From punk to reggae to dub, DJ @llenblow (real name Allen Liu, 劉培倫) has been pioneering foreign musical styles in Taiwan over the past 20 years. His latest venture, Island Futurism, is what he calls Taiwan’s first Afrobeat ensemble, which is a visual, conceptual and musical project inspired by Fela Kuti and the like but also drawing from Taiwanese temple sounds, Aboriginal legends, reggae and science fiction.
“I wanted to play something jazzier, and I was drawn to the Afrobeat groove,” Liu says. “But part of the reason I started this band is because I feel that Taiwan’s music scene is still lacking in genre diversity.”
After playing at Taipei’s Xiahai City Temple last month, Island Futurism will be playing in another temple tomorrow — an abandoned one that serves as the main stage for the annual Tiger Mountain Ramble Outdoor Music Festival. The event continues its Taiwanese flair by having its second stage in an electric flower truck. But the best part of the venue is that it is nestled in the woods, but just a short walk from downtown Taipei.
Photo courtesy of Tiger Mountain Ramble Music Festival
Liu says it took about two years to launch the band because few people, including him, were familiar with playing Afrobeat music. Now with the music ready, Liu says they want to develop their concept of Island Futurism, which he says is based on Afrofuturism but looking at it from an Austronesian perspective.
“Taiwan didn’t seem to experience the futurist movements that were taking place in other countries in the 1970s and 80s,” Liu says. “We will still be looking at the future from a 1970s and 80s viewpoint.”
Tomorrow will be a rare chance to see all 11 members of the band on stage, Liu says.
Photo courtesy of Island Futurism
Other acts at the festival include hillbilly jug blues outfit Muddy Basin Ramblers (泥灘地浪人), who always make for a jolly time, and Canadian folk crooner Scott Cook, who will move the audience with his prairie ballads. A cool mix of country, classic blues, reggae and rock round out the live soundscape.
On the electronic side, the festival is graced by two old timer DJs from Japan, both Fuji Rock veterans and ardent music collectors. Koichi Hanafusa spins music he found from the farthest corners of the world, while Nozomu Kitazawa draws from his extensive trove of 60s to 90s beats.
There is also live art by graffiti artist Gareth Andrade and metal sculpture collective Hu-Jung Jah-Dan (魚龍加蛋), while there will be plenty of food and beer stalls.
What:Tiger Mountain Ramble Outdoor Music Festival (虎山音樂祭)
Where: Tiger Mountain (微遠虎山), 186-1, Ln 221, Fude St, Taipei City (台北市福德街221巷186-1號)
When: Saturday from 2pm to midnight
Admission: NT$500 in advance, NT$600 at doors, free for under 12
On the Net: www.facebook.com/tmromf
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