So we survived the Mayan apocalypse and the end of 2012. Feeling lucky? Check out Jesse Riggs’ satirical take on the Nibiru cataclysm and the pure comedy of doomsday theories. As yet another doomsday deadline was creeping toward us we had precious little time to pause and reflect on our own short lives much less the relatively brief history of human existence. For hundreds of thousands of years and as many Christmases past, homo sapiens have bandied about DNA in a frantic attempt to stick around for a little while longer on this pale blue rock, and for what? To be cut short by a rogue planet that’s been kicking it behind the sun this whole time? Not a very good ending. And yet there’s something romantic about our impending planetary annihilation. For one thing, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Planet Xmas has been keeping tabs on Earth, much like the fat man and his list, and will soon be on its merry way with a sackful of death to throw down our chimneys. The only person that could have saved us is good ol’ St. Nikola Tesla, and he’s dead. So now we just have to eat it. Why is that romantic? Because endings remind us of beginnings. Approximately 4.6 billion years ago the earth was formed in much the same fiery cataclysm that it is destined to end. In the period known as the Hadean, so named for its Hades-like conditions, the newly formed earth was forced to compete with other planetary bodies for its orbit, and in Darwinian triumph cleared away all its competitors the same way all young brutes do: by ramming into them. I imagine a young Nibiru, the hypothetical Sumerian death planet, fleeing the path of a hungry earth, taking refuge behind Mother Sol and plotting revenge 4.6 billion years later to avenge his dead brothers. So yes, it’s romantic and as thrillingly absurd as any doomsday prophecy. For instance, the earliest end-time prognostication according to a bit trivia found in the infallible “Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts”, was found on an Assyrian tablet believed to be from 2800 B.C., which attributes the apocalypse to “bribery and corruption.” I know, right? Bribery sucks. Especially when it doesn’t work. In a fit of giving, I once offered a homeless man thirty-seven cents to leave me alone, but he really needed thirty-eight cents to buy a pack of cigarettes. That was the worst day of my life. If given the choice between the end of everything ever and ever having to count change on a sidewalk again, I choose the former. So what if upon impact with another planet our atmosphere ignites and incinerates literally every surface dwelling organism we’ve come to know and love, turning the Earth’s crust into a big, gooey morsel of molten magma? If you could see the cosmic headstone for Earth it would read: 4.6 billion B.C.– 2012 A.D. Think of all the cool stuff that happened between then and now: dinosaurs, sharks, robots, men riding dinosaurs, robots riding sharks, Firefly, gangnam style. I think we all lived the hell out of that dash. Then again, I never liked Firefly that much. Jesse Riggs is a rogue librarian located somewhere in Huntington, WV, although experts conclude that this is unreliable data.
Scene: Indie Acoustic Folk Yeah! - Taipei Artist Village - 在台北國際藝術村
Folk Yeah, It’s Simmo Simpson!
by Helen Sharp
The Taipei Artist Village is always a good time. Last Thursday night Simmo Simpson put on a wonderful show featuring himself with three local artists. The dark wood, dim lighting and flickering candles created an inviting and cozy ambiance for the typical cool, damp winter night in Taipei. I cozied up at a table in the back and watched the acts unfold over the three and a half hour show. First up was Ellery, a blonde, campishly-cute boy with his guitar. A passionate lyricist, his silky voice was the strong point of his performance. He did ramble, which was quite endearing. Aside from what seemed to be a little bit of inexperience, he was a lover of his music and his passion was bright. Mark Darvill, a well-known musician around these parts, followed Ellery in what is said to be his last show in Taipei (for now). When Mark gets on stage it is easy to see that he is a seasoned, calculating musician. He and his shiny black guitar go together like a man and his mighty stead. Once a duo with partner Caleb, you can see that some of his songs were meant for two, but over time he has really learned to pull it off alone with confidence. As a musician he rubs you the wrong way at times only to double over and rub you the right way in his indie, country-esque tones. One can’t help but be hypnotized tapping their foot and bopping their head throughout his shows and falling deep into the music. His impressive tap tap taping on the guitar creating percussion while pulling off tuning at the same time highlights his obvious talent. Sitting down, he made me just want to get up and dance. Mark just makes you feel good; every time I see him on stage I fall a little bit in love Listen to Wayfarer State (Trey Yip) now.
