Jan 07

Asian Music Update

Written by Steve on Thursday, January 7th, 2010 at 6:40 am
Filed under:culture, media, music, Photos, video | Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,
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TheAnalogGirl_bRather than stick to just one country, I thought I’d highlight underground music from Hong Kong on this post and add a little bit from the rest of Asia on the end. On the left is the Analog Girl, one of the hottest acts on the continent. Hailing from Singapore, the electro-rock chanteuse was named by TIME magazine as one of the 5 Music Acts to Watch in 2008. Since that time she’s toured the world with her unique sound.

I also got interested in the underground music scene in Hong Kong after I discovered “The Underground Channel” on YouTube.  After the jump, we’ll feature videos from Quasar, Tacit Closet, Soler, The Sinister Left, DJ Matthew Veith, Hardpack, Audiotraffic and Poubelle International. We’ll also hear from Jakarta’s Goodnight Electric, Malaysia’s Zee Avi and Beijing’s P.K. 14 along with Japan’s Vamp and YMCK. Finally for some of the older crowd, I want to introduce a couple of Enka style acts from Japan, which is surprisingly similar (at least to me) of some of the classic Chinese singers.

Today’s collection is very eclectic so hopefully there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Let’s start out with The Analog Girl at Bliss in Taipei. A pioneer in the local scene who defined the genre that is laptop rock, The Analog Girl first sprung into the international spotlight when American sportswear giant Nike featured a track from her debut self-released, self-produced album The TV Is On on their European ad campaign Changing The Game in 2005. Since then she’s been touring all over the world. This song is called “All Night”:

Hong Kong’s Poubelle International is composed of Johan Persson, David Ericsson and Ben McCarthy. I got a kick out of this video showing older people practicing qigong in the park… well, not exactly but you’ll see:

Also from Hong Kong, Audiotraffic is composed of Adrian da Silva, Don Cruz, Glenn Bogador and Ferdie Ramos. Audiotraffic actively contribute to the Hong Kong entertainments scene having co-written and performed on the soundtrack for the 2003 Eason Chan and Louis Koo film ‘Naked Ambition’, and appeared in Jackie Chan’s 2004 film ‘New Police Story’. They’re straightforward indie-rock in the Brit style.

Hardpack is a fun little punk rock band from HK. They formed in 2001 so they’ve been on the scene for almost a decade. Give ’em a listen:

Quasar is a strange combination… four guys from Nepal, the USA, France and New Zealand that ended up in Hong Kong and put together a band. Well, being that it’s Hong Kong, maybe it isn’t so unusual. They’re the first band I’m featuring from the Underground Channel:

Jackie, Vanilla & Dave formed Tacit Closet in 2007. Though still pretty new, they’ve been working the circuit, paying their dues and putting together new material. Here they are singing “Out of Tune”, again on the Underground Channel:

Soler equals Julio & Dino Acconci, SiuMing & Ding. The offspring of an Italian father and Karen mother, Julio & Dino started the band in their home town of Macao. Though this song is in English, they’re capable of singing in seven languages!

The Sinister Left was formed in 2005 by four expatriates in Hong Kong. Definitely alternative, they have an ’80s post punk feel:

Originally from Canada, he’s young but extremely talented. Check out Macao’s Matthew Veith with his progressive electronica and techno tunes:

From Malaysia but recently relocated to Los Angeles after she signed on with Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records, Zee Avi has one of the clearest voices I’ve ever heard. She is a very, very talented acoustic musician:

Indie, Pop, New Wave… Jakarta’s Goodnight Electric fits into all three categories. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the vitality of Indonesia’s music scene. This is one fun band:

Here’s a clever video from Beijing’s P.K. 14… enjoy!

If you follow J-Rock at all, you’re familiar with L’arc~en~Ciel’s Hyde. You’d also know K.A.Z. from Oblivion Dust. Well, they got together to form VAMPS so here’s a taste of what they have to offer:

What happens when you mix cute female vocals with your old Nintendo player? You get a chiptune band named YMCK!

