Girl & Assassin, the first song on Metastaz’s latest offering, Encounters, is a five-minute sonic adventure. It starts off with dubby textures and then samples a popular video game. Soon, there is a hint of drumstep before it drops down into a Japanese master giving a student words of wisdom. The song climaxes with a hard dubstep break before floating off into the dubby cosmos. That’s just the beginning of what Metastaz is.
Metastaz, who will be playing a selection of electronic, hip-hop, dub and dubstep at Pipe tomorrow night, is a music and video project started in 2003 by Thomas Simones. “I have been releasing my own albums for free on the Internet using Creative Commons for the last 10 years now,” Metastaz said in an e-mail interview with the Taipei Times.
At the age of 15 in France, Metastaz was a fan of his friends’ band, Harddub, which mixed metal and dub, as well as the sounds from the music scene in his hometown. “Of course Lyon’s dub scene has an effect on my music as I grew up listening to this band,” Metastaz said. “I guess that it changed my mind about how to think about music, sound effects and art in general.”
The Metastaz sound is about breaking the frontiers between musical genres. “Dub electro is the little brother of the Digital Steppa, or stepper from the UK,” Metastaz said, “We call it Novo-Dub, the French way to dub the music, usually with complete band.”
“The main difference is that we refuse to have any link with reggae and Rastafarian culture,” he said. “We decided to dub with every kind of sound and music, because dub is not music; it’s a mixing technique. That’s why there are bands of electro dub who also play rock, punk, jazz, or ethnic music and dub it.”
While Metastaz says his music is a form of dub, he also wants to push sonic boundaries. “It’s a no-rules project so I can totally record some Brazilian MCs on a hip-hop Indian beat,” he explains. “The rule is to go away from the classic ideas made by the music industry and to break the barriers between music genres. The idea is not about making hits or becoming a superstar. I use every single piece of this as a texture, like the painter who uses different colors.”
The gig at Pipe will be the midway point for Metastaz’s latest tour, which has included other Asian stops. “The beginning of the tour was awesome and the two gigs in Shanghai and Beijing were a big surprise for me because the people were really open minded there,” Metastaz said. “MC Didjelirium, who is a guest on the tour, and I have met a lot of great humans and great musicians. I really hope that it’s just the first chapter. The point of touring is learning about new music and culture. I just hope Taiwan is full of crazy people who want to party with us all night.”
■ Useless Brotherhood presents: Formosa Dub Experience with Metastaz tomorrow from 10pm to 4am at Pipe, 1 Siyuan St, Taipei City (台北市思源街1號). Pre-sale tickets for NT$400 are available at all iBons and Famiports. Admission is NT$500 at the door (includes a drink).