Next up was Trey Yip. He brought the crowd. While he was playing the cozy room was packed with attentive listeners. It is easy to see why people are drawn to him. He is a strong, clear lyricist with an unusually comfortable, feel-good style. At risk of sounding a bit cliché, I must say he just has that Bob Dylan dirty western vibe with his own unique twist; a great guitar player paired with command over the harmonica is usually a winning combination. I mean who doesn’t love a freshly showered dirty man in a polo? His voice and slam poetry styled narratives proved strong. I felt enveloped in an essence of something fucking awesome, arousing in me a healthy combination of satisfaction and wonder. The Wayfarer State: Trey Yip bringin’ the party. Last up was Simmo Simpson. A strong, angel voiced singer with unbridled energy on his path to artistic self-discovery; with more live performances and work on harnessing that energy he will surely outshine his contemporaries. During the show I felt times of admiration when I caught myself thinking, “Damn, you’re hitting those high notes boy!” One theme rung true in his performance; he is a beautiful singer. Although it was a solo show I couldn’t help but think that his music would be well accentuated by back up musicians, he would make a great lead singer. Altogether it was a great show and a delightful night out. Thank you to Paul for putting on such a quality event! Helen is a a wandering woman from Texas. She has lived all over the world and is currently residing in Taipei.
Protest and vigil in New Delhi Dec. 30, 2012, following death of rape victim
by Kamala Kelker and John Upton
A report from one of the recent protests rocking New Delhi, India. Two weeks after a 23-year old woman was beaten and gang raped on a chartered bus in New Delhi, she died at a hospital in Singapore. Police shut down the city’s center, the India Gate, in anticipation of continuing mass protests. So instead, demonstrators came together at a heavily patrolled area nearby.
Major Lazer Mad Decent in Taipei - 非常酷的電子音樂在台北「Major Lazer」
by Ian Thomas
So stoked, had a great surf session the other morning and caught the fast train to see Major Lazer and Diplo at Taipei’s Luxy, ahhhh! It was BIG! The Taipei crowd was hype, going berzerk to every track that they dropped. Their performance was top quality all around, encompassing dancehall dancers and an MC, stage-diving, Diplo crowd surfing inside a huge transparent balloon, waving flags a la Brazilian carnival and throwing out the horns as party favors. It’s still a down to earth affair, compete with Diplo (who’s produced tracks for artists as diverse as Usher, Snoop Lion, Wale, Santigold, No Doubt, Riff Raff, Beyonce and MIA) cruising by, giving daps and signing autographs after the set. All DJs and producers who play live take note. Jillionaire, Diplo and Walshy Fire rocking Luxy in Taipei
I listen to something produced or remixed by Diplo at least once a day and I was impressed how he and Major Lazer rocked so many fresh sounds I hadn’t heard yet. I really appreciate any artist that continually tries to introduce new art to their audience, expanding everyone’s experience into new realms, in this case new musical, bass and sonic horizons that I’m still feelin.’ The energy was crazy and mostly up tempo (except for the perfectly weaved vocal and roots interludes) for the entire 2+ hour set, ranging from eletro, house, dancehall, hardstyle, dubstep, drum and bass, mashups, moombahton, rock and god knows whatever Get Free, Express Yourself genre-blasting Major Lazer sounds they could come up with. Basically it’s crack and I’m an addict. I recommend you go get some. On another yet related note, yesterday was 12-12-2012. It’s going to be like a thousand years until 3-3-3003! Other repeating dates will occur soon-ish though, like 01-01-2101 and 12-12-2112 (Thanks Heather and Aksana!). Wow, whatever it is, time is crazy when ya think about it. What was going on in 1012 anyway, and what will people say was going on now? I’m taking these days to ponder the amazingness of it all. So go do something (heck, or someone) you love today. Do it now. Enjoy your time.
DJ Chamber Shaking butts from Kaohsiung to Koh Tao - 來看看這個DJ!
