Taiwan is not the only place where police are hot on the trail of foreign musicians performing without their work permits and visas. Tycho, who will be playing lush electronic melodies at The Wall tonight, actually got put in jail the morning after their gig last Saturday at the Qianshuiwan Culture Center (上海淺水灣文化藝術中心) in Shanghai, China. The drummer said that the promoters lied to the band about their legality, and the morning after the show, police confiscated their passports, arrested them and held them without questioning. Fortunately, the band was let go, charges were not pressed and Tycho made it to the safety of Taiwan a few days earlier than expected.
The Taipei Times caught up with the main architect behind the sound and vision of Tycho, Scott Hansen, before their brouhaha in China for an e-mail interview. Hansen has been creating the visuals and soundscapes for a decade as Tycho, but considers his most recent album, Alive, to be his first true Tycho record. In Alive, many human elements are infused into the atmospheric sounds.
“I’m always searching for the balance between the familiar and unfamiliar,” Hansen said.
Photo courtesy of Tycho
“I want to create sounds that are grounded in reality while at the same time feeling somehow distant or just beyond reach. I do this by starting with a lot of synthetic sounds, but treating them with a kind of organic, aged texture. When I use instruments like guitars, bass and drums, I try to push them back in the more synthetic direction, to meet the rest of the content in the middle.”
Even though Tycho began as a one man’s vision, Hansen has opened up his project to a few band members — an experience that he finds liberating.
“It has freed me to focus on my strengths and broadened the palette I can draw from when producing the music. I think the result is something grounded firmly in the Tycho sound but with a greater sense of perspective,” Hansen said.
For this tour, Hansen is bringing his full production, which consists of a four-piece live band along with brand new visual content and lighting. Also, The Wall promises that the musicians are all fully legal so they can enjoy Taiwan instead of worrying about a repeat of last weekend’s misadventures.
■ Tycho plays tonight from 8pm to 11pm at The Wall, 200, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Admission is NT$1,500 at the door.
Scott Saulters wasn’t sure if his film had just taken one of the two top prizes at a recent film competition. Although Saulters has been in Taiwan for 15 years and is proficient in Mandarin, the award ceremony for the inaugural “Bi Tian Iann” (眯電影) short film contest was conducted entirely in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), a language he can’t speak. “I thought I heard it, but I didn’t want to look too excited,” he says. Despite his limited command of the tongue, Saulter’s entry, Wu Yu Tzu (烏魚子, mullet roe), took first place in the amateur category of the
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
The Taiwan of yesteryear was dominated in whole or in part by the Dutch, Spanish, Qing Empire and Japanese. But is the Taiwanese name for a popular edible fish derived from the Portuguese language? Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, says yes. The fish in question is the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, which was listed in early 18th century Qing local gazetteers as Taiwanese specialities alongside milk fish and mullet, according to Cheng’s paper, “Mullet, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel and milkfish: Multiple contextual developments of three certified seafood specilaities in Taiwan, from the
In the regular drumbeat of arrests of alleged Chinese spies, one case last month stood out. It did not involve the US or another rival of China, but Russia, whose security services accused a prominent arctic scientist of selling classified data on technologies for detecting submarines. Meanwhile a court in Kazakhstan in October convicted the Central Asia nation’s preeminent China specialist of espionage, a move widely interpreted at the time as a warning against increased meddling by the superpower next door. Both men maintain their innocence and if China is spying on Russia, Moscow is surely doing the same. Even so, the fact