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p2p

One of the latest and last projects I was involved in at CBC/Radio-Canada was with the integration of pCDN, a pilot project that consists in contents delivery through peer-to-peer, and implemented on Bande à part's (aka the French CBC Radio 3) summer podcast feed. Here is the website that was launched this week by Bande à part: http://bandeapart.fm/pcdn/.

pCDN was developed by the Network Systems Lab at Simon Fraser University in the Vancouver area, along with CBC/Radio-Canada's Strategy & Planning based in Montreal. Here is a published paper written for the company's technology review by the main people involved in the project.

Bernard has told me that peer-to-peer delivery systems were already common in the USA. I remember using a system developed at CNN during the night of Obama's win. pCDN is just for progressive downloads, as far as I know.

The idea of using "BitTorrent"-like delivery helps alleviate traffic between users and contents delivery servers by redistributing it between users. It's a win-win situation for both the users and the big contents providers. It's potentially an alternative to today's pervasive, but costly, mirroring services such as Akamai.

It remains to see if it actually speeds up downloading. From an observer's point of view, it will become most noticeable when server-to-peer becomes a bottleneck. From a geek-user's point-of-view, I can't wait for when/if we extend the service to other potentially downloadable contents (full-length shows anyone?).

pCDN podcast feed

I'm on Linux (Ubuntu Jaunty) and tried pCDN on this platform. pCDN's source code is in Java, thus it's cross-platform. I downloaded this package and tried the links on the pCDN-specific podcast feed. Extract the archive (it's going to be a hidden folder named .cbc-pcdn) and in your terminal or otherwise, execute "launch.sh". This starts pCDN on your local computer and makes it "ready" to receive requests to download (and upload back), as you would for any P2P program like uTorrent or Transmission.

After starting pCDN, make sure to upgrade to the latest version (right-click the icon for "Mise à jour").

You will notice that the links in the podcast feed are all in the form of "localhost:54321/__SOME_HASH__.extension". When you click on them, they call pCDN and it is checked through the system whether this file is available among other connected peers. If not, it will download from some central "seed" server. Tadaa!

(The feed itself is a must-listen... It's music selected by Pascal Asselin, a electronic music artist better known as Quebec City's Millimetrik.)

I'm nursing an upstart cold w/o coughing and made chicken congee. I spent the last hour since coming home from my RCV meeting looking at the music videos related to the "Donald Tsang, Please Die" phenomenon, a song written by one of my fave bands in the world, Hong Kong's My Little Airport. A few weeks ago, Tsang, the Special Administrative Region's Chief Executive, declared that he represented Hong Kong people when saying that 6/4 happened a long time ago and that Chinese people moved on.

Three days ago, they wrote a follow-up.

We discovered other music videos made by artists related to this one. Kind of like the music scene in Montreal / Quebec, it seems like everyone just know, collaborate and sleep with each other. One of these discoveries is the Forever Tarkovsky Club, which I think is made up of the two guys in duos MLA and Pixeltoy.

This is the promo video of their "semi-nude Christmas party" that never happened because police told them it was forbidden to hold public functions in private premises.

永遠懷念塔可夫斯基 - 聖誕半裸派對 from Gregor Samsa on Vimeo.

Wuzzah, Hong Kong.

(And if you want to hire me, here's my CV.)

On AMK

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(in the name of) AMK

In a sense, if I paid attention, I would've known that In The Name Of AMK was indeed a cover album.

In fact, I just took the album booklet out, and read what was behind it. A number of texts written by people who were/are influential in the scene, such as the members of the AMK band. Unfortunately, I am still illiterate in Chinese, so I feel like those Asian kids who want to speak French because it sounds pretty.

patitle.png

Audacity-logo-r_50pct.jpg

I've been looking for a way to record sounds (namely music) off websites like MySpace and Neocha, because the music that we play on our show has to be 1- indie, and 2- Chinese.

Needless to say that I couldn't play music from many of the bands that I hear on Neocha's NEXT music player, just because they happen to be obscure Chinese bands that may not have considered an international audience (some, however, have been touring the world). In fact, as far as I know, you can't download the songs even if you wanted to pay for it (don't even think about finding some of those bands on P2P networks).

I finally got to try out a solution that my friend Rob suggested. And that's the Audacity, a free open-source software for mixing and recording sounds/music. There's nothing so special about Audacity (except that it's free), but it's when you use Audacity with a sound source that's your computer's stereo mixer that it becomes interesting (see instructions).

I found out that my own computer, a Dell XPS m1210, has a sound card (a STAC92xx by Sigmatel) integrated to the motherboard (Intel). On Windows, the driver provided by Dell "C-Major Audio Driver" does _not_ let you mix stuff, and does not give you access to the output of your stereo system. I read somewhere that you could somehow replace this driver (its XP version only) by the same driver provided through LG.

Since my Windows is Vista, I rebooted into my Ubuntu (now 8.10 Intrepid Ibex) instead and looked at my options from there. Audio has always been a part of the Linux world that I neglected. I used mplayer before to save streamable videos (it's even more simple as in my entry, because you just use the "-dumpvideo" option). How about audio then?

I understand that ALSA is the mixer - your applications speak to ALSA and pass it to PulseAudio, which is the layer that redirects everything back to your sound card, aka The Hardware. Aside from recording, you can also use PulseAudio to make modifications to the output, redirect to different "sinks" (a wireless network-based sound system, anyone?).

There's a nice info page on the Ubuntu wiki. In fact, a section at the bottom ("Recording example...") was what I used to record my music. I also installed the PulseAudio Volume Control (pavucontrol), Volume Meter (pavumeter) and Device Chooser (padevchooser). The latter is a GUI that lets you choose and configure what applications output to PulseAudio and what devices on your computer (front speaker, headphones, or elsewhere?) are used to play sounds.

(PulseAudio is now the default sound server on Ubuntu, replacing Esound from previous releases.)

Following the instructions in the Ubuntu tutorial, I used padsp, a OSS wrapper, which starts an application connect to a PulseAudio server through a OSS audio device ("padsp starts the specified program and redirects its access to OSS compatible audio devices (/dev/dsp and auxiliary devices) to a PulseAudio sound server."). The command is:

padsp -d audacity

(with all the comfort of debug info...)

Then choose the OSS (/dev/dsp) device as you would on Windows with a non-restrictive sound card driver, and start recording using your system's sound output (ALSA something...). Make sure to mute the microphone, also through the PulseAudio device choose!

It's a powerful method, but may be illegal in some countries (not sure which - it's just the Ubuntu tutorial saying).

"Real" Spring Scream at Eluanbi

"Fake" Spring Scream at Maobitou

In English, there may be only a single "Spring Scream", but in Chinese, there are at least two festivals whose sites I've found.

There is the so-called "original" one, founded fifteen years ago by an American expat duo, Jimi and Wade. Theirs is a lot bigger act compared with any other, as described in this preview that I wrote last month. The other festival, however, holds the big local pop names, such as Tanya Chua, Sodagreen and Cheer Chen. I am very tempted to at least attend the Cheer Chen evening, just because all this Spring Scream deal started from seeing her last year performance at the _other_ Spring Scream on YouTube.

Spring Scream, whichever I end up going to, starts in less than two weeks now. I have booked a place in Da Wan, Kenting, called the Hawaii Inn, manned by a Duggar fellow and his little family of three.

More on the serious blog, once I get all my infos together.

Spring Scream likens to a mass migration thing to me. Finally, I booked the Taipei-Kaohsiung train fairly easily. However, the two-hour bus ride from KH to Kenting might be another deal. I read somewhere that 300,000 people were expected at last year's event(s). If this is not the number of tickets/day sold, then how the hell will I find a bus to drive me there. Hitchhike all the way to Kenting?

The schedule of the original Spring Scream mentions Stars as a band on the second day... Is it some random Taiwanese act or *the* Montreal-based Stars?

(Seriously, maybe they have a lot more bands, a lot more fun than us in Montreal, but man do their websites suck ass!)

Later: after a lengthy chat with the patient clerk at the HOT墾丁 MSN outlet (hotkt088882517@hotmail.com), in Chinese, no less, I was able to understand that you could get tickets online that you pickup when you get there. Adventure, adventure, where will you take me...

My how-to guide for Kenting during Spring Scream on Comme les Chinois:
Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Edit (2008-02-08): The Spring Scream organization just released their 2008 website today, partly finished. You can actually explore the directory listing, as they forgot to put a index.html file...

Spring Scream logo

Spring Scream is a rock, anything-but-Mandopop, music festival in the resort town of Kenting at the south-most tip of Taiwan. Held since 1995, and according to many English-language publications from Taiwan, it is the festival that was held for the longest in consecutive years on the island of Formosa.

Official dates haven't been announced yet, but the festival's official MySpace says that it should be on April 3-6 (the 3rd had a question mark), which is the "Ching Ming" (tomb-sweeping day) long weekend across Greater China. This year is the year of the rat, so Spring Scream will "Double Rat" for its 14th edition. Last year, two Canadian bands were on the list of attendees, Girl + The Machine and Rhythmicru, both from Toronto. In total, there were about 250 bands / artists attending Spring Scream, including the more "general public" Cheer Chen, Faith Yang, Tizzybac and Dessert Chang.

According to some site that I found, tickets last year were in pre-sale as soon as February 18th, and the second sale period had tickets listed at NT1300 (CAD40) for the entire festival, and NT600 (CAD20) for one day, one venue. The location of the festival is the Eluanbi ("some mystical duck nose") Lighthouse.

The hardest so far in preparing to go was accommodation in Kenting. Presuming that this is an isolated town (the closest major city, Kaohsiung, being 2h30 away in bus), it shouldn't be easy to find anything cheap. I called the Kenting Youth Hostel aka Activity Center (infamously linked to this), and they had room now (despite the YH-affiliated website saying they did not). It is NT3500 (CAD100) for a double bed room, which is ok if you share, but prohibitive if you are backpacking alone. A surfing website listed guesthouses for surfers that asked for a little less. I've read somewhere that camping in the Kenting National Park would be possible at a minimal fee...


View Larger Map

(Updated map 2008-02-27: Apparently, I had the wrong location... This is a map prepared by Jimi of the Spring Scream festival - see original)

Teh Chinese indie on RCI!

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Check out Radio-Canada International's Chinese-language channel (has a web radio). They are going to put some of my CDs on air! :)

We Wish You An Indie X'mas

Chinese indie really has me... This is apparently a whole sampler (http://www.harbourrecords.com/we_wish_you_an_indie_xmas.zip) put together by Hong Kong-based Harbour Records for last Christmas.

Update 2008-09-01: The link and playlist can no longer be found on Harbour Records' site, but the file is still there, and here is the playlist in Traditional Chinese:

01. A Company - Ferry, Bus and the Lorry
02. 22cats - waiting (demo)
03. the marshmallow kisses - a-la-pa-ti's demo
04. The Lee's - Wall of sound (War is over)
05. The Yours - Fat Is Selfish
06. my little airport -悲傷的採購(digilick remix)
07. mankitako -紀念冊
08.儉德大廈-慢慢的船
09. The Fragile - The First Day I Believe There Is An Angel
10. too long without sex -聖誕半裸派對
11. false alarm - so come home (too long without sex part 2)
12. Superday -限量之一枚
13. Relax pose (aka Lawwaiyip) -沒有目的的旅程
14. Alok - We Still Miss The Future (HK Version)
15. Hard Candy - Please lie to me, I don't mind
16.咖啡因公園-行雷閃電
17. Butterwings - Although We Know
18.生番-皆同(街童)
19. Elf Fatima - Party In A Cave
20. Wilson Tsang - Whale Song: Departure

Espace Musique

Radio-Canada's Espace Musique (French equivalent of CBC Radio 2) is launching today a second version of its classical music webradio. Espace Classique 2.0 is debuting with three different playlists (ambiances) called "Zen", "Vitamine" and "Noël", as well as a continuous webradio that seems to play music from a selected pool of tracks.