The first time I stumbled upon DJ Chamber it was early in the night and he was warming up the room with 'It's a Pity' by Tanya Stephens: I thought, “this dude knows what’s up.” I peeped his energetic breaks and bass sets in both Kaohsiung and Tainan but little did I know he’s making moves all over Asia. Hailing from the heart of The UK’s bass music scene, Theo (DJ Chamber) Cox journeyed to Taiwan from Bristol to bump dance floors and spread the bass music scene to the far corners. He’s already doing that and more, having played in Manilla, Thailand and Taipei. Many would even say he’s living the dream. I caught up with DJ Chamber, who holds it down as a resident at Kaohsiung’s mecca for in-the-know dance music, Brickyard. We discussed his upcoming releases, brown drinks and toothbrushes, Kaohsiung hot spots and getting “daggered.” Here’s the Q and A with some of his more recent mashups, enjoy! (Go ahead and push play.) So, what’s it like to DJ in Mandarin Chinese? Good question! Well… 这真是太棒了。我喜欢做的事。 What are three things/places that are must-do in Kaohsiung? Monkey Mountain is a must see-er. I was told several times to always protect my… delicate areas if the monkeys get close, apparently that’s what they will go for if they attack, that and your face - I’m still not sure if this was a joke. Sizhiwan beach is great, especially if, like me, you grew up in a place that wasn’t particularly close to any beaches. And of course, Brickyard is a definite must do! Since I first came over to tour in Taiwan, they have always booked me, and every night I’ve played there was brilliant. Now, I am a resident and live just across the road. For me, its the best club in Taiwan and, also one of the few that are trying to do anything different - If you find yourself in Kaohsiung, that is definitely the club to go to! Tell me about Bass kitchen. Bass Kitchen is my club night. It began life in England (where it is still going strong) and now it has expanded globally, with branches across Canada, Poland, China and Taiwan (Kaohsiung and Taipei). We promote any music with lots of bass! Previous guests have included A Skillz, Ed Solo, Freq Nasty, Ragga Twins, Rennie Pilgrem, J Majik, Josh Wink, Cut La Roc and many more Besides your DJ gear, what’s essential for you to have when you play out? I always bring a bag with all the pre/post gig essentials - snacks, a few books, phone charger, stickers and business cards, toothbrush, spare headphones, beanie, Chamber t-shirts (for only 300NT, what a bargain!) You’ve been gigging all over Asia this year - what’s the club and party culture like? Where are your favorite places you’ve experienced? I just got back from playing a gig in Koh Tao, an island just off of Thailand, that place can only really be described as paradise. Crystal clear blue and green waters, white sandy beaches, palm trees, mountains and jungle - stunning. And the gig was banging too! Another memorable one was on one of my trips to The Philippines, I played a set in Manila to over a thousand people in a large open roofed warehouse. Great night! Thinking mainly about Taiwan (although I’ve heard this to be true for many places in Asia), the party culture is definitely very different from where I am from in the UK. There are a lot more pop and commercial oriented clubs, which I can’t really stand. These places all appear to be set up purely for profit, with no care for the music whatsoever from the management - which seems odd for a music venue right? They mostly play top 40 hits (and often play the exact same tunes 3 or 4 times each night). It feels as though a lot of young people never get the opportunity to experience any different music in the right setting. This has also created a bit of a dearth of talented, music loving, new DJs coming through - and a whole lot of the afforementined top 40 DJs. However, the underground scene is here and its growing. You just have to look a little harder to find the good stuff! Chocolate Milk or Brown Ale? Chocolate milk. If there was any other alcohol available I’d probably go for that, but brown ale is just wrong. Describe any interesting things people do to get hype in da club in Asia? Have you had anything crazy or standout happen? One gig I played at Brickyard in Kaohsiung with Skerrit Bwoy (of Major Lazer fame) was particularly insane. This guy is a pioner of ‘daggering’ (an extreme form of bump’n’grinding which is big in the Jamaican dancehall scene - Youtube it, you will be shocked haha). He got the crowd more hyped than I have ever seen a crowd get hyped before - at one point he jumped crotch-first off of a ladder onto a girl lying on the floor, before proceeding to ‘dagger’ her senseless. All that before hanging upside down off of the pipes on the ceiling, jumping behind the bar and serving everyone shots, then daggering another female fan on the bar and taking down the Brickyard banner to wear as a cape! Who are your heroes? Batman, Iron Man and Chamber (a little known X-Man…) - Anyone that pushes