Fri, Mar 06, 2015 - Page 11 News List

Live Wire: Defying genre and geography

By David Frazier  /  Contributing reporter

Seoul-based electro-rockers Ssighborgggg, DeAnthony Nelson Jr, right, and Sean Patrick Maylone, will play at Revolver on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of SSIGHBORGGGG

Erlend Oye seems to be on a mission to defy not only genre, but geography as well. The 39-year-old Norwegian singer-songwriter is currently backed by an Icelandic reggae band (The Rainbows). He lives is Sicily and has lately begun writing songs in Italian, though for his latest album, Legao, which came out last October, the first release was a song with a Portuguese title, Garota (meaning “girl”), and the music video was shot in South Korea.

His musical trajectory has been just as erratic. Oye, pronounced “oh yay,” started out as an electric guitarist, and launched his first band, The Kings of Convenience, in London in the late 1990s. By the mid 2000s he was in Berlin, DJing and cultivating an electronic sound, notably hanging tight with Royksopp, a euro-dance duo of fellow Norwegians. At the same time, he formed a second band, The Whitest Boy Alive. The group, initially going for an electronic sound, it quickly settled into the light, coffee-shop friendly genre of indie-pop. Though that band officially called it quits last summer, Oye, who is sort of a dashing nerd on stage, has remained in indie-pop, now as a singer-songwriter leading his own band. His new album is full of soft, catchy tunes that sound like a highly talented musician who lives far from Brazil and is trying to remember what bossa nova sounds like. It’s music that has heard of the sunshine, but doesn’t know how to dance around in it. One can suppose that this is what they call reggae in Iceland.

Perhaps it’s no wonder that Oye’s music is popular locally, where indie rock crowds tend to be shy and almost never dance with confidence. Oye has been to Taiwan twice before, first in 2010 with The Kings of Convenience, then in 2011 with The Whitest Boy Alive. Both shows filled Legacy with several hundred fans, and both were produced by The Wall, which will host Oye’s next visit on Tuesday. This is Oye’s first Taiwan show performing under his own name.

■ Erlend Oye performs on Tuesday beginning at 8pm at The Wall, B1, 200, Roosevelt Rd, Sec 4, Taipei (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Tickets are NT$1,500 in advance through www.books.com.tw.

SSIGHBORGGGG

Seoul’s indie scene is in many ways a mirror image of Taipei’s, only a little bit bigger. It’s a mix of locals and expats creating alternative energy in the margins, and the trickle of K-bands touring through Taipei is steadily growing.

On Sunday, Revolver will host a gig by Ssighborgggg, a high-energy math rock project of two Americans living in Seoul. Sean Maylone plays keyboards, guitars and other electronics, and DeAnthony Nelson plays drums. The music seems to draw from all sorts of alternative electronic genres, ranging from experimental rock of Battles and the abstract electronica of Aphex Twin to nerdcore hip hop beats. It’s purely instrumental and always a bit cerebral, but on occasion, it achieves a manic, danceable energy.

In Korea’s music scene, Maylone is known both for his band and as a promoter. Contacted by e-mail, he says that he and Nelson started Ssighborgggg first, then LA-based, Asian-American hip hop producer Nosaj Thing e-mailed them through their band page “and asked us if we could set up something together.” He then started promoting shows under the label SuperColorSuper.

SuperColorSuper has so far put together shows for Nosaj Thing, Caribou, Gold Panda, Zach Hill (of Deathgrips), No Age, Yacht, Xiu Xiu and others. Ssighborgggg played all of these as one of the warm-up bands.

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