Stars

A fabulous concert by Montreal's very own Stars (I am almost sure that they live like a couple of blocks from here), which, I did not know, were marking the end of their three-month long North American "In Our Bedroom after the War" tour. It also had the longest encore that I ever witnessed, with five songs! I bought a poster of tonight's show at the very end of the evening (a first very cold one in Montreal this season), and had the young lady performing the pre-show, Jade McNelis, autograph it (who unfortunately got her name on it teared apart in the poster as "MacNells").

Your Ex-Lover is Dead:

My Little Airport, PixelToy, 草地音樂同學會, and 開始!

  • My Little Airport - We Can't Stop Smoking In The Vicious And Blue Summer (Better than the second album "I was too nervous")
  • PixelToy - O...Oh (The only one I listened to in full so far, and very energetic, as expected from them, with even more guitars and beat than the first album)
  • Start ! (Sampler released in 2005, by Silent Agreement, a Taiwan-based indie label)
  • Grassland Music (2007 sampler, also from Silent Agreement - it is a low-low $6US on Yesasia!)

The Stars are coming to Montreal, if you have been reading free weeklies, which I have not been doing. In fact, I heard from it through Facebook, as it is slowly crawling into our lives. Flavour of the month or next Google? I know that people in the mainstream are taking it seriously..

I am writing this entry for a change in mood, because reading a language that people don't understand (maybe I assume too much of my audience, too, if there is such a thing) is always really boring. Not only is this entry different, but I am not even using my own pics! It was taken by petronia on the first day of this year's Osheaga, the one that I did not attend.

Stars at the National (across from Metro Beaudry) on Nov 30th and Dec 1st.

Hong Kong indie label People Mountain People Sea (人山人海) now has a Youtube channel. Here are their most recent music videos.

At17 - 同聲同氣 (same sound same air)
Song title sounds like a Chinese expression/saying, but I am limited. At17 (Eman Lam & Ellen Joyce Loo) is a pop duo, signed as the first band on Anthony Wong's (not that Anthony Wong) Hong Kong-based label. Their sound is definitely refreshing, and I can definitely see them as a not-so-mainstream counterpart to the Twins (they even did collabs with them, for the crossover universe factor). Google made Smurfmatic their #1 fan (or at least top 10) in the English-speaking world. So. Yes. They are cool, they are hip, and they are not afraid to cover Creep at Hong Kong 演唱會s (concerts extraordinaires).

PixelToy - 寫一首詩 (write a poem)
PixelToy (Shan Ho & Candy Wu) is the second band signed by People Mountain People Sea. I am listening to their first album right now (their second is in the mail), as we speak. As their name suggest, they are electropop, bordering on the cute. Sometimes they are experimental (Good Morning - basically the female vocalist, Candy, singing as she wakes up, gets ready in the morning), some other times they sound like britpop bands (Winnie - reminds me of Saint Etienne) or video games (什麼節快樂). Just like at17, they were part of the soundtrack directed by Anthony Wong for the 2007 movie 明明 (ming ming), otherwise a stylish music video.

See other post. Please excuse the mad screaming.

at17 at the Montreal Club Soda

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at17 in Montreal

Okay, rendons à César ce qui appartient à César: this was the first time that I attended a singing contest, and it was a very remarkable event. So, yes, a singing contest for Chinese folks in Montreal. It's very interesting that the language of choice is still Cantonese (both hosts spoke Cantonese all the time, except when the contestants were Mandarin-speakers), but that half or more than half of the songs sung were in Mandarin. Shows how meaningful the "old" Cantonese establishment (and how the new force of "pan-China" is changing things). Overall very pleased to having Hong Kong in Montreal.

at17 were very cool on stage. They corrected the crowd on the pace of the clapping for instance, poking fun simultaneously. They started with 始終一天, and there was 三分鐘後, and The Best is Yet to Come, and some song from Sing Sing Sing (我們的序幕), their September 2006 show at the AsiaExpo.

I believe that it is a rare thing to have Hong Kong artists perform in such intimate venues, as the Cantopop stars that we do hear about always do at the HK Auditorium and the like. It is an observation that needs exploring. We know after seeing Beijing Bubbles that a Chinese city could have a music scene. Hong Kong does have one, but if I read about it in a English-language newspaper, is it only geared towards expats, or a "certain slice" of the population? Question en l'air.

Green Life had a kiosk during the singing contest.

at17 in Montreal on October 28th

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at17

Here at Smurfmatic, we ruled out the possibility of Cantopop stars ever coming to Montreal (although, when one mentions Montreal, it is always always associated with Brossard-native Christy Chung), even if my childhood memories recall some of them showing up in Place des Arts for occasional concerts.

So, perhaps to renew my confidence in Montreal as a world city, it was announced last week that the special guest to a Montreal Chinese singing contest would be at17, a Cantopop girl duo, whose music deviate (just a little) from the mainstream mold of other popular singers, and are in my mind, bordering on the indie (they write their own stuff), very popular with a certain teenager crowd.

The concert will be on Sunday, October 28th, 2007, at the Club Soda. The tickets are 40$ apiece - for a singing contest (b/c the Montreal Chinese beauty pageant - whatever they call it - fetches way above 100$), it is a lot of money, but if it's to breathe the same air as Hong Kong music personalities (they are big on promoting environmental awareness in the Greater China), then it changes everything!

At17, on Sunday, October 28th, 2007, at the Club Soda. (And also, I know where to get tickets, so just e-mail me! cedricsam@gmail.com)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=5109529916

Clues

Sunday's Bleating Hearts Show was at McGill University beautiful Birks Building's chapel. On the picture is the band Clues (Alden Penner, Brendan Reed, Bethany Or) sound checking right before the show.

Osheaga Festival 2007

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IMG_1721

Did Day 2 of Osheaga 2007, on Sept 9th.

陳綺貞 - 小步舞曲

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陳綺貞 - 小步舞曲 (lyrics)

(Cheer Chen - Small Steps Dance)

Notes: I really like 小步舞曲, almost as much as 孩子 (child). While "child" is a happy and cute love song, 小步舞曲 sounds a lot more melancholic. I did not bother finding a translation, even if I should, but according to the title and the music video, it should be about the bittersweet nature of relationships. [Aiya, realism people, realism...]

I thought that it was like when people in ancient times went to church and other religious reunions. Daft Punk are literally like a cult presence - they've influenced so many of today's electronic musicians that I wouldn't know where to start (or how, anyways). Petronia's post.

Hang On The Box

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Hang On The Box is a Beijing-based all-girl punk band. They were in Beijing Bubbles, a movie on bands rocking it up in Beijing, that we caught at Fantasia this year. I recently got a hold on their albums, and love their energetic sound, reminiscent of the Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, one of my favourite bands in 2003.

I find all that I like to be a little odd. It's first of all very eclectic, and some of it doesn't suit me well, I feel. But then, as we conversed yesterday, what is this 'Moi' and is it okay to decide and be a totally different person? In any case, punk muzzak sung in approximate English comes across as cute and gentle and strikes a fiber with me. Band members of HOTB started when they were 15-ish years old and have been rocking it on for almost a decade. They were signed by Victor JVC, according to infos on Last.fm, and perhaps more specifically by label Sister Records, for ref. It sounds like standard girl punk in approximate English, basically, and here are tracks that caught my attention:

Hang On The Box - Now I Wanna Say Apology To You
Hang On The Box - We Don't Need A Sax

Fantasia 2007: Beijing Bubbles

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Beijing Bubbles is an amazing survey of the Beijing Punk/Rock/Alternative music scene. Some of the songs were awfully familiar. I first thought that it was Joyside (whose name I felt like I've heard before), but they were in fact tracks #1 and #5 of the Chill Bands Out (and one of many Chinese indie offerings available on Yesasia), a sampler released by Modern Sky's Guava Records label.

Track #1 is a song called 我爱你 (I love you) by "New Pants" (新裤子), a band founded in 1996, and was apparently a big hit in China. In the movie, they were the ones talking around a table in some office, and whose band member's father we meet at some point in the movie (complaining about his son's appearance). The music video for this song was in fact named Best Music Video in 2000 by Channel [V].

Track #5 is a song called 把它送给你 (Giving this to you) by "Sand" or Sha Zi (沙子), also founded in 1996. In the movie, it was that dude who gave the visit of Tiananmen Square, w/ opinions on the 6/4, and whose really hip mother greeted the documentarists.

陳綺貞 - 孩子

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孩子 (child) is really my favourite song by Cheer Chen, and I found a YouTube video of a live performance at the Spring Scream music festival last April, in Taiwan.

18th Golden Melody Awards

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Oh, Jolin. Last Tuesday, at that restaurant on St-Laurent/De La Gauchetière, the television was blurting out one cheesy Jolin Tsai music videos after the other. Her hotness is striking, yet in a very "omg, why the heck are you doing this" type of way. Perhaps it is because it plays into every cliche that Britney Spears et al. brought to the early 2000s popular music landscape (a few years ago, I blogged about Utada Hikaru being the Japanese Britney - which may not have been 100% correct, I recall, but now Jolin...).

... all that to report that Jolin wins the Best Female Vocalist at the 18th Golden Melody Awards. A certain Nicky Lee that I never heard of before, a Korean-American who sings in Chinese, was Best Male Singer. Sodagreen, who had seven nominations, topping all other nominees, went home with Best Band (its leader Wu Ching-feng also got Best Composer).

My Chinese is limited and the consensus seems that this site, designed and hosted by Naka.tw (notice their use of a Gmail as their main e-mail address), is the most official one of all, according to searches on Google Taiwan. Maybe it's a government thing, as the Wikipedia entry has govt links at the bottom.

Related reports: China Daily via AFP | IHT via the AP

Chinese indie - most recent YesAsia shipment

Both the peppermint and wonfu are excellent in their own way, and I just realized (again) that I already had the SodaGreen album in my mp3 collection (under its Chinese band name, that is...). Chris of urbanphoto.net also lent me a bunch of his Chinese indie (or not) music CDs, which include offerings by Ivana Wong, Good Morning Gloria, Edmund Leung, and The Marshmallow Kisses, aniDa, Adrian Chan, inLove and 嘉琳 on a neat-looking sampler released by Mackie Study called invisible cities journeys. My motto is that if you look, you will find (identically: if you build it, they will come).

Wonfu is perhaps very Pizzicato Five ish, but it goes without saying that it is a generalization, and that Wonfu just typically makes very upbeat music with overtones from a bygone musical era. Peppermint, on the other hand, can be qualified as your typical alternative punk rock band with ingénue vocals.

I'm very into the phenomenon of Chinese indie lately, that is, of independent music produced in Taiwan, Hong Kong or the Mainland (but still mostly the two first ones, as it is for pop). It looks like the Golden Melody Awards, sort of the Grammy's equivalent in Taiwan, are walking outside of the usual pop path, for instance, giving indie rock band Sodagreen seven nominations, which is more than Jay Chou's six. I don't pay enough attention to know whether it is a trend too, here in North America. Probably that it is in Quebec, with the Pierre Lapointe et compagnie.

I don't know. But it is always a good thing to grow different kinds of crops, and especially to encourage the growth of micro-cultures (who're bound to become mega-cultures, eventually, ruining their image as "independent". so, yeah...).

I'm very into a Taiwan rock band called The Peppermints. The lead singer deliciously sings off key, giving this touch of naiveté that is always so charming.

Chinese indie post (finally)

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The other monkey (aside from the driving test, which I passed with flying colors / unknown score on first shot) that I want to get off my back this week would be the Chinese indie music post that I may've been telling people I'd make (or at least, telling myself that I'd do it). Well, for the past week, been gathering lots of albums, including some which I received by mail yesterday from Yesasia, and which I'll mention with selected tracks down here...

