In this side of the world, it is not being dogmatic to assume that Four Tet would be a neverheard, much more Jamie xx or the Mali couple Amadou and Mariam. Southeast Asia has never been the best place for musicians abroad to mark in their touring map, much more with indie artists. Few exceptions though happen, Laneway Festival in Singapore brought in bands before or after they hit the real Laneway Festival in Austalia. Production outfits try as much as they can to enthuse acts to visit with surveys and Facebook demand page “Manila Wants Neutral Milk Hotel with Beirut and Joanna Newsom Now!.” At times it works, most of it is dodged.
This sort of frustration does not happen in East Asia, particularly for fans in Japan and Korea. Yearly, Fuji Rock Festival and Jisan Valley Rock Festival serve a plethora of artists that a Southeastern fan can only dream of. This year, the two festivals take out some of the best in current pop music and serve them on a plate for three days all for the musical hedonism of our Korean and Japanese pals. You ask about Shonnen Knife? Yes and they are teaming up with Deerhoof! Three-day pass for Fuji Rock Festival is at $496+ and for Jisan Valley Rock Festival cost about $203+ with additional charges for car parking and camping ala Coachella.
Here is the breakdown of the bands/ acts playing this July 29, 30 and 31 in the festivals.
In “Postcards from Italy,” the band’s widely popular single from Gular Orkestrar, Zach Condon sings about a recollection of early memories, of good times gone before his eyes. The song closes with his pipe dreams of waking up to the same ecstasy, of being married and owning those dancing days forever. All of this when he was barely 20.
Admittedly, Condon and Co. exude claim to beautiful melodies layed over rich textures of trumpet, ukulele and a bunch of Balkan folk music staples due to the leader’s outspoken love of the region’s culture. In the band’s latest work “East Harlem” this influence from those “chain of wooded mountains” does not go shy. His voice, the kind that swoons low but hits high up there only to rise from the lovely ebb of chanting instruments, resonates the wisdom of someone who has seen all of life, that could have survived a war, lost a wife or has seen a generation pass by.
In this track, he willingly pauses to highlight the tender sounds of horns filling in the longing of having “a thousand miles between us” and the memories it has left- “and sound of your breath on the door/ and the sound will bring me home.” Hear it for yourself: