Friday, May 7, 2010

MusicDish*China Sounds Pod4 - From Underground Hong Kong To Singapore

Trip Hop/Downtempo DJ Chou Demmy

Pod4 - From Underground Hong Kong To Singapore

By Eric de Fontenay

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This edition of the MusicDish*China Sounds podcast, presented by Metal Postcard Records, features an interview with Chris B, founder of The Underground Hong Kong on the release of their 3rd compilation CD "#3 Life After Roots - Rock Beyond" with tracks from Killer Soap and In Love And Pain!, new releases from Singapore-based Inch Chua and Elyzia, Shanghai's Blur-inspired Sonnet and Changsa city's Trip Hop/Downtempo DJ Chou Demmy.

Before I go any further, I'd like to announce that in addition to sponsoring the upcoming Music Matters Asia 2010 conference being held in Hong Kong on May 26-28, We are also an official media sponsor of Beijing's INTRO 2010, China's biggest electronic festival held in Beijing's 798 art district's D-Park on May 22nd. Organized by Acupuncture Records, the event will once again welcome and delight over ten thousand of China's electronic music fans by presenting world-renowned DJs, producers, and visual artists joint with China's favorite local talent.

Now on to the music...

The podcast opens with a Singapore musician Inch Chua (@inchchua), whose tweet on scoring "the highest amount of six nominations at the AVIMA (Asian Independent Music Awards)" immediately attracted my attention. I mean who knew there was an Asian indie award? And Inch Chua has certainly earned her nominations. Better known as the frontwoman of upbeat alternative rock act Allura, she delivers a world class solo effort in 'The Bedroom' - available for download on her site under Creative Commons - combining an alluring voice with her unique blend of 'folk-tronic'. The EP lead track 'Rule The World' is a humorous and playful promise to a lover about growing old together.

Staying with Singapore, we now turn our ears to Elyzia which we first discovered through Dragon Radio. The name Elyzia is actually a word twist from Elysian Fields, which in mandarin would translate to "Yi Li Sha" meaning a grain of sand. In a new twist on giving away music, the band was offering their latest EP "Chapter One" for free (shipping included!), even sending a copy out to New York city - sorry people, they recently ran out of stock! Delivering their pop rock songs in mostly Mandarin, but also English and Cantonese, the band was recently selected to perform at the Spring Scream 2010, Taiwan earlier this month.

In Love And Pain!, the alternative music journey started when Kid, Henry, Satva and Marvin decided to make the noise in their heads come true. Without any concrete direction, the foursome started rehearsing and has kept finding their ideas, styles and forms, and giving as much energy as possible to all their songs. After having a very fruitful 2009, In Love And Pain! is becoming one of the most sought-after indie bands in Hong Kong. The track we're featuring on this pod, "On The Road Into The Wild," is actually the opening song from the Underground UK compilation.

Killer Soap has been tearing up the Hong Kong scene over the years, performed more than a hundred gigs in Hong Kong, including several appearances in local television. Four of their songs have been selected for inclusion in the computer game "Audition," an online music game with more than two million registered players. In winter 2008, they won the Global Battle of the Bands competition in China and went to London to compete in the World Final with 26 other talents from all around the globe as the representative of China. Chris B. chose one of their poppier songs called "The Choice That I've Made" that is also featured on the compilation.

Next is Shanghai-based Sonnet who seem to have downloaded the entire Blur oeuvre into their collective consciousness. While they call their sound 'Disco Garage Post-Punk,' we say imagine an electro pop "Parklife" style. The band has had several changes in their line-up since they initially formed in 2002 after guitarist Sun Ye reportedly downloaded perhaps one too many Brit-pop rock mp3s. According to Andy Best, they had to resort to samples at the recent Big Qiang Diao event in the Yuyitang as they had just lost another bass player. Don't worry - no samples in their song "Stupid Baby" from their 2009 EP "Studies of non-normal human Archives."

The podcast closes with the song "Extremity Counterattack" from Chou Demmy, a Trip Hop / Downtempo DJ and producer based in Changsa city, Hunan province. In what might seem to some as complete isolation, he produces beautifully lush downtempo trip hop with snatches of Drum n Bass, hip hop and the odd Chinese influence. Demmy will be releasing his debut CD outside mainland China on Hong Kong's Metal Postcard Records in May / June.

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