大頭佛 - 膊頭斜
- I got into Chinese indie through HK duo "My Little Airport", after I noticed their cover art for their "toddle at zoo" album. But the story doesn't say that I also got another album at random because of its cover art (who says presentation doesn't matter?), that of 大頭佛 (Tai Tau Fat), whose logo imitates that of HK fast-food chain 大家樂. They defined themselves as cutie rock. Wishing to find more infos about them on Google, I found that my entry on them was ranked #1 on Google for them, and that their site was down, which suggests that they've disbanded ever since (their last release was in 2004, so).

自然卷 - 99滴眼 (99 teardrops) - From Taiwan band "自然卷", also known as Natural Q. Their sound is tropical, evocative of warm weather, a panama hat, and convertibles on the seaside. This is the first track of their first album, "C'est La Vie".

旺福 - 有星星的晚上 (starry evening) - I discovered 旺福 off the Chinese Indie last.fm group, which is also the case for many of the artists below. 旺福 or "wonfu" as per their website url's romanization (it's actually more like wangfu in hanyu pinyin... maybe it's Taiwanese dialect?). They dress and sing like a 60s band! They've a track "DoReMi" in Taiwanese and Mandarin versions, which is totally lovely, as they rime "DoReMi" with "Wo Ai Ni".

順子 - 寫一首歌 (write a song) - From Shunza, with a half in English, which shows her decade and more spend in America. This is a soft ballad with acoustic guitar. The track was taken from the Simple Life music compilation from the urban festival (presumably in Taipei) of the same name. The album art features a booklet with 20-something pages of low-key artistic pictures processed to yield this 70s feel (it's rather cliche, but I can't name it). Compilation also has big names like Karen Mok, Fish Liang Jing Ru, and boys bands Beyond and Mayday.

亞里安 - 下一站德國
(next stop, Germany) - From out-of-print compilation "Pretty Happy & Gay" released by HK indie label People Mountain People Sea (人山人海 - A Chinese expression to mean "tons of people"). Not a favourite, but chose it b/c of its title, and the fact that it does indeed have a feel of German electronica. XD

Pixeltoy - 说说看 (say say look) - High-energy song from experimental/electronica duo Pixeltoy, with at17 as backing vocals, I think. The music video is on Pixeltoy's website (if you can find it). This is part of the newer compilation released in 2006 by the same People Mountain People Sea label, and is strong on electronica.

at17 - Don't Worry - at17 seems ubiquitous in HK. They're related to well-known songwriters, are themselves songwriters (I think) and are on the cast of TVB music show Jade Solid Gold. This is one song by them that I like a lot. Bought the album. It came with a DVD with music videos.

跳房子 - Try to
- at17 collaborated on the soundtrack of a 2004 HK movie called Butterfly, which features an exceptionally interesting soundtrack from independent artists. The group included Hopscotch, otherwise known as 跳房子 (literally "jumping houses"), a Mainland band signed by Modern Sky. The lead singer of the band also plays one of the two protagonists in the movie. Chose a track from their album Wishful Way, which isn't in the movie, but would perfectly fit its self-destructive mood.

陳綺貞 - 孩子 (child) - From Cheer Chen, 陳綺貞, one of the well-known indie/folk singers from Taiwan. Is my favourite songs of the moment. Would describe it as a Sunday morning after torrid night of love, but that only my bias from watching the MV (or hanging out all Saturday afternoon w/ the one you love). The guitar at the beginning is very last-years-of-Beatles-ish. Makes the emo side of me claw leather chairs. Man, too much.

曹方 - 城市稻草人 - Cao Fang. Discovered through a post over at My Randomness. She is dubbed the Mainland Cheer Chen, but I think she sounds like Faye Wong (well, then again, everyone sounds like Faye Wong). This track, City Scarecrow, sounds like the more grave type which I heard from Faye Wong, as rendered by the guitar fiddling, off-vocal moans, flute solos w/ middle eastern overtones.

Casio pop band par excellence, My Little Airport released two new singles since the beginning, freely available on their website. The first one, "sad merchant", sounds like a game of pinball with lyrics, and the second one, "unemployed", is a cacophony of naive pop. The lightness of My Little Airport, I think, is what makes them so interesting (by no means unique, I'm sure).

I've yet to make a full Chinese indie post (been talking about it for two months) with some of the stuff from the queen of indie in China, miss moderntime, as well as from the general stuff that was ordered/bought/downloaded since my luck encounter with My Little Airport in Cafe Kubrick, Yau Ma Tei, HK.

In the meanwhile, I do recommend My Randomness, and the non-linear world, as two excellent English-language blogs specialized in Asian/Chinese indie. One of my current favourite songs is from this post, and played by 水母 (Jellyfish) which is, by the look of their e-mail, a band from the Mainland.

Yan Lei

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"Kétaine au boutte", would be how you would describe the music of Jenny Tseng Yan Lei. If the retro-kitsch movement reached HK, then they'd certainly be playing that stuff among certain circles. My father says it dates from the 1980s, but it is reminiscent of 1960s music in the West.

After trying to (unsuccessfully) repair the old sound system controller, I guess that my father fell on some old music tapes, including that of Yan Lei, and is currently playing it in their room next door. What wasn't my surprise when I overheard it! Because, to tell the truth, I have been passively wanting to find such oldie-sounding music originating from a certain lost era between WKW's sixties and today. There was some of it all throughout Fantasia, the 2004 Cecilia Cheung movie set in the sixties, and one of those Asian uber-goofy mainstream flicks.The first reference that comes in mind is, what, Quebec's Robert Charlebois, or Beau Dommage? (It's the same era, for sure) The only explanation as to why I am fond of this kind of music is that I like to live in the past and feel nostalgic aout everything. As good as it might be, it's definitely not to be listened all day long.

F.I.R - Your Smile

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F.I.R - Your Smile

Is one of my favourite songs of the moment.

Les Amis Au Pakistan

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Les Amis Au Pakistan is not the name of a new political science essay on General Musharraf, but rather, that of an electro-kitsch pop band from the great city of Laval. Their first and only album is called Espace Libidinal, and is freely available on the web. Le Petit Hamster played on the radio tonight, and the first video I clicked on (Minounne - slang for one's dear little car) induced quite some rear head laughter.

Faye Wong - Di-Dar

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When a girl (I don't remember her name) asked me last week which Faye Wong album I preferred, I spontaneously answered, well, you know, Fable, otherwise known as "Yuyan" in Chinese, with the first five songs that followed each other. For the rest of the week, I had copied my whole Chinese music collection to the laptop ("bauhinia", it was christened), and listened to a lot from it, including F.I.R., a Mandopop rock band from Taiwan that is sort of reminiscent of Japanese two guys / one girl trio in the style of Do As Infinity (more than, say, The Brilliant Green, who're somewhat more cute and cool than the D.A.I.).

So, I was saying. Come to think of it, the answer would've been true a year or two ago, but today, I think I prefer the Di-Dar album, one of Faye Wong's Cantonese albums which came out in 1995, the same year as the Teresa Teng cover album (Decadent Sound of Faye) and the year after Chungking Express and reprising The Cranberries' Dreams, to put things in perspective. I liked Sky (Tian Kong / Teen Hong) a lot, as well as Chesspiece (Qi Zi / Kei Tsi) of 1994.

Di-Dar, with the exception of the Di-Dar song itself (too much Casio), is appeasing, like a glass of Horlicks on a rainy night. It's not monotonous at all: if you listen to it from one end to the other, it goes from open loving arms, to some more restrained darker emotions (moments of doubts, I guess), before going back to languishing over there on the couch. No theme and Comet (this one in mandarin; a special track I suppose), the last two songs are definitely nightfall.

These are respectively tracks 5, 7 and 8, all the very mellow and hopeful songs:

Faye Wong - Perhaps
Faye Wong - Enjoy
Faye Wong - Half

Oh yes, it's contagious

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Besides the slight cold that I'm currently fighting (I usually have a good immune system to quell down infections of all kinds), that is. I would now like to hear that sort of non-arranged acoustic Mandopop performance. You know, that sort of Taiwan-produced music, usually has some related extremely teary videoclip. My brother has been singing this Tong Hua etc-etc (not even singing, more like humming passionately) song by some Mandopop star I don't recognize. Anyways: here. All I can manage to sing in my head is Hei Se You Mo, by Mister Jay Chou, which is recorded live on the version I have. Cheers.

Asian indie in Montreal

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Is a lonely sport to practice. I was thinking that I was perhaps the only (or one of the only ones) Asian indie music lover in the whole city of Montreal... which is an odd thought? But shouldn't the Internet be able to rectify these things? Like, can Last.fm be powerful enough one day to fish out someone else who listens to Chinese pop, Japanese Shibuya-kei, ramdom Electronica shitz fed by your friends, French Candian oldies, and your various staple English-language indie music? The answer is that it's probably NP-complete (the Mystery of Life is not computable, hey).

Cao Fang - Saturday Sunday
Cao Fang - Icy

That is indie music from teh Mainland China by a female artist, Cao Fang (You can actually hear the first song from her weblog). Her 2004 album, 黑色香水 (Black Perfume), is unfortunately sold out on Yesasia. Sometimes sounds like the experimental Faye Wong of late, but I think that a lot of things sound like Faye (or Faye sounds like a lot of things - like how Madonna recycled the formerly fringe electronica with Confessions).

My Little Airport is not dead

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Is not! A random misclick (middle-button over one of my Firefox bookmark folder closes all current tabs, and opens all of those for music - random misclicks/mistypes have done so much in this life) leads me to English-language Asian indie music blog My Randomness which reports that MLA has a new song (scroll down). MLA's mp3 dir has indexing.

(Edit: Because they were at the Shanghai Fringe, which is very Canadian-sponsored!)

Music of the moment!

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I've been listening a lot of the Moshi Moshi International compilation. Moshi Moshi is an UK-based label with a lot of really sweet and sour independent music with artists naming their songs with such inspired titles as "Just Because I Liked You In The Summertime (It Doesn't Mean I Want You To Be Mine)" or, my favourite "I've Got The Password To Your Shell Account" ("put my compsci skills to work // engineered your logon word").

Also, from the other side of the planet, Nan Quan Ma Ma, a boys + one girl band from Taiwan. The first two songs on the album I have (Color Palette) is a one-two punch. I catch only parts of the lyrics, b/c my Chinese is highly incompetent, more incompetent than other self-incompetent-thinking people might think. So, 01-Tonight is evocative of a first date, both participants hopeful, with soft tropical overtones. 02-Talk To Her is a bit more subtle is evocative of some sort of malaise between the participants, period of adjustment in their level of communication (or, that there's a secret). Some of the other tracks really turn me off as boringly generic Chinese pop, however.

Seemed like the McGill pool started to play music *underwater* this semester (which is, turning the balance so that you can only hear the music clearly when your head's underwater). I think it was Emily Haines' new album this Tuesday!

Marshmallow Kisses

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Ripples Ice cream
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.
If goth music is supposed to make you a killer. I don't know what cutie-pop is supposed to do...

[music: The Marshmallow Kisses - The Best Days We Used To Have]

Electro @ Espace Musique

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Friday night show. Last music block:

- 23 h 40: Gold (Klee: Honeysuckle)
- 23 h 44: Beau Mot Plage (Isolee: Western Store)

And just before, there was a track from Kid Koala's new album, which is called "You mom's favourite DJ".

Now playing: Counsciousness (DJ Food: Refried Food).

And ho! Surprise: Bande À Part on Friday nights too! Good music, good music, so much good music.

Ordered on Monday, and arrived from Yesasia this morning. Really liked their bossa nova-ish song "你有自己一套", so I finally went and bought their albums (there's another one called KissKissKiss)...

At the same time, the radio (100.7 - Radio-Can's Espace Musique) was playing a song from Long-ge, an indigeneous Taiwanese artist (it sounded like bad Mandarin at first), called Playing Mahjong, from this compilation.

Osheaga

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As usual, I'm out of music, so I'm listening to Comfort Radio. This one uses samples from train announcements in Japan.

