Sun, Nov 21, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Taiwan CD Releases

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Various

Mo Shang (莫尚)

Made in Taiwan (台灣製)

Onse P1ate

When Jean Marais moved to Taichung two years ago, he figured that the quickest way to get to grips with the unfamiliar city sounds was to take to the streets with his mini-disc player and record everything he heard.

Having amassed several hours of the city's most vibrant sounds, Marais then decided to take his folly to the next level and record an album featuring an eclectic mix of some Taichung sounds and electronica.

Entitled Made in Taiwan (台灣製), the result of Marais's offbeat stroll through the streets of Taichung was released last month. A far cry from his previous recording ventures, which included working with pop-duo 12Hc and poet Breyten Breytenbach in his native South Africa, Marais's latest album is a blend of ambient world beat and then some chill-out electonica.

The fusion of street sounds, which range from the clatter of traffic to the hum of monks chanting and the reverberation of a public karaoke performance, with samples of Oriental instrumentation and ambient world beat-based electronica make Made in Taiwan an enticing listen and, thanks to Marais's studio smarts, one that never misses a beat.

His ambient creations might seem a bit over the top; but Marais isn't out to make a statement he's simply out to entertain. And regardless of theme, be it a funeral, dragon boats or learning Mandarin, all of the tunes are fresh, tight and, most importantly uncluttered. If it's simplistic, yet original localized chill-out you crave then, Made in Taiwan is not a bad place to begin.

Made in Taiwan is currently only available online from the websites www.soundclick.com/mosheng and www.cdbady.com/cd/mosheng.

Various

Lobo 2 (蘿蔔二代)

White Wabbit (小白兔)

The second compilation album from local indie label White Wabbit, Lobo 2 (蘿蔔二代) features an selection of tunes by a hodge-podge of alternative and lo-fi acts from Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The double CD is divided into two parts. CD1 is dubbed "Pure and Fresh Ballads" (清新民謠風) and CD2 has the subtitle of "Hot Blooded, Explosive and Fierce" (熱血爆烈). Both of which are somewhat misleading titles, as a majority of the material on both CDs draws heavily on Western lo-fi, post-rock and indie influences.

While band's like Nipples (妮波寺), Chasing Sparrow (追麻雀) and Creamy Hamoo (奶油哈姆) try very hard to pull CD2 out of the doldrums the tighter and more together material all appears on CD1.

Some of the album's most memorable moments include Freckle's (雀斑) lo-fi feel-good bubble gum pop tune Softly, Green Eyes Velvet Underground mixed/post-rock soaked In Your Room, Banana Brave's (香蕉勇士) wonderfully rudimentary 1980s styled slice of electronica-cum-surf music Electronic Sensitivity, Peppermint's (薄荷葉) jerky and hypnotic folksy number Old Wang (老王頌) and Xien's (仙樂隊) Willy Girl, which is a rough and ready number on which the band creates a hybrid blend of early Wall of Voodoo and the Gang of Four.

Tripoets (參劈)

Mixtape (聽說)

Flood Records (褔樓)

One of the growing number of underground rap groups currently kicking up a racket in club land, the Tripoets (參劈) recently released its debut longplayer, Mixtape (聽說), on own Flood Records (褔樓).

The combo's underground standing means that the album certainly won't reach the number one slot in local music charts, but the material is tight, the backing music exceptional and ill Mo (老莫), Ho (林老師) and Shortee (小個) have created one hell of a mature Mando-rap album.

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