boundaries, does something new or steps away from the crowd. Where’s the weirdest or funniest place you’ve played? There was a festival in England where the stage looked a lot like a womans ladyparts, that was pretty odd haha. Another gig had me DJing underneath a 40 foot UV alien bug/insect-thing. That gig I mentioned earlier at the warehouse in Manila, I was playing from inside a hollowed out ice cream van. Another goodun was following the Plump DJs at an underwater themed strip club called ‘Fish and Tits’ at Glastonbury festival last year, playing inside a sort of glass waterfall thing. A club in Bristol I used to play at regularly (Arc, formerly Lab) had the DJ booth fitted inside the front half of a car, suspended from the ceiling by chains. Another amazing Bristol club I played in a lot (Motion) had a main room which was a skatepark by day, so at night you would get a few thousand dancing on the ramps. Who are the top three artists you are listening to now?Featurecast, Maya Jane Coles and the Arctic Monkeys. What’s next up for you? I’m about to start working on a series of remixes/mashups/bootlegs of artists from all over the world, all free downloads. Plenty of gigs coming up all over the place, a release coming out soon on Ali B’s Air Records with Dizzy Dustin from Ugly Duckling (one of my favourite hip-hop groups of all time, from Long Beach, California) and it sounds like some of my tunes have been picked up for various TV stuff (shows and adverts etc). I have no plans to move from Taiwan for now, life here is too good! Photo by the awesome and always on the prowl: Daniel Toro DJ Chamber on FacebookDJ Chamber on Soundcloud
Taiwanese Cyber-babe and Sometimes God Team Up to Save Flag and Olympic Dream – 臺灣的國旗在倫敦奧運
About two weeks ago, a picture started circulating on Facebook showing the Taiwanese flag flying in the Regents Street district of London. Squeezed in alphabetically between Syria and Tajikistan, this might at first seem of little circumstance. However, if you take into account that Taiwan’s national flag is never officially flown at international events, seeing the enthusiasm of Taiwanese netizens, for something that most other nationals might take for granted, is suddenly understood. Well, someone didn’t inform the Regent Street Association of this policy (or perhaps they acted knowingly). Either way, when the 1.3 billion folks over at the Ch- part of the flag hanging area made their way down the line to the Ts, they were not happy with what they found. A phone call and an email later, and the Regent Street Association was taking down the Taiwan’s Blue Sky, White Sun, and Red Earth flag, replacing it with a Chinese Taipei flag used by the island of Taiwan since 1980 when it competed in the Olympics. The 10,000+ people who had liked, shared, and commented on the original Facebook photo were obviously less than enthused seeing their symbol of pride and nationhood removed. But what to do? After all, Taiwan is just one small island, on the other side of the world from the other small island nation hosting the 2012 Olympics. One young Taiwanese model, by the name of Huang Shih-ting (黃詩婷), was so distraught by the removal of her national flag, she couldn’t help but shed her clothes in despair. After her initial anguish, looking around her room, the only things she could find to cover up were a few small but appropriately sized Blue Sky, White Sun, and Red Earths. What exactly happened next, no one knows, but thanks to modern technology, it wasn’t long before snapshots of this attractive young Taiwanese lady, near nude except for the Taiwan flags covering her most personal of regions, with words of encouragement for Taiwan’s athletes written on her body, were circulating the pornosphere blogosphere. It is true that, at times, the Taiwanese are a superstitious and spiritual peoples. There are a whole slew of gods, representing different regions and occasions. One of these gods 三太子(transliterated to Sometimes) also goes by the name Nezha. It seems Nehzha empathized with the Taiwanese and their disappearing flag dilemma. Making a special guest appearance, complete with photo-op, Nezha arrived on the scene of the missing flag, along with hundreds of Taiwanese and international supporters, to once again raise the Blue Sky, White Sun, and Red Earth of Taiwan over London. With tens-of-thousands of likes on Nezha’s Facebook page, some are now suggesting he should run for president. If he decides to do so, it is suspected that the scantily clad Lady Liberty of Taiwan will run as his Vice President. Whether she will opt to wear more than the Taiwanese flag is yet to be determined. Rumor has it that China will consider Taiwan’s calls to political autonomy, if she would simply take an apolitical stance and not adorn any flag. To read more about this story: Taipei Times - Taiwan’s media’s take on these events London Evening Standard - London’s take China Smack - Translations from reactions to this amongst Chinese and Taiwanese netizens