Yuki - Prism

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Is actually not bad at all. Eclectic, thrown together on the spur of the moment - I guess that the individual tracks have their appeal. I don't like Joy, but Joy is the most strongly tied with memories (of me trying to sleep in an actually quite nice and cheap hostel in Osaka, near the Shin station, using Yuki as a barrier against snoring roomates...).

Electronica typhoon alert

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Had to try some complex music with these headphones, so I put two Piknic Électronik podcasts from Bandeapart.fm on my music player, which liked it very much. So I guess we're up for some electronica again?

Fantastic to sublime. I especially like "Novabossa", and its English-covered/comic-ified version "Cat Bossa". Unfortunately, the server of my former student group seems to have crapped out this week, so no distribution. :/ (I haven't even been following the discussion, and since I haven't exactly helped them physically or spiritually (heh) for a while, is definitely not nice to ask what's up. The ups and downs of DIY.)

It's Clazziquai, or Clazziquai Project? I seem to be months late on the phenomenon, as the flist raved about this Korean band already 3-4 months ago. Things come around, I guess, so you might not have been caught by the first apparent wave, but can still catch up to the later ones. It's not original music per se, but it's the first non-boy/girl band or solo vocalist I've heard of Korea. They just stick out, just like when I discovered HK indiepop last year. You can probably qualify the music as dancy. R&B at times, jazzy too, even bossa nova (the songs afore-mentionned)... Brain cramp. Ok. It's a lot of "cool" things.

Damn, "Cat Bossa" is so cute. It goes, "gently pushing myself // get up and pat me // show me you care about me // feed me with healthy food".

As for bossa nova, it's cool to see it being sung in every language now, including Cantonese Chinese and Korean. I happen to have liked a French-singing Montreal band called Bet.e and Stef back in 1999-2000 [they seem dead since 2002, although I swear it wasn't so long ago that I've heard of them]. Don't know how they're faring, but have since then heard them at my uncle's, who is a fan of expensive loungy music (i.e., we sampled the latest Gotan Project last week during family dinner/bbq).

Good scoring

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Not that my musical reviews are very good, but Google seems to like me, and placed me in the Top 10 for Utada Hikaru's new album Ultra Blue, and #1 (now #3) for Mara Tremblay's latest I talked about last winter. Huzzah, 80-something hits per day from total strangers... how appealing. XD

Utada Hikaru - Ultra Blue

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Without being the kickass album of the year, I think that the new Utada Hikaru still deserves a bit of attention. Sure, she's slowed down since First Love and Distance, but is still one of my favourites in Jpop (in fact, most of the regular Japanese pop is like whatever pop in whatever country: unsavory... I'm a snob with everything, like music... I think that it's a personality trait: I like what's precious and with the illusion to be hard to find.

In any case, it's sprinkled with some 2006 or recent 2005 singles (Be My Last, Passion, Keep Tryin'), and some older stuff that I didn't think would appear in any album (COLORS). The first track is really dancy, yet familiar-sounding (it is "pop", after all). I played the album on repeat for most of the day, interrupted only with some German electro required for the productive stretches. Nichiyou no Asa (Sunday Morning) is pretty good too.

Anyways, it was a pleasant surprise to have discovered the news of the new album in the LJ music blog community roll (I don't usually read my communities, on top of it).

Re: Live from MUTEK

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The special CBC Radio 3 MUTEK mix is also awesome.

Late edit: Actually, I mean to say that it's recognizably full of minimal stuff. XD And actually, so is Krikor's live performance on Bande à part's 5th day podcast coverage of MUTEK.

Sean had some cool-looking metallic support old-school Koss headphones (50-60$) today at work. I've always bought earbuds, but I'm now considering that a real set of headphones could be very good for listening and really _feeling_ electronic music, aka da mind-massage music for work. :D

Live from MUTEK

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MUTEK supports a few online streams, including one from LePlacard, which is an online venue for artists to perform live on the web. They didn't post the link to the stream directly on LePlacard, but the webmaster of ceremonies will gladly provide it over IRC chat (current link to audio stream). The venue should be open for the rest of the summer for performances at other electronica music festivals around the world.

Bandeapart.fm has a podcast per day of MUTEK (see archives).

Sounds for mindless work

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While putting on the primer, I switched on the FM tuner, and fell on the replay of Indicatif Présent, probably the best background process to run during mindless pieces of work. In the same 2h30 show, they talked about What An Army Was (whether Canada needs an army, what does an army does for a country - and cool fact that only two countries don't have a national army but have a national guard - and only one country, Iceland, doesn't have an army at all... heh, who's going to invade Iceland?), Ants (as in, this guy when in university went on a particularly boring fishing trip, so decided to do some fieldwork for his prof by gathering specimens of ants, which turned out to be a new species of Quebec ants), Prêt-à-Manger (not the British fast-food chain specialized in freshly made sandwiches and with a branch in Causeway Bay, no-no, just the general meaning of it, with oddities like the basic English Beans 'n Toast in its pret-a-manger version, which looks like a pop-tart, and yogurt-in-a-tube, etc) and last but not least, Da Vinci Code: The Boardgame (it sucked big-time, but they had a good time talking about it for 10 mins).

Then there was some jazz at 12:30. And then there was Bande À Part, which had a cool selection of electro in preparation for Mutek, and some, what, Norwegian exploratory electronic jazz?

Satisfying day of work. I just finished eating simple Chinese night snack: shrimp noodles, frozen wontons and some leftover choy sum.

But right now, what I think is that I need some sort of nice HK indiepop. Not something one finds everyday, 'cuz i've decided to stop downloading from p2p networks, and rather rely on music blogs I find from time to time. So, for the regularity of music input, we will pass (and we're not even talking about music that I actively want to hear). Recently, I got a tune from HK girl duo At17, called 你有自己一套 - great music for many reasons. And I suspect that the person who ripped it had it from a compilation album called "Indie Queen" with psychedelic green/brown/beige design that is now out-of-print, and which also included stuff from The Pancakes solo-band (can't find many references to it, but this Japanese label/distributor's site has (had) it, along with other familiar-looking stuff).

Guessing that Yesasia's site is encountering a few problems... (Indie Queen - wrong link previously)

Hah, I don't know what it's supposed to mean, but I had a part of this song in my head for a few days already, without even knowing how I got it. In fact, I thought it was a song I downloaded myself (even if downloading hasn't been as heavy as it used to be), but it came from a mix entitled "Secretely Smitten" that I got from moderntime. The part that stuck to my nearest memory cache level was the "I woken up on one too many floors // But my favourite was yours". My favourite was yours. From The Lucksmiths, an Australian indie band:

The Lucksmiths - There is a Boy That Never Goes Out

Broken Social Scene

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Broken Social Scene. Man it's good. To give myself some credit (as always), I heard about how good this collective is; but have not realized it myself until I "borrowed" this CD left behind by a coworker in the eMac at work yesterday. This music rocks!

Just heard over at Comfort Music. The song made me happy. It wasn't the lyrics (I have a problem remembering lyrics I hear for the first time), but more the melody (less of a problem - but after hearing it and loving it, I forgot what it was... maybe synthpop?).

DJ Christelle

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...currently live on Bande a Part. For once, a DJ at Bandeapart is not electronica? At least from what's playing right now (I can't see the official site, b/c there's no Flash for native OSes for AMD64 architecture, and I'm too lazy to look into the suid root hack that would allow you to run it 32-bit?), seems to be some sort of jazzy, and then bossa nova, and then numerous sound bits, and then swing (but not electronica). She's resident at the Laika, a hipster electronica-jazz bar lounge with airs of coffeeshop up on the Main before Rachel, on my list of places to go to. It's *so* much easier to hang out at random places if you live downtown. Ah, now a conversation with a taxi driver with something that sounds like the start of a minimal techno portion... Well, interesting musical hour.

Took a while before it got here. Not from a Japanese label, but an UK one, thus why it was just a month, and not via Amazon.co.jp (which would've made the album twice as expensive as the little 20CAD, shipping included (b/c something else from Amazon.ca *via* co.jp is still in the mail, delayed by a few weeks).

Anyways, it's going on my player. I can't afford to stay inside another day. 14 degrees in Montreal, and that means summer, even if the winter was not a winter by all norms. I am wearing teh spring shirt. :D

Feist - Let It Die

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I like One Evening the best, alongside Mushaboom and Inside And Out. Makes you want to swing to the music, and for the time being leave your petty worries behind.

Feist - Mushaboom
Feist - One Evening
Feist - Inside And Out

annie.20060322.jpg

Petronia has review with links to my photos. I take photos - she writes review. -end-

I thought of Annie as a relatively notorious artist - at least in specialized genres - and for anyone to experience half-empty venue on a world tour must give a kinda meh feeling. I knew the main hits, Chewing Gum and Heartbeat (ha-ha, knowing, b/c I keep on calling it "Heartbreak") and knew what it was about - but it wasn't quite like knowing the Belle And Sebastian. I don't know. If I lived downtown, I'd be a poorer man, but then I wouldn't be so selective about the gigs I actually decide to see.

bandeapart.show.20060324.jpg

Bande à part used to be a show on Radio-Canada's Radio One, once a week on Fridays, for quite a while, until they went once a day (recorded version) last year, I think, and then went to become a full-fledged satellite radio station alongside CBC's Radio Three.

So tonight, to celebrate their 5th, they reunited some of the most hyped performers of Quebec's indie scene... a strange mistake I make is to put them all (except aKido, 'cause it's electronica - and I keep being dissapointed that he uses this same trademark musical "twist" in each and every song - but a trademark is a trademark, what can you do?) in the same mental basket, that of "whatever Quebec rock bands". So now, after spending four hours of my life with them right under my nose, I can say that Karkwa is a depressing (in the vein-cutting sense) alternative rock band with a lead singer who sounds like Marc Déry of Zébulon (an equally notorious band of my teen years), the Dales Hawerchuk (having really negociated their band's name with the former NHL star of same name) are very very loud, and Malajube was the act many people came to see.

malajube.20060324.jpg

Malajube says they're "Progressive, Emo and Jam", but I could've said it sounds familiar, like reggae, like surf punk... but not quite - I probably mean this sort of happy upbeat instrumental sound. I don't know. I'm not a music critic. On the other hand, I think that having a single entitled Montréal -40 (music video) helps selling. *g*

Unfortunately, anything the performers sang went down the drain of poor elocution. The crowd was incredibly young (such that Danica and myself felt like old farts). So those are the other people listening to bandeapart.fm? Anyways, they reminded me of the hipster kids who hung out at the newspaper office during cegep. In time, just everything makes sense.

Those bands are unfortunately not close to being favourite bands. They're just quite okay, making quite good music I wouldn't rush out to buy. I might be bored with the rock scene. What I tend to listen to on bandeapart.fm anyways is their electronica selection, which also sometimes comes up with this weird experimental 15-minute track from artist with 10-word name.

In The Name Of AMK

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"dan ngo sam lo lo lun!" A band called Superday on the compilation In The Name Of AMK released by Harbour Records. AMK is Adam and Karl, a famous HK indie band of the 90s. Who's on the compilation? My Little Airport, False Alarm, The Marshmallow Kisses, 22cats, Alok, Cafe'inn park, and bunch of others I never heard about, but will be delighted to hear more of.

In the same shipment, a DVD of Harbour Records artists playing at some HK music festival, and at a label party. Maybe if I'm more organized, next time there, I'd try to wander around these shows. Sunny South China days are so pleasant.

One can pick up the Smiths resemblance from 'Don't Lose Faith", and then it does appear that people on Wikipedia pointed out them as a strange mix of The Smiths, Serge Gainsbourg and Joy Division? Although I've yet to pick up the latter two. I would say that there's a bit of "Air-from-Virgin-Suicides" feel, although you can qualify that as sort of remixed-70s-sound.

(So yeah, they're an 'indie' band from Montreal, and this morning is the first time I hear their music. I don't know how notorious they are, but people have been pointing out that they're fairly not indie per their notoriety, whether they play on mainstream radio. Go figure. Arcade Fire are pretty notorious and still labelled 'indie'. Like "independent" films that all the people I know have already seen... end the naive post.)

The Dears - Lost In The Plot
The Dears - Don't Lose The Faith
The Dears - Pinned Together, Falling Apart

It came across that it was the 15th anniversary of Gainsbourg's death this year (ah woaw, 1991 was fifteen years ago!). Were saying that couple of activities would be organized in French-from-France media, but all I can find online is from Quebec? Some five years ago (pour les 10 ans, il va sans dire), I bought an album of techno remixes of Gainsbourg tunes... Intends to be a pingback post at helvetius' Gainsbourg post (until LJ uses pingbacks).

(Besides being known for not-his-music, he brought reggae to French music. Not particularly familiar with the 70s period, but if it's as boring as what my parents listened to, then I'm sure Gainsbourg contributed to diversify. Not that Aznavour et les autres weren't good, but only when you're mentally impaired. Have yet to try. I think that Gainsbourg has some sort of chic appeal to non-French-speakers, so it could pass.)

Serge Gainsbourg - Ballade de Melody Nelson (Howie B.)
Serge Gainsbourg - Là-bas C'est Naturel (Faze Action)
Serge Gainsbourg - No Comment (Dax Riders)

It's from Pony Up! (you can download it from their MySpace), one of those bands at that show I missed. It's upbeat, it's sad, it's whatever. The four girls played it live.

Radiohead, bluegrass style

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... Totally maniacal; I didn't realize until it got to "The best you can is good enough" from Optimistic.

The band's actually a couple for 10 years. They make electropop, are from Montreal, and often sound like artists in my playlist b/c they are incidentally inspired by them. So this is the first of three albums that are supposed to come by mail. In fact, the things that I didn't know was that the label makes this a double CD by including a sampler of other bands signing with them. The album's pleasant - pop at times, experimental at others. Worth giving it a try.

Musical crack

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Something Korean from the 60s called the Pearl Sisters just went by on the radio. I want something similar from Hong Kong. I want to sniff it.

Strange musical occurrences

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One's mind is constantly being stimulated (and if it's not, go see a doctor, read a book, dunno) and tries to find connections between previously unrelated things. Anyways, introductory psychology class. The funny occurence of the day/week is Cowboy Bebop. Because, first, I went to this show and someone mentionned that the pre-show band occasionally sounded like CB (per his limited anime references). Yesterday night, I heard a song on bande a part called "See You Space Cowboy" that was _not_ the one we all know, but rather some rather deep atmospheric music - I think (by thisquietarmy, from obsure compilation). And this morning, Comfort Radio played at least two songs by The Seatbelts.

Cowboy Bebop soundtracks, and in general Yoko Kanno stuff used to be *my* soundtrack to Fantasia 2003, my first time at it (15-ish movies!). I can't wait for summer to come.

I'm such a stubborn asshole

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I always made up my mind that Lali Puna is sort of like Ladytron, for having not listening to anything (despite being given the chance on many occasion) from them until 5 minutes ago, but now think they taste more like Stereolab. "Grin and Bear" on Comfort Radio (live feed).

In 2001 or 2002, I fell for a Japanese web-radio fed by a Mac-loving hipster on, now defunct, cyberblocks.net. From there, stemmed my fondness for Shibuya-kei (Cornelius, Takako Minekawa, Karimi Karie, Kaji Hideki, and the rest of Cornelius' old Trattoria label), and for artists like The Brilliant Green, Spitz, Supercar, My Little Lover, Towa Tei. So yeah, my fascination for Japanese muzzak lives b/c of a web radio. Now the Comfort Radio, while seemingly a very minor webradio (I'm the only listener, out of 15 available slots), has been giving me lots of really really enjoyable music for the past week.

Kobayashi @ Main Hall

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Finally, it was by pure chance that we caught the Kobayashi show tonight. It was through Sean, who was coming back from China this week, that I knew about the show and with whom I had a Radio 3 conversation started this morning:

Sean: Oh by the way, do you know this band Kobayashi.
Ced: Hell yes, I do!
Sean: Well, the pianist's my neighbor.
Ced: No shit, cuz the sax used to be my cousin's teacher in high school.

(Well, isn't Montreal a small city...) I was able to relay the info to Sabina, who mentionned the music in her blog for its, err, 'medicinal virtues'... I'm totally making this up, but I find it's true that the music, acid jazz with electronic and funk elements, is entrancing, carries you off sometimes... as soon as the pre-show bands retired, a certain aroma could be felt in the room, and a particular gigantic rastaman proceeded to impede on the view of the whole right wing. A rather tall asian indie boy went to talk to S - turns out to be a freelance photographer taking pics at the show - although I found it rather clumsy that he seemed to have the timer on, and kept on blinking its light in the performers' faces. The girl doing the occasional vocals (no longer the same in the latest album) also stroke a conversation with us between the pre-show bands' performances as we were standing at about 10 centimeters away, err, against the scene, for most of the evening. XD

The pre-show bands were somewhat more low-key. The first band were the Antizario from Ottawa, of whom we missed the first few songs - and caught in time a rapped solo for a jazzy tune. Sean said that the first songs reminded him of 1- Modern Era theme song from Civ3, and 2- Cowboy Bebop. To me, it was a really cool mix of genres, which I have the impression to be so 2000, but really something to smoke up to (at least the more high-beat Kobayashi would be). Then the Soundclash, another band with a more experimental sound in the same jazzy sound, which I couldn't fully enjoy in the state I was in (30 hours straight awake, mind you). I dozed off on my chair, but as soon as Kobayashi came on stage, it was a succession of songs that I knew and which are usually played as "work music", and therefore naturally swung to it in the first row, and cheered as the solos went by.

The ride home was a particularly adventurous one. The new lead singer (a somewhat short girl with a particularly expressive gesture) was saying how she lived in the South Shore, and had to stay over after the show. Time went by quickly, and we left the show early, only to miss the last metro to Cote-Vertu by 5 minutes. S took the metro to Jean-Talon, while I decided for an adventure. It ended up being a succession of very well timed buses: the last 51 from Laurier at 1:08AM to Snowdon. Then up Decarie on the 371 night bus at 1:45 (at that point, I only waited 10 mins) to Cote-Vertu metro. And from there, the 382 on the north path into the West Island. Home at 2:50AM.

CBC Tour here we come!

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Found free full-length tracks of some of the bands playing tomorrow, and instead of hot-linking, decided to take them up on the Tacos. :D

Hexes and Ohs - alive until saturday
Hexes and Ohs - this and other distances
Hexes and Ohs - Whadaya Know? (video)

Hexes and Ohs is a Montreal band (in fact, all four bands playing tomorrow *are* from Montreal) into electropop (with the usual synth). Whadaya Know? is actually what did the sale in my case (as playing on the radio three podcast). "Whadaya know? You're the flavour of the week!", a very fast-paced high-energy track that makes you want to go out and party on a Saturday Night. Really. [credits on the Hexes and Ohs news page]

Pony Up! - Wet Unmastered
Pony Up! - Heard You Got Action
Pony Up! - Speed Of Light

Pony Up! An all-female quatuor quartet. If you have only one to download, "heard you got action" is teh funny naughty girl talk. "Let's talk about baseball!" XD

Comme un homme libre and Alligator Trio are the other two bands performing (more tomorrow).

[Edit: The show is now, and I can't go b/c 1- I woke up late for it, and 2- I have a stack, a heap, a list, a map, and a hashstacklisttable, basically a COLLECTION of work to do. T_T]

B&S show photos

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Already I knew that most people at Saint-Laurent Metro at 23:30 came from the show, but that was a given. Although I've known of the WWW's magical powers, now I can be off for some magic for myself to witness as I browse pics of the show in all sorts of other angles too!

Belle and Sebastian in Montreal

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belleandsebastian.montreal.20060226.jpg

A fine show by Belle and Sebastian at the Metropolis. Got there at approximately a quarter past 8, just in time for the pre-show that was starting, with Canadian band The New Pornographers. It was a song I knew, but of course, I don't know the name - about the same for most of the B&S songs. Not a weird thing when you know the band for only three years, and have been since trying to catch up on their 10 years career.

Stuart Murdoch is very chatty and energetic on stage. At some point during the show, he descended to meet the crowd, while Stevie (the band's other male vocals) was starting on Jonathan David. Your Cover's Blown was played after the second time a girl from the balcony yelled for it. they played all the songs from the new album, except the drunken slow ones, like Song For Sunshine, or Act of the Apostle Part 2. There were many pieces from the older albums, some of which I've never heard before - being on If You Are Feeling Sinister or something else that's pre-1999. Finished with a two-song encore, ultimately concluding with one favourite, Sleep The Clock Around (for not seeing S at all during or after the show - could be what she's done, b/c *I* was falling asleep dead asleep on the bus to/from show, and even during the show >_>).

(Edit: lolz, petronia says via lj that she was indeed in the crowd, and in fact in my photo! "one of the heads about two people back, trumpettist's corner". She caught a setlist.)

Found a Chinese indie community, and re-acquainted with a HK duo called The Marshmallow Kisses (a discovery of Fio's de Moderntime, who was loose in HK a few weeks back!), from My Little Airport's page on Last.fm. The demos are really fresh and cute (like their name). They were a feature in the English-language free weekly BC Magazine of February 2nd 2006, but the site's maintenance seems to have imploded after last Fall (omg, teh poor web design)...

"But anyways, what is indie?", asks the community page. Is it for people who like to be unfaithful in music? B/c all I've been doing in new music is from either public Canadian indie radio stations, rarely taking down addresses, or even names. Much to my own dismay. One likes to be a nomad in its music-listening - but soon enough, you comfort yourself with old flames.

Nuit blanche notes

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I'm listening to a bandeapart news report on the upcomind Montreal All-nighter. The radio station's associate director dude's has a proposed trail for the 25th...
- Nuit Electronik (starts at midnight)
- Usine C (a walk up the street at 2AM)
- Musee d'art contemporain (at 3AM)
- Free breakfast at Complexe Desjardins at 5AM
- Nuit Electronik again
- (Ced's addition: the Olympics men's ice hockey final LIVE at 8AM :D)

... the tour's stopping on March 2nd in Montreal. Comme Un Homme Libre, Hexes & Ohs, Pony Up, Alligator Trio (they are on this week's CBC Radio 3 podcast) - for free, at Club Soda. Call 1-866-588-3383 to reserve a ticket.

An album of threesome-ish covers (and originals?). A really fun album, even if you haven't heard all the original songs.

Two nights of boogie-woogie. Friday night was with buddies Francis and Ivo from CTF at our club's mascot band, The Electric Six, who seem to be old boys in their late 20s or early 30s doing what Francis describes as rock/punk/alternative, which could also just be a 'rock band with funny lyrics'. A lot of fun, especially being just one metre away from lead singer (who just did that, sing, except during that stretch between him shouting "STOP" and "CONTINUE", at the middle of a song, where he went backstage to fetch a guitar while other members less clavierist retired and sings some unknown moody rock song, and oh; I will immediately forget about the details on pants and shirt, or lack thereof during 5-minute intermezzo). That was Electric Six, the band that tours Montreal, Canada, every six months...

[I often forget what I said before long parentheses, go on and ramble about all sorts of diff stuff... Here, what I meant by being a meter away from the lead singer is not that it's cool by itself (following crowd for low-fives), but rather that it was where the mosh pit energy waves came crashing on. Try to keep yourself steady among rowdy teenagers twice your size.]

Tonight, was with Jae from NYC and Ess, dancing away to local electronica DJs at the Parc Jean-Drapeau. Activity in question was Piknic Electronik des Neiges, the cold version of the summerly weekly event under the sculpture in Jean-Drapeau going by L'Homme. After an hour skating with Wee around temporary skating *tracks*, went to dance the cold off for a couple of hours, armed with some brandy brought along, complemented with hot wine 'n caribou purchased from makeshift bar. Can now mark off "dancing in snow and on ice" below "dancing during summer rain".

