wish. Conceived in 2015 and designed by Wintercroft Designers, the mask not only represents their name, but is used as a way in which they create an element of engagement with the audience that is free of inhibitions, much in the same way Deer create their music.

IMG_9273-31.jpg

In only a matter of four years, Deer have been able to forge ahead and create a name for themselves within a relatively short amount of time. This is due in part to their massive touring schedule which has seen them play at many of Asia’s top music festivals such as Clockenflap (HK) Zandari Fest (KR) Wake Up Festival (TW) Unlimited Freedom Fest (TW) and Spring Scream (TW) to name a few.

Make sure to catch Deer Mx the next time they are in your area. For more information check out their website and Facebook page.

News and reviews of indie music in Taiwan. Includes local and touring bands, with a special focus on psychedelic, post rock, doom metal, stoner rock, shoegaze … (you get the idea).