The last two artists perform in the Enka style of Japan. I’ll start with Fuyumi Sakamoto performing a type of Japanese “country music”.

Last but not least is Jero, a male Enka singer whose grandmother was Japanese and taught him both the language and this singing style. He’s not what you might expect…

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15 Responses to “Asian Music Update”

  1. Zepplin Says:

    I like YMCK and that song as well …


    … How fitting for fool’s mountain

  2. Natalie Says:

    cool videos thanks

  3. Steve Says:

    YouTube had a glitch with the Zee Avi song so I substituted another video, this one from the Carson Daly show.

  4. Vinnie Says:

    Hey, thanks for the posts. Btw, for those of you who like Vamps, you really missed out. They went on an American Tour this year. I saw them in Baltimore and they were awesome. Take care, Vinnie

  5. Lime Says:

    Thanks for post and all the introductions, Steve. I hadn’t heard of any of them, and I liked really Analog Girl.

  6. TonyP4 Says:

    For the opposite side, Chinese classical music:

  7. TonyP4 Says:

    Steve, thanks for the update. Keep it coming from time to time for a nice change.

    * Analog Girl, VAMPS and Zee Avi are great.

    * The Tai Chi stuff is making fun of my fellow generation. Eventually I would look like one of them, haha. At least they can move. Funny stuff.

    * AudioTraffic sounds exactly like a Brit Indi band. They could be from Philippine. A lot of HK musicians are from that country. Adrian seems to be a last name instead of first name to me. My friend’s (a Chinese from HK) son Adrian won the Olympic swimming gold in swimming relay for US. So, China should get 1/4 of that medal 🙂

    * The Cantonese kids are fun to watch particularly you know the language. Their generation is better than mine.

    * Hong Kong is a richer city and it attracts a lot of musicians (and other professionals) to work in HK.

    * The black kid really sounds like Teresa Deng. Deng still had a very sweet and unique voice that I do not find another one.

    * No matter what others say, I enjoy the 12 Girls Band a lot. They are fusion music. In their case, they use classical Chinese instruments to play western music. Some one has to adopt western music for Chinese instruments. I listen to similar fusion music from India and they’re very good.

    * Japan could be the only country that observes IP law. So, their musicians can be compensated. In most other countries, musicians can only make money in performance and no one really wants to write songs for a living. Hope time will change all these.

  8. Steve Says:

    @ TonyP4: Here are a couple of videos you might enjoy. The first is from Pizzicato Five, one of the originators of Japan’s shibuya-kei style back in the early ’90s. Notice how they could almost fit into the ’60s? The singer, Maki Nomiya, is still around as a solo act.

    This next group are three cute girls from Hiroshima named Perfume. They’re just about the hottest technopop act working in Japan today.

  9. Lime Says:

    Here’s a song that I like for the collection here;

    It’s not that new; at least four years old. The band’s called Luantan Ascent, apparently from Taiwan. I’ve been looking for info on these guys for awhile, but haven’t found much. If anybody knows anything about them, let me know.

  10. Steve Says:

    @ Lime: I found a few more of their videos on YouTube:

    Here’s their official website. You can also do a Google search using their Chinese name: 亂彈阿翔 to get more results.

  11. Quasar HK Says:

    Hi Steve,
    Its Sanjeev here,Vocalist of Quasar.Thanks for featuring our music. Though I came to learn about this now( on 2012), we are so happy and encouraged to be featured.Thanks for listening and loving our music, and for your support. Please do stay with us for more original acts.
    Best regards,
    Sanjeev @ Quasar
    Hong Kong

  12. Steve Says:

    Hi Sanjeev, I’m over at pacificrimshots.com now so be sure to shoot me an email when you come out with a new video. I’ll definitely post it so word gets around.

  13. Geraldine Pang Says:

    Good information on Asian music. I have found an another blog which provides me some more good information on classical music updates. If you ever need to gather those, you can check it at http://www.gramercytalks.com

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