Tuesday, May 24, 2005

lately i've really been digging the sounds of red chamber. fans of asian music or surf should probably take note.

The story of the band known as Red Chamber spans three decades and the globe. I first heard them when I drunkenly got into a taxi in Taipei, Taiwan back in ‘96. It was 4 a.m. The pompadoured cabbie gunned the engine, went peeling through the rain-slick, neon-reflecting streets of that mad metropolis and popped a cassette into the deck.

What I heard was aural ambrosia: surf guitars and organ traded Chinese riffs over a driving backbeat of bass, drums and percussion. It was sort of like the hip instrumental “now sound” of yesteryear, but Chinese. The Mao Sound! I drunkenly exclaimed. In broken Mandarin, I proclaimed my love for this music. Impressed by my good taste, the cabbie gave me the cassette. Thus began my search for the Red Chamber.

It wasn’t easy to find. Red Chamber never achieved the success of similar Asian instrumental “A Go-Go” acts of the 60s and 70s like the Quests and the Stylers. Maybe it was their penchant for occasionally adding a nasty, psychedelic edge to the usually squeaky-clean dance party sound.

you can listen to some mp3s here. i highly reccomend their 7 song cd. really great stuff, they even do a version of tabu!