Afterwards hung out at Andrew-the-conteur-extraordinaire's for a compressed beer and a cuppa tea and a discussion on the gayness of a certain shounen series -like Naruto if you are anime-adverse/illiterate- called "Bleach", with a roomate playing Heroes IV making impromptu comments-as-if-across-hallway. I made it home at 3AM, exactly an hour after getting the 382 night bus at Metro Côte-Vertu. Dropped off in the middle of nowhere - Pierrefonds-St-Charles intersection, and walked a good 20 minutes in some -7000°C cold listening to a certain angsty teen rock band... I'm going to check in on Flickr...

Choco what?

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Woaw, do I tag this entry music or food? :D (Anyone interested? lol, it's in less than 24hrs...)

The music of happy

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At the beginning of this week, S passed on to me some new music by Tsuji Ayano. At least the album that's currently playing (Cover Girl) is like April in Japan (in fact, the newest 'Calendar Calendar' is 12 songs for each month of the year). Pleasant, like a stroll in the Tokyo suburb, along the canal, under the sakuras and a big blue sky. From the transparent biodegradable bag, I take out the nigiri I just bought for 145円 from the Family Mart ("damnit, it's salmon roe!"). Wipe the taste in my mouth with a sip from my carton of Hokkaido milk ("damnit, it's not milk, rather yogurt drink!"). What a gentle breeze.

[music: Tsuji Ayano - Never can say goodbye]

(Note: 'Cover Girl' is a cover album, that also contains a few English songs re-taken in Japanese, in this mellow acoustic register w/ trademark ukulele.)

Metric - Empty

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Metric - Empty

Canadian indie rock band with a girl doing the vocals. This track caught my attention on the January 13th CBC Radio 3 podcast, b/c it crashes down like a mobile of glass planks on a freshly waxed marble floor? ... I'll listen to the rest of the album. Then, since they're playing at the Metropolis on March 1st, I'll just decide on the spot whether to see them live when I go see the Belle and Sebastian.

Bande a part has been playing French Canadian rock oldies from the 60s for the last hour, which is an odd thing, b/c they are an 'emerging music' show, not 'long-buried' music show. lol, the retro-ness of the lyrics... Le garcon qui ressemblait a une fille, J'etais son copain, and covers of American classics. The same lame topics of predilection with big doses of refreshing prudeness one doesn't find in contemporary pop music.

Anyways, it's overflowing with cheese on Espace Musique (100.7 in Mtl) for the rest of the week between 1 and 2AM.

But that reminded me of how cool it would be if I could put my hands on retro 60s music from Hong Kong; with mental link to Fantasia, the 2004 movie with Cecilia Cheung. It's always intrigued me: Chinese 60s pop from Hong Kong, where can I find that?

Also heard on the radio box, the tube map of music!

I got my answer concerning the impression I had regarding Les Nouvelles Lunes. Says the first clip from "Sacré Talent!" (of whom she's the featured artist this month), that she wrote Grande est la vie, and Douce Lueur when the contrast between the goodness, sweetness of the child growing in her versus the pain, hatred and destruction of the Iraq war going on was at its paroxysm.

Piknic Electronik des Neiges

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P1060253
Originally uploaded by Smurfmatic.
The city is melting, and the Picnik Electronik is really a part of the festivities surrounding Montreal's "Fête des Neiges" (whose activities were cancelled for all of today's); and that could explain it. Nevertheless, posted new pics on Flickr from tonight's stroll in a wet & rainy (& pellet-y, at some point) city. Although there are news as to which the organizers would be trying to bring the event for next week instead. Under the same monument from outer space.

A few Jpop buys, since the yen and usd are so low (the vendor is gaining). It's also been a while that I had new, potentially good, Jpop. So, you know, if you've got any, send it my way. :D

yuki.melanchorinista.maayasakamoto.yunagiloop.JPG

The Maaya Sakamoto is not produced by Yoko Kanno. I guess it had to be slightly different-sounding. And as for the Yuki one, well, it's cool, also pop-pop-pop. Very very similar in beat and twist as the previous single (upbeat, hopeful), Yorokobi no Tane... just like the singles from Commune sounded alike. I guess it's the inspirational streak. I'm still unsure how the artist in Yuki deals with her baby son dying at a very young age last year... Can you tell in the lyrics?

Re:Music blogs

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Now that's a discovery, The Hype Machine, a freakin' music blog aggregator (and you understand why I don't want to link to it directly XD).

A tuque

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Not only should I try to find myself a hat (with the salary that arrived in my bank account, it should help), but I should also try to find myself a tuque, for this upcoming event. Hot wine is a concept I've had knowledge of before, but not something I've experienced.

Of what I've been listening to

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I've been listening to a lot of radio, which is at times music, and also public affairs shows. As for music, this means moving from the usual Asian pop, or less pop, to music that would be, not necessarily more "mainstream", but certainly more North American. And whatever "mainstream" means, when one of your favourite podcast reached 1 million downloads. I guess it's a pleasant thought to think of oneself as indie. And then I think that this sort of music, selected by this kind of people (a relative small group of people working within a national govt-funded broadcasting corporation - in French, and English) should tasteful. Anyways, i was trying to find arguments, but I suppose it's music for the musically undecisive.

Arcade Fire - Une Année Sans Lumière - I've been shuffling some stuff around. The Arcade Fire, b/c I didn't catch the fever last year, for having been too 'asianated' at that time. The first "Neighborhood" tracks clearly sound to me as a walk in Montreal. "Une Année Sans Lumière" is the long walk I would've had on Wednesday or Thursday night, b/c of its wet-pavement-after-the-passing-rain feel. Slightly like Friday's walk, finalement. (Some lyrics are sung in French, but it wasn't really apparent in the first place, coming from someone who doesn't "fully perceive" lyrics in languages other than French. So the song was originally taken as randomized vocals...)

Mara Tremblay - Les démons - If the acoustic guitar reminds me of Brokeback Mountain, it's just per my lack of Country references. XD I bought the album ("Les Premières Lunes") a week or so ago, and have been playing it over and over again. It's a lovely album full of love (I was going to say, a pot of love you spread on your toast in the morning - but that sounds a tad denigrating wrt album - which is one I like, or else I wouldn't have purchased it!). It came to my attention that the artist is happily married to another somewhat-known Quebec artist (Daniel Grenier, formerly of humour band, The Chick'n Swell), and that they've kids. It's been commented that she was in love, even if many people, who happen to be artists, can be in love, and you probably wouldn't know just by listening to their music! But I paid attention to this album, and it makes your experience fuller. You know, like the love of your kids, that you put into this world with the one you love; that's in it. XD; I've chosen "Les démons", b/c like anyone, I have demons, *g*, and instead of being fiery and violent like a usual demon, this song is soft and plentiful of hope.

Jean Leloup - Ballade à Toronto - Another French song, please bear with me. A more personal song. I caught myself humming this uncontrollably coming out from my January 1st electronica night experience. It is also the first track of the album that represents to me strolling in the countryside of a wet tropical country. XD The title rather suggests a road trip to Toronto with frequent stops on the side of Lake Ontario... It is not a road trip I did myself, even if I've been to Toronto by road most of the times I've gone there - b/c one doesn't see Lake Ontario, unless you take small roads. (Tant qu'il y aura des étoiles, nous devrons nous arrêter / As long as there'll be stars, we'll have to stop by)

YUKI - Stand Up! Sister - The first dir on my player plays automatically whenever the machine resets b/c of static, or when I run a bit too violently after the bus. :P And Yuki's 2003 album, Commune, has been in first position since the month after Labour Day (incidently, I started listening to Commune on my last trip to Toronto on Labour Day). And overall, this album is simply superior to her previous ("PRISMIC" - too eclectic) and her latest one ("JOY" - too pop), with its "70s feel", and per the quality of the visual work surrounding the album (single covers, music videos) as well. The singles from that album are the what I imagine as the middle of a baseball lineup, even if it's not really it, 'cause they're tracks 6-7-8, although it's one of those albums that are good from one end to another. In fact, it felt so homogeneous that I could hardly tell tracks apart on the first few times I've listened to Commune (especially b/c the track names were in Japanese characters :P). The video of "Stand Up! Sister" has Yuki drooling around and making every reborn with her salive... ... oh well, a song on the theme of rebirth?

(I would also put something in Chinese, but really hasn't been anything that I liked lately which wasn't, like, The Pancakes or My Little Airport... The Sun Yanzi, or Faye Wong..., not really at this moment. I think it'd be nice to discover new Chinese bands/artists, not just from the PRC, but from across the 'Chinese nation', but that hasn't come up, and it's too much effort... So yeah, there's always a comment box! :D)

Bande à part is currently feeding some pretty nice electronica music by a Montreal DJ invited to the show, Eloi Brunelle, the man behind netlabel Epsilon Lab, plus some more very good stuff from the same label (Dublee - and surprise! is Japanese! and is going to release something with Ada and Superpitcher!). teh hip. *makes devil hand sign* The former performs at Stereo in two Fridays.

Such an incoherent post. Ok, here's the new (and free) album by Dublee. So, hope I caught your attention.

A house party (at my house, no doubt) with conversations stretching into the night, guests drinking red wine, and Cantopop - 'best of' CD of all four Gods of Cantopop in shuffle mode.

I was dropped off at around 4:45 near Metro Atwater, and spent the next hour and a half waiting in the cold or taking various methods of transport. Two musical notes, that kept me warm: Mara Tremblay's extremely mellow acoustic folk album of 2005, and the first three, four or five (actually 7-8) songs of the CBC Podcast #34 (includes tunes by Raised By Swans, The Arcade Fire, Metric, and the rest of it).

I guess that Canada is like a forced marriage, or marriage of convenience, some might say, but you gotta think of the children.

I (guess I) would've liked sharing the time spent walking on the sidewalk of Atwater Street under highway 720. I also guess that hanging out at the coffeeshop is a cool thing to do, especially on a Saturday evening, with two sofa chairs facing towards the full height windowed corner of the coffee shop, which gives on one of the busiest street intersection of the whole city. So many 'nice' moments alone like this, which would of course just remind me of the sways of solitary adventure in the urban jungle of Hong Kong. And how much I wanted "her" to be there with me, how infinitely etherical such wish (dream) is. In the end, you contemplate morbid ideas, such as seeing an expo on melancholy (and vanitas) in a city like Paris.

Forecast for tomorrow and this week: skies clearing up, temperatures are expected to drop to -17C. By mid-week, it's supposed to go back up to a whooping 10C.

The lesson is that this is a narcissistic generation, and if we;re not finding each other, it's b/c we're still only looking at ourselves.

I felt for some Air-ish music this morning. This sort of planing electro music, b/c of the temperature: gray, warm, and everything around melting so that one could believe it is springtime soon. Also maybe because I spent the night before doing shit-all (like finally beating the Noble difficulty level on Civ4 - but on a smaller map, which is the trick - human players can't multi-task like AIs :P) and felt like human trash. Yeah, paranoia, like what it would feel like in the morning after a night of drugs, sex and rock 'n roll.

But in any case, I wanted to get that Mara Tremblay album some time ago already, since listening to the first two tracks, which have been playing in the radio recently (and probably for a while before I came back, as the album was released March or May of this year). The first track is a Asian-sounding instrumental piece, called "Le Voyage" - a pleasant piece of Eastern fusion catering to Westerners (like Memoirs of a Geisha). The second one is "Grande est la vie" ("Great is life"), one song that I probably would've wanted to have in my player this morning. It's a piece of peace and serenity and hope on a grey suburb morning.

Mara Tremblay - Le voyage

Brillent nos enfants, cadeaux dans le firmament
Échos de nos coeurs battant tous ensemble, grandissant
Vivre pleinement la chaleur du présent
Magiquement, nos enfants sont les plus grands

Mara Tremblay - Grande est la vie

Jardin d'hiver

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Currently listening to Bia's Jardin d'Hiver (in Portuguese), b/c the people in the radio box thought it went well with the temperature outside (7 celcius). One older version (in French) I have, is Henri Salvador's.

