For the second year the Formoz Festival will feature a stage dedicated to electronic music with a lineup of local and foreign bands. As with last year, the local indie label Silent Agreement has taken charge of booking the bands for the Electronica Stage and has dug into the short, but solid list of bands whose albums it releases in Taiwan to come up with the stage's headliners.
This year's major attractions will be Caribou and the Konki Duet. Neither band is well known in Taiwan, but Silent Agreement has a knack for picking relatively obscure groups that make an out-sized splash when they play here -- Four Tet and Album Leaf are two that come to mind. The label also brought Japan's DJ Aki to last year's Formoz for a mind-blowing drum 'n' bass session that extended deep into the festival's Saturday night.
"There was a great atmosphere at the electronica stage last year, so there's a lot to live up to this time around," said Huang Yi-chin (黃一晉), head of Silent Agreement. "We dug up a lot of variety, so however you define electronica it'll all be on this stage."
PHOTO COURTESY OF SILENT AGREEMENT
Within the broad genre of electronica, Caribou and Konki Duet could hardly be more different. Caribou, a three-person outfit from Canada, is explosive and frenetic, with two full drum kits, guitars, laptop, keyboards, samplers and vocals sometimes all going at once. It's melodic enough to avoid a description as noise, but all the action makes it a rarity in the realm of electronica: it's a band with stage presence and members that don't just warm their faces to the glow of a laptop monitor.
At the other end of the energy spectrum, the Franco-Japanese trio Konki Duet make moody, rainy day music that should be appropriate to the last night of the festival when they play. The whispered lyrics are self-consciously introspective and their album Il Fait Tout Gris is sometimes so quiet you need to check to make sure the track is still playing. With an album title that translates as, It's all gray outside, this is perhaps to be expected. But Konki Duet isn't all doom and gloom. They still manage a few spectacular, euphoric moments of great, uplifting indie pop.
Fleshing out the electronica stage's foreign lineup over the three days will be performances by half a dozen artists from Japan and Hong Kong.
Playing tonight before Caribou will be Utabi from Japan, whose music has been given the unfortunate label "intelligent dance music." But trust us, the music isn't as obnoxious as the label sounds.
Tomorrow's lineup will stray a bit from electronica with local hip hop by Daximen and some aggressive rock by Japan's Poplar, but will otherwise keep to the script with the Hong Kong ambient group Snoblind, who played a killer set at Spring Scream this year, and UFA, Taiwan's answer to DJ Krush. "Sunday is the only day we have a kind of theme, though it wasn't conceived as such," Huang said.
"The foreign bands like YMCK, the Aprils and Pixel Toy all sound like video game music. It's really electro and retro. One might even say kawaii."
Tobie Openshaw is confident that Taiwan’s government has good reasons for not including him in the Triple Stimulus Voucher Program, which launched at the beginning of this month. That’s just as well, because it seems unlikely he’ll ever discover the logic by which it was decided that he, along with other foreign residents not currently married to Taiwan citizens, shouldn’t receive the vouchers. “We’ve stood side-by-side with our Taiwanese friends through the COVID-19 crisis, complying with government measures, cheering its success and sharing that news with the world at large. If the stimulus coupons are meant to be spent to keep
When the BBC approached Caroline Chia (查慧中) in July 2018, and asked her to make arrangements so a documentary-making team could gather footage showing how global warming may be increasing typhoon intensity, she delivered everything that was in her power to provide. Chia got permission for the BBC crew to shoot inside the Central Emergency Operation Center, film the army’s disaster-relief efforts and follow mayors around as they supervised the cleaning up. “In total, it was about one week of work for my cousin — who’s my business partner — and I,” recalls Chia, who was born in Taipei but
John Thomson was a pioneering photographer in the 19th century and one of the first to journey to East Asia. In 1871, while in China he met Dr James Laidlaw Maxwell, a fellow Scotsman who was returning to Taiwan, where he served as a Presbyterian missionary. Maxwell’s description of Taiwan intrigued Thomson, and the photographer decided to accompany Maxwell to the island then known to Westerners as Formosa. Disembarking at Takow (today’s Kaohsiung) on April 2, 1871, Thomson brought with him the best photography equipment of his time, along with thousands of glass plates — an estimated 200kg of equipment. The
Every time Chen Ding-shinn (陳定信) saw a liver cancer patient in his ward, it reminded him of his father, who died from the disease at the age of 49. Historically, Taiwanese suffered from an unusually high prevalence of liver ailments as well as cancer, and Chen was troubled by the number of terminal patients. After decades of research, Chen and other experts found that Taiwan had the highest percentage of hepatitis B carriers in the world, which often developed into cirrhosis and cancer. In the early 1980s, he served as a key member of the Hepatitis Prevention Council (肝炎防治委員會), which