Fri, Feb 15, 2008 - Page 15 News List

THE VINYL WORD

By Tom Leeming  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

"Doing it for the story."

PHOTO: COURTESY OF JUNI

As the house music matriarch clings tenaciously to power, the Vinyl Word this week is giving drum 'n' bass, the oft-maligned ginger stepdaughter of electronic dance music, some air time.

For those who aren't au fait with the ins and outs of drum 'n' bass, it's an off-shoot of jungle. "Divide a 4/4 sequence into eighths and emphasize the first beat with a bass kick, third with snare, sixth with a bass kick and seventh with snare," said Taichung-based, Texas-born Juniper Cussion-Rodriguez.

At 10 years old Juni, was making mix tapes and from there enjoyed destroying her Dad's 1970s belt-driven deck when first discovering the joys of mixing at 19. Juni, now 26, loves drum 'n' bass because of its "basslines and the polyrhythm. It's the underdog, complex, musical, diverse and organic. It can be rough, smooth, feminine and masculine, is the most progressive, and is not for everyone."

After deejaying in Houston, Austin, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and at Burning Man, Juni moved to Taiwan as a "jump into the unknown is a necessary reset now and again."

She said the genre isn't popular here because listeners "don't know how to dance to it, or it's too fast."

"Essentially all drum and bass (170-80bpm) is a syncopated hip-hop beat (85-90bpm)," she says. "Or, rather a hip-hop beat doubled over. It's all about the half-step, so you dance to it half-time (if it's too fast)."

Even though other genres use similar beat structures, drum 'n' bass gets a bad press, perhaps, Juni says, "because it has all the roaring amen breaks, ridiculously sequenced bass lines, staccato synth stabs and hyper-accompaniments. But I can't be sure. I guess what turns most people off is the complex rhythmic structure."

Juni's favorite gig in Taichung was a four-hour set at Maneaters with Beth Cox's Aphrobet Productions. Beth is at it again tomorrow with Essential Elemental at The Zoo.

"I don't think drum 'n' bass is played as much in Taiwan for the simple factor of exposure," said Cox. "I have been to several drum 'n' bass parties in Taipei, however, and the dance floor has always been packed, so hopefully its a scene that is slowly but surely growing. I'm sure there are tonnes of drum 'n' bass fans out there … they just don't know it yet."

Knocking out soulful but dirty drum 'n' bass this time will be Taichung-based Scottie Sama from Calgary, Canada.

Canadian beat boxer Shamik will also put in a stint at 1:30am. Currently on an Asian tour, Shamik has opened for the likes of Killa Kela, Method Man and Krafty Cuts. He combines different genres effortlessly, and with your eyes closed he sounds just like a DJ.

All this as well as Edify from Vancouver, Canada, playing hip-hop and funk and Tainan-based Twohands, one half of Brighton-based Tru-Thoughts from England on hip-hop and reggae; live hip-hop by Foreign Affairs, a posse of hip-hoppers; and THC, a three piece hip-hop band from Taipei who make some noise in French, Chinese and English.

The NT$350 entrance gets you a drink plus seven hours of musical variety. No house music.

Essential Elemental at The Zoo. Tomorrow, from 11pm to 6am. 68 Takuan Rd, Taichung City. (台中市大觀路68號).

From more information on Juni, visit www.myspace.com/junipercussion; Shamik, visit www.myspace.com/teamshamik; and Beth, visit www.myspace.com/aphrobet.

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