Belle and Sebastian in Montreal

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The B&S are in Montreal, as reported here, and are to tour with The New Pornographers. Finally a band I'm following that is coming to Mtl.

This was excellent, and in fact in some other CDs S gave me, there was the stuff I'm looking for right now (Annie, The Arcade Fire - not that they're very similar in style). Music CDs are like wine, it seems...

Memorable music from the trip was Yuki's Joy, and Supercar's B-sides. The first was bought in a music store in the shopping mall within Hiroshima train station. The second was bought at the HMV in Shibuya, same one where I spent hours in 2002 looking for a bunch of CDs for friends to buy. There is always memorable music to memorable events, let them be extended as trips, or punctual as parties. What are your memorable albums, songs?

(On that particular mix, I thought there was some amount of familiar-sounding indiepop... Anyways, b/c I never actually gave my impressions in person ('cause I wasn't in person for 5 months!), tracks 3, 6, 8, 10, 16 and 18 were really fresh-sounding - not stuff I listened to, or am listening to right now, but which if I knew how to find, would definitely like. The girl on the escalator - so many girls on the escalator indeed...

Immaculate Machine - Phone No.

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From the end-of-year CBC Radio 3 podcast, is one song by Immaculate Machine entitled "Phone #" catching my attention. Looked the band up, and found out that their website's music section has a full-length copy of said song (and another one of their song called "broken ship"). Fast-paced music with a tad of melancholy and underlying rage (and it sounds "Canadian", but why?).

It's a remix that takes lyrics from at least two other Ferland songs, "Quand on aime on a toujours vingt ans", and "God is an American", and mixes it with "Sing Sing", which is really just a song about a poor fool coming out of the famed prison outside NYC, and makes it about one really weird mix that sounds more like a mid-life crisis? Oh well. While "Le chat du café des artistes" and "God is an American" (the remix versions) have played on Bandeapart, but also in daylight shows on the Radio-Canada Radio One, it was Sing Sing that made the buy.

Jean-Pierre Ferland - Sing Sing [Rest Area]

The best part? When the poor fool goes to the motel, and that there's no more brillantine, eau de cologne and the bed is all-carved down on one side only. C'est long vingt ans...

Jaune 2005

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Jaune 2005 is a remix of Jean-Pierre Ferland's 1970 classic album "Jaune". Not a classic to my limited Quebecois music knowledge, but it's with references to Ferland, and what other local singers (Roch Voisine? Hah!) that I grew up - of course alongside my mother's Andy Lau. Yeah... Well, imagine Teresa Teng Lee-Kwan in technopop remix? That reminds me of the "I love Serge" (Gainsbourg) techno remix I bought a few years ago on my last Radio-Canadien listening spree... But Jean-Pierre Ferland is not quite Gainsbourg. He's more like those charm singers from France, like Aznavour or Gilbert Bécaud. Well, to me, JP Ferland is the summum of Quebecois kétaine (cheesy) of the 70s, and an electropop remix of that is just fuckintastic!

I think I try to unbore myself by listening to the radio - loving the music and shows on Radio-Canada/CBC so much. And now I discover that podcasts can be useful to non-iPodders, with software like Juice (I was told one can subscribe to podcasts by Winamp?). Well, anyways, nothing new under the sun - it's sure kind of intriguing as to why while the technology was there for such a long time (RSS, compressed audio files, widely available broadband Internet access), it would take such a long time to add things up, and for the concept of "podcasts" to be widely accepted as mainstreamish (of course: the iPod as the trendsetter).

RSS support will be built-in into the next version of Windows, Vista. While one might hate Microsoft for its all-mighty presence, it is for the mainstream computer user population the only thing that exists. Like, Firefox might have implemented tabs since its debut, but the "people" will only know about them (and learn to cherish them) whenever IE7 comes out... At least, it was announced this week, the MS IE7 team is deciding to use the icon for RSS popularized by firefox.

In the meanwhile, Radio 3 and Bandeapart.fm have awesome podcasts (the first being CBC's Canadian indie music semi-radiocast / full-satellitecast and the latter, its French Canadian equivalent), for low periods like 12 to 6 AM on Fridays...

"You have discovered Javascript!"

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("and you may now build killer webapps to destroy your opponents!")

[music: some electro song with a Hubert Reeves interview (about humans destroying the planet, no less) sampled in the bg??]

(Bande à Part, which is really the French equivalent of CBC Radio 3, is the best indie muse playing on the radio 12 to 4 (AM, that is). Besides being a show on regular radio wave radio show past midnight, it's also a complete radio station at normal hours on Sirius (with podcasts - which are in other words, for non-iPod-havers like me, legally free phat-ass music files!).)

For all Saskatchewanians

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Les Trois Accords - Saskatchewan

Because they lost three weeks worth of tagging on my account... but the thing is I never tagged anything on last.fm. XD Still, this means these features. And while checking the paid account stuff, found that you could get a countdown of your favourite music as a generated gif (for free):

smurfmatic's Last.fm Weekly Artists Chart

There's even a Debian/Ubuntu package for the Audioscrobbler/Last.fm! That is, found it only after lots of time spent trying to make the downloadable plugin work, assuming they wouldn't be producing a package for something as "obscure" as last.fm?

My aunt, uncle, cousin, etc, were sleeping, I think, so it was me and the clueless Vietnamese driver who was taxiing us back from Dalat to Saigon, a 5-6-hour road trip through the Vietnamese countryside. Jean Leloup's last, La Vallée des Réputations is the best tropical countryside CD ever. It would, I'm sure, also fit Africa, South America, if I ever go there. This review is exactly what the songs on the CD's about (Sur la route de Toronto, au bord du Lac Ontario: On the way to Toronto, by the side of Lake Ontario - but that's if you don't take the Expressway, b/c I can't remember ever seeing water by the road to Toronto).

(Maybe not all HK I think, but it comes mostly from one HK Magazine feature published July 1st, 2005)

-Alok ("psychedelic shoegazing")
-Dear Jane (Greenday-ish)
-Elf fatima ("emotional, loud, noisy")
-False Alarm
-King Ly Chee (hardcore)
-Oliver (electric rock / brit progressive)
-Qiu Hong
-Wilson Tsang
-Whence he came (rock)
-Tommy Chung and the all blues
-Jenny Jenny
-Joves
-Chet Lam
-At17
-The Pancakes
-My Little Airport

Dare to Care

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Heh, Felix passed on this article written on one of our highschool classmates (if it is who we think it is - also notorious for being the class' big mouth :D) who founded his own indie record label. Interesting, I'm going to fetch some of the audio samples on its site... (an eclectic lineup, says the Mirror article)

It was probably at the beginning of one morning show this week on Radio-Canada that I heard this song:

Ariane Moffatt - Imparfait

One of the saddest songs I've heard in a while, so for a mood downer, here you go! But in any case, it made me look a bit more closely at the one who was crowned revelation of the year in 2003 by the ADISQ. Electronica? Well, if it can be non-mainstream pop (while being at the top of the francophone rankings at the HMV and Archambault), it might be good? A buddy of Marc Déry, of Zebulon fame (which had one or many hits that I liked when I was a teenager), and also one of Daniel Bélanger? Then it must be good!

Music situation

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Listening to Radio-Canada steered me towards French Canadian pop. I already bought the Jean Leloup compilation. I've heard enough of Ariane Moffatt on the radio to like it and want to purchase the newest one (having not listened to the first and previous - she won new artist of the year on the Quebec music awards in 2003; my tastes in music are probably more in sync with those of other people living in my city/province than I thought). Gently mixed with my HK indiepop, there you go achieving some sort of identitarian equilibrium!

(I must also point out some clever Quebec rap! Forgot the names of the bands, but it's on Bande À Part!)

And tonight I will be attempting to see Maurice Richard the movie in premiere, which might be a sports movie, but is said to be the most expensive Quebecois movie ever made at 8-10 millions CAD, and hailed by critics to be a Good Movie(tm). Also a look at a character who was one of the best hockey players of all time yes, but also one of, if not the most, important heroes of French Canadian society, especially symbolized by what the CBC names the "Richard Riot" (simply called the "Forum Riot" on my usual French medias).

The Pancakes - Everyone Has A Secret

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After some serial listening, "b" (if you like me then it's fine / if you don't i don't mind) and "hallo goodbye" (guest vocals with lai from false alarm) are clear favourites. I also like unexpected obstacles. Simple charming lyrics, that's what make the pancakes a hit with me.

The second was a pure luck buy, b/c I wandered in the "urban" section of HMV, only b/c I was looking for a certain house compilation released by the CBC. Instead, I came across the latest from Kobayashi, a Montreal-based band mixing elements of jazz, electronica and hip-hop. I know this band through my cousin Brian, who had one of the band members as his (music?) teacher back in high school, and bought a previous album (in one of those old-school floppy disk in guise of CD pouch) which I still have in my possession...

Of all the French Canadian music I listen to, Jean Leloup must be one my faves. For its clever lyrics and happy sound. "Je joue de la guitare", a compilation of all his hits from 1985 to 2003, is one of the two albums I bought today. From comparing his sexual exploits to Operation Desert Storm (1990) to describing desperation of an "ugly" office worker (La vie est laide), and of course the theme song to hit show "La Fin du Monde est à 7 heures", officially released for the first time (which did the sale). Delightful.

The main dish from that shipping was The Pancakes' Everyone Has A Secret, latest album of this one-girl band. Music that always sounds good, with these sweet Cantonese-accented English vocals. Will listen to it a few times and post a favourite, or something.
It has arrived! It's a single alright. Mini-CD size with two HK high school style notebooks with fake highschoolers graffitis. I believe it's a production by silentagreement. Besides Gigi (first track from My Little Airport's 2nd album "B/c I was too nervous at that moment"), there is "washide", a 1:29 track in Japanese (or fake Japanese), and two guitar versions of previously released songs, "你的微笑像朵花" and "dee, it may all end tomorrow" (the last one was acoustic). Too short indeed, even by single standards.

RADIO!

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The radio channels on my player have been set. CISM, CKUT, and all four Radio-Canada/CBC channels Montreal is getting. This is why this overexpensive music player is still better than an iPod. ^^;

Give up (the song)

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It's one of my least favorite songs off of Faye Wong's Scenic Tour album, mostly because it is directly after two of her songs which I like the most - Emotional Life and Forbidden Love (do not ask me the original Chinese name). I do not know the lyrics of the song, but every time I do feel about the "giving up" (before actually going back to my state of letting-go), I think about this song title. Track #4 of Scenic Tour, so.

The Beatles - The White Album

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One of the albums I didn't listen to as a kid. We had one of the early albums (It had twist and shout?), the Red Album, the Blue Album, Seargent Pepper's, Let It Be? What the one between SP and LIB, perhaps Yellow Submarine? But one of the albums we never had, or didn't have, was the White Album. It has obviously familiar songs, like the one I'm having a virtual hash trip on, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, or Back in the USSR. Eh.

The best songs are those one wasn't brainwashed with during childhood. And it would be fantastic stuff like Glass Onion, or hey, hot shit, Happiness Is A Warm Gun (which not only has a cool title, but is a really really fuckinstasic song! MOTHER SUPERIOR JUMPED THE GUN!). Revolution 1, and Revolution 9. The Continuing Story. It's two CDs, as anyone 40 years old or above can attest. The Beatles, and I don't know what's on Wikipedia, were, and you can tell, at their peak with Seargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and were their slightly more decadent self on The White Album. It's usually the best you get from a band. Further away from the pop of the early years, and right in the period where they start becoming truly arrogant with their style. Not actually as depressing as chant du cygne albums Let it be & Abbey Road, so that makes the White Album a favourite (besides the tracks-never-heard-before factor).

