Fri, May 02, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Electronica serves up a non-techno alternative

By David Frazier  /  STAFF REPORTER

Silent Agreement Records' new release.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SILENT AGREEMENT RECORDS

Silent Agreement Records is pursuing a minor branch of local electronica that's growing from a mix of underground rock and personal computers, which they say they prefer to the heavy techno and trance beats of much of the dance club scene.

Tomorrow they release their second CD, a compilation of downbeat DJs from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China called Silent Agreement 1 (沉默的約定), at a release party hosted by Taipei's Underworld and featuring live performances by KbN (凱比鳥), Fish, Lounge of the Tudigung (Lounge of the 土地公) and possibly 78bpm.

Silent Agreement was formed late last year to release the first album by 78bpm, a band whose driving force, Huang Yi-chin (黃一晉), also runs the record company. In many ways, the story of one is pretty much the story of the other. Now 30, Huang got into music as a guitarist for five years in a band called Three Legged Cat (三腳貓).

When the band broke up, he taught himself how to compose electronic music on his computer. Then he teamed up with a few musician friends, an artist/illustrator (Keith Saunders) and a costume designer (Selina), the latter two providing vocals, lyrics and a few visual concepts.

He wanted to blend subtle strains of rock and live performance back into the mix, and the result was 78bpm. Live, the band often brings in a VJ, because as Huang says, "Rock, it needs a star. But with electronic music, there's really not that much to live performance."

The end package is more of an aesthetic than a group, which is of course the operating mode of the pop music industry, but still a formidable achievement for a young, idealistic band that did it all on their own.

A combination of presentation value and friends in the media have gotten the band exposure in magazines including Men's Uno, Smarto, TVBS Weekly and The Eslite Reader and air play on pop radio stations ETFM (89.3) and Hit FM (91.7).

Tomorrow night's performance groups electronic music artists that share some of Huang's ideas, and it happens in Taipei's heartbed of underground rock, Underworld. Performances take place from 10pm to midnight and admission is NT$250.

Afterwards the party continues with rockers-turned-DJs, including Hsiao Bao and Mei-mei (both from the band Ladybug), 78bpm guitarist Hsiao-shu and others. Underworld (地下社會) is located at B1, 45 Shihta Rd. (北市師大路45).

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