(Watch out below)

Belle and Sebastian

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I've been listening to Belle and Sebastian, on top of everything else. Their new album, a double CD that goes by the charming moniker of "Push Barman to Open Old Wounds" (cleverly, the album cover shows a black and white picture of a barman next to a poster saying "Push bar to open", with "Man" and "Old Wounds" sprayed in black to complete the message). It's absolutely fabulous, especially as I listened to the duo of "Belle & Sebastian" (eponymous song, eh) and "Lazy Line Painter Jane" (maybe you will have a boy tonight! on the last bus out of town! maybe you will even have a girl tonight!).

I like it when the girls call us boys, rather than guys. It's got some sort of retro charm to it. Like when in French, one would say "ces garçons-là", instead of just the "ces gars-là". Tous les garçons et les filles de mon âge, eh!

Musical note w/o download

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[music: Color Filter - Regret]

It's the ending song to moderntime's Secretly Smitten mix CD (something that arrived in the mail the other day).

A few notes. I immediately recognized the band as having a song on some movie I saw related or made in Japan. So I initially thought Lost in Translation - but it was in fact related to that Ping Pong movie based on a manga, and which had lots of cool Japanese techno music, including three Supercar tracks (and it contributed to make me buy the Supercar album when in Japan).

Color Filter doesn't have a song on the Ping Pong OST. But someone who does, and who I am fond of, sugar plant, remixed a composition by Color Filter called Sad Grey Sky.

But Regret is not an original song, I thought. Why would a Japanese band sing an English song with lyrics that sound so un-Engrish? Well, there's the mystery, and only the Back-Of-My-Head can figure it, but I thought, well, isn't that like a New Order song? And S confirms that she probably put it up at some point, and I either listened to the original or the remix (and more likely the original - since what I remember as an original is most probably that remixed version of Color Filter).

In any case, this episode opens up new musical potentialities! :D While S seems to be in a mood for more of that techno (which my amp is bringing me to now: Superpitcher - Baby's on Fire (Club Mix)), I believe the trend's for some indie muse moogle-dance-able at 2AM of my hypothetical wine and stay up all night and go to the park to smell dew parties (but then we'd have to bring portable music players, *and* synchronize the songs?).

Probably the harshest party that I've been to (I was going to say "for the knees", but somehow it just wouldn't sound right...). Currently at the Café Dépôt on Ste-Cath, Sabs napping in the sofa-chair nearby. I just had an apple-cranberries cider.

Six hours of moving to the rhythm of something that I like. Besides the fact that there are no Asian pop stars giving shows in this city, I am quite satisfied with the variety of musical night life in Montreal. The venue was not filled to capacity - this Salle S.A.T. (for Society for Arts and Technology - which is rather "Society for Technological Arts" in French) was previously a supermarket, if my memories are correct (and they shall be), and you can tell, as it is a large open area with high ceilings and white-painted walls. There's a clock on the wall, but it goes backwards at an accelerated rate. We stood right in front of the stage, two metres away from the performers.

I think I like partying. I have not historically been a party-goer, nor do I make a fine client of parties (therefore the dwindling - or rather constant low - rate of party-going). I do hold parties at home; but it doesn't quite reach my ideal of a fine party... Ok, there are probably two types of parties I'd still like to have. I had garden parties, and cooking parties - usually annual feats at the Sam's domain. But others would be the "fancy-themed" party, and the "lounging-until-dawn" party. Fancy-themed: the tea party or the wine and cheese party. Lounging-etc-etc: have people bring in their MP3s, and plug them in my hypothetical then-Powerbook (equipped w/ then-Intel chip).

Gosh, I'm feeling teh tired. My knees are really indeed hurting...

Utada Hikaru - Be My Last (PV)

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It's sort of worth mentionning, that one of her single was "First Love". In fact, the one most people not into her music, might remember as that pan-Asian tube of around the year 2000 - I can tell it was my first encounter with Asian pop, when my brother was sort of into Japanese pop and rock, and had me mix up Namie Amuro with Utada Hikaru over who was indeed singing "First Love".

Well, "Hikki", like all people, has matured, and I will probably be more eager to associate the "Utada" nickname to her. No more hip-hop from the Automatic-era at least.

The music video for "Be My Last" was shot in Prague; the protagonists of the video had this slavic look, but I probably wouldn't have known if it weren't for that "Vychod" sign right before the third minute of the video. A vastly bizarre video where Utada Hikaru plays a ghost while singing stuff in Japanese which I still need to get someone to translate for me...

I don't know much about Eastern Europe. I'm not aware if the cities of EE enjoyed some sort of prosperity before the 19th Century. I suppose it's because these countries are land-locked and probably did not enjoy that sort of prosperity countries like England, France; or even Spain at some point enjoyed at some point. My guess is that anything beautiful has been built mid-18th to early 20th, during the Prussian or Austro-Hungarian era (and then destroyed by two wars, and the better parts put in the chloroform by Communists who cared a bit more for historical heritage).

It's an eerie song (until the lyrics translation tells me it's not a love-turned-sour song but about Utada Hikaru's last meal taking a life of its own during the night, hah!) whose video didn't exactly fit what I had prepared myself mentally for. Well, the actual video could be for a Western goth rock song, if it weren't for Hik's or the fact she sang in English.

Was told it was on the soundtrack of the film adaptation of Yukio Mishima's Haru no Yuki, which I quickly went through. I'll have to look into this...

MLA - 只因當時太緊張 (got it)

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my.little.airport.because.i.was.too.nervous.jpg

my.little.airport.because.i.was.too.nervous.back.jpg

Got it just an hour ago. Listening to it. :D So good, but too short. :/

Edit: Ohhhh... I get the how they got the inspiration for the song title...

NiNa - Hairspray

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"Don't puncture or incinerate / Don't use while operating heavy equipment"

NiNa - Hairspray

Ooouuh yeah! Great stuff! NiNa is a Japanese super-band that lived the time of one album released only in Japan (1999) and contains Kate Pierson of the B-52s as its seem-like leader. Yuki is the other vocals in the band, and is in this song, if you recognized that squeaky voice. The album is vintage stuff. Yum, and I'm off to sleep.

It's coming out this Friday, and they're sending it to me by registered airmail for 20CAD (70HKD the CD, I guess the rest for the registered airmail :D). Yay, yay -yay.

Yuki - 66db

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Yuki - 66db

It's lame that as I start regularly posting music again (after a two years hiatus), the same artists come back over and over again. This is a single from Yuki and also on her first solo album published in 2002 (a few months before I made my first trip to Japan - I didn't know Yuki but remember seeing the cover while browsing the stands at the HMVs in Ikebukuro and Shibuya). 66db is electropop with some trance elements? (I'm still trying to figure out my styles) One music critic compared it to Bjork, but I've not listened to enough Bjork to be able to decide. Starts as a calm little song, which amplifies at each pass, until the finish where a male vocalist (?) and then Yuki whisper something like "Everybody loves the silence" (I noticed it today - it's really whispering, need to be in a silent place).

Quite Ridiculous

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I listened to songs by YUKI, 535 times last week? I suppose that shuffling it once in a while doesn't really help? o_O

Found a way to get tangled up with bunch of random stuff ay 7AM. Finally, My Little Airport updated their site, and set a release date for their next album (sept 23rd). I'm attempting to buy it from overseas, and one needs to do it through Paypal (with no specifics as to the shipping/handling fees). Why so much complicatedness?... And later, while roaming from link to link, I fell on the site of a solo act called "The Pancakes", who started back in 2001 (MLA, and False Alarm are playing supporting acts for her show in two weeks in HK). There is an indie scene in HK. One just needs to find it woh. [I'm not going to link it, but you can find samples on her website] - And I must say, I never thought I'd appreciate Casio music so much?

my little airport - Tim, do you really wanna make a film

The beginning reminds me, for a lack of musical references, Belle and Sebastian's Sleep The Clock Around (what I'd like to do tomorrow - actually, I'd like to go out and PARTAY! It's Saturday night after all :P). A nice composition, sung in beautiful HK-glish with a tint of Cantonese in the bg at the beginning. (The B&S ref must be the beat and use of fwe-fwe's) The sound is kind of getting old, but the new single of the new album (something like "I was too nervous back then") is refreshingly different from the other tracks I've heard (this one, and the AV one). SHE MENTIONNED CAUSEWAY BAY! ~faints~ One has to cheer for the home team (indie music) when the rest of the crowd is booing or just looks the other way. Oh, damn you HK for you lack of musical taste...

HALCALI - Electric Sensei (remix)

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In the same family as m-flo, I discovered this J-rap girl duo called "HALCALI" (as I was searching works by Miho Moribayashi of Hi-Posi - she did a remix for HALCALI)... Did not put the whole album up, because as any sort of thing that only Japan is interested in, the filenames and ID3 data are all in Japanese...

HALCALI - Electric Sensei - (electric body sensei mix)

This is a pretty awesome remix of their 2nd single, "Electric Sensei"; and if you go on their website, you can hear that the original song has nothing to do with the remix. Anyways, punch me if you want more. :D Oh, and is that rap in Japanese, Engrish, or Spanish-Japanese? o_O - Not said on the filename: tthe remix is by Takkyu Ishino.

[The PV for the 3rd single, "Giri Giri Surf Rider", is this cool fight between a gang of goth schoolgirls and their girl 80s punk rivals! (Who then settle their differences by dancing in choregraphy with those we call HALCALI)]

Yuki - Commune

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It's not really a new album, as it came out in 2003, and is the predecessor to the "Joy" album (with singles "Home Sweet Home" and "joy" published in between). I uploaded the album on my mp3 device right before leaving for Toronto, having finished the download just the hour before leaving, and it was probably on the best things I've listened to in a long long time. It was music to make Cedric happy during Labour Day break 2005... It's hippie. It's like the music from Chara past her early 90s very-pop stint (they probably exchanged notes while recording that duet together), sounding as a logical sequel to Madrigal. I like it so much because it fits a mood of abandonment, of wanting to escape to the countryside and spend time doing about nothing. I had to listen to the full album before sleeping on both nights at the hotel (and it was past 3AM both times, with a timetable to wake for 9AM-ish). Quite less mainstream pop than Joy, but probably as squeaky as it...

Yuki - Communication
Yuki - Funky Fruits
Yuki - Nakisoda

(Other people say it better)

Ballade à Toronto

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Jean Leloup - Ballade à Toronto

Parce que je vais à Toronto ce week-end! :D If one misses HK, while from Montreal, then Toronto is the best/closest surrogates of all. Nothing as closely cool as Jean Leloup's trek to Toronto, I'm going there for very urban eating and shopping of Asian stuffs. >_> In Montreal, things are different, perhaps more interesting, as you can effortlessly live un-ghettoized. Hardly can, in TO's Chinese suburbs (last time, I tried the game of spotting a gweilo in other cars - and lost so badly).

Piknic Electronik

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Clubbing outdoors. Woaw. And midway into the activity, a summer end-of-afternoon shower poured on the happy dancers (and picnickers; as the name of the activity implies, it was a mainly a picnic, until the rain made the grass un-picnickable). I like electronica... but I like cute/baby Japanese electronic pop better? It's the story again of what's whose reference.

[Music: Glen Matlock & The Philistines featuring Holly Coock (from SEX PISTOLS) - Sleepwalking (Love for Nana tribute album)]

Last.fm

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I registered an account on Last.fm...

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Kimura Kaela - rirura riruha

I picked up this single by Miss Kimura, who I think was poster girl for Vodafone in Japan. I was expecting something very candy pop, but it's actually rock, or pop rock. I don't know, she reminds me of a Japanese Avril Lavigne in looks (probably not in music, even if I don't currently a mental recording of the latter's songs). I also have the music video, but it's 147Mb, so I'm not going to put it up. :/

(The B-side "TWINKIE" is on the "LOVE for NANA" album (a tribute album, or an originally-recorded fan soundtrack?)), which came out the week I arrived in Japan back in March, and which was to be seen in every single bookstore/musicstore. I should've gotten it, if not for me, at least for people I know who fan about Nana - it also had a Tommy heavenly song, and some other bands I recognize.)

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