Print of Note #11


Subject Citation Contents
electronic dance music in Korea; Korean Americans "Seoul Shakedown; a history of Sickboy Productions and other remixes" by Robb Harker (pp.60-4)

"DJ Fujiwara" by Scott Bug (pp.65-9)

Bug, #5, 2001?

"My first couple of years in Seoul were passed as an English teacher, working six days a week and spending Saturday nights in Hongdae, Seoul's 'alternative district' on the western edge of town. For those of you that don't know, Hongdae is like a sanctuary in Seoul, home to the city's best clubs, bars and coffee shops. It's one of the few neighbourhoods in the city in which you can walk without people staring at you like you're some kind of freak...
  Back in '96-'97, there wasn't much of a 'techno scene' at all in Seoul - or Korea for that matter. Some clubs in the Hongdae area were mixing house, trance and techno tracks into sets with many different styles of music, but there were only one or two clubs that were playing strictly dance music. Basically, the country had yet to be exposed to music that was taking over in other nations such as England, Germany and America."


BUG: You're a Kyopo, right? Is there a difference between Korean-American and Zainichi Kankokujin?
DJF: Korean-Americans are 2nd generation, mostly. They can speak Korean better than Korean-Japanese. Korean-Americans are more like Korean, I think. But Korean-Japanese are more like really Japanese...
BUG: Some Korean-Americans always complain about having problems here. Do they have more problems than Korean-Japanese?
DJF: Like in what way?
BUG: 'Cause Korean-Japanese are still Asian, But Korean-Americans are Western. So they're much more different. They complain that Korean people aren't fair to them...
DJF: Yeah, yeah, yeah, right. I think so.
BUG: They seem angrier, compared to Korean-Japanese...
DJF: Right. 'Cause it's like, Korean-Japanese, dude... they're Japanese. Japanese are "calm" people...
BUG: "Cool"? "Peaceful"?
DJF: Yeah, peaceful. But Korean-Americans are born in the States, so their situation is different... They don't like white people, right?
BUG: Why not?
DJF: 'Cause white people don't like Korean-Americans? That's what one of my friends says... Like white people think Korean-Americans are cheesy...
BUG: Really? They think we get special treatment in Korea - because we're white. So they don't like us...
DJF: Yeah, I think so. Anyway, it's just like Korean-Japanese don't like Japanese. Me, I'm okay, but most Korean-Japanese really don't like Japanese people - like our parents (laughs). Same thing...

Snow Mountain Music Festival "The Beat Goes On; 'China's Woodstock' had it all - rain, smashed guitars and good old-fashioned, bad-attitude rock and roll" by Craig Simons, Far Eastern Economic Review, 5 September 2002, p. 57   Chinese rock has also been held back by government fears that large gatherings could turn political. Officials also don't always like rock's independent streak: Cui's song Nothing to My Name, for instance, became an anthem for the student protests in Beijing in 1989...
  According to one veteran musician who played with Cui Jian in the 1980s, Beijing's decision to give the green light for the festival - even in a remote locate like Lijiang - shows the country's leaders may be warming to rock...
  A light rain is falling over the crowd as Qi Mu Guang, a self-described hard-core band from Kunming, takes the stage. The singer belts out a slew of expletives in English. Looking on, Sun Baoling, a 75-year-old man from Yunnan with a face like a walnut, appears a little confused. But as Qi Mu Guang's black-clad singer screams amid a roar of amplified instruments, he begins pumping his fist slowly in the air. "I like rock and roll," he declares. "It's got feeling."

(And maybe it's the only music that's loud enough for the old guy to hear without a hearing aid!)

Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project "Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project: Musical innovation at the crossroads of East and West" by Adrienne Mong, Persimmon; Asian Literature, Arts, and Culture, Vol. III, No. 1, Spring 2002, pp.82-85. Gereltecht [Mongolian concert pianist] and Sharav [Mongolian composer], whom Levin [Silk Rd. Project curatorial director] met..., embody a fundamental part of the Silk Road Project's East-West concept: incorporating Eastern instruments and music into traditional Western classical music. They also reflect the Project's biggest challenge -- how to create a new musical sensibility without diluting its traditional roots. "You run a great risk of creating the cultural equivalent of fast food whenever you try to take something traditional and export it to a more global audience," acknowledges Levin.
anime-related music, T.M. Revolution "Eastern Cowboy; manga and anime may have their fans, but at Otakon the real star is T.M. Revolution," by Josephine Yun, Baltimore City Paper, 6 Aug. 03, p.28. The musician is interviewed in Tokyo before flying to Baltimore to perform at the largest annual Japanese animation culture convention on the East Coast:
      "I'm a little nervous," T.M. Revolution says through an interpreter... He's outfitted in a snug, gray tank top, checkered flannels, and a black beret. "But, I'm really looking forward to the convention in Baltimore because it's something that I've never really done before. It's completely new."
      TMR may be completely new to the American public, but his music is fairly familiar to anime fans. His first major Japanese hit single, "Heart of Sword," closed the popular series Rurouni Kenshin. and the new Gundam series, Mobile Suit Gundam: Seed, carries his latest single, "Invoke," as its opening song...
      Japanese artists have often been dismissed as poor imitations of '80s music and American glam rock, but that view is changing. One reason is accessibility. The growing popularity of anime and video games in the United States has increased interest in other aspects of Japanese culture. Another reason is that the overall quality of mainstream American music has declined, leaving listeners open for other alternatives.
Ahn Trio "The Ahn Trio - Classical Musicians" by Maria Ahn, in Cool Women, Hot Jobs ...and how you can go for it, too!, T.Schwager & M.Schuerger (ed.s), Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, 2002. This chapter on the Ahn sisters gets into their philosophy about music:
      When people think of classical music, they tend to think of Hadyn, Mozart, Brahms, Bach, Tchaikovsky -- the old masters. We've realized, however, that the specturm is so much wider than what you usually hear, or even what you think classical music is all about.
      At Juilliard we met many brilliant young composers and were exposed to some really great music, more than just the standard classical stuff. It was an intriguing, exciting experience. We discovered that there are a lot of talented, contemporary classical composers who are influenced by their surroundings just as much as the old masters were by theirs. The difference is that now, thanks to modern communications, a contemporary composer's surroundings include a whole lot more. Now someone in Austria can hear jazz from New York, salsa from Columbia, drum rhythms from Ghana, or folk melodies from Tibet without leaving home.

They (through Maria, the cellist) also discuss their exposure on MTV. Julliard (their alma mater) had contacted them about the gig, since the school often receives requests for live music and refers students and alumni:
      In 1997 we were contacted by Juilliard and asked if we were available to sit in for an MTV Unplugged session with Bryan Adams. It sounded like a good opportunity so we thought, "Why not?" The Unplugged sessions feature musicians performing without amplifiers; the idea is to emphasize the music instead of the sets or any kind of amplified sound. These days, a lot of pop and rock musicians choose to use a string section. It adds richness to the music and makes it more interesting by creating additional layers of sound...
      The session turned out to be a lot of fun, and Bryan Adams was really nice; we could tell he really respected the students from Juilliard. While it was no big deal to us -- we had done a lot of things that meant more to us (such as the record contract) -- our appearance caused quite a stir in the classical music world. It just goes to show the power of the media, and of popular music versus classical music... [It also probably didn't hurt that they were fashionable hotties.]
      What amazed us about the experience was the size of the production. There were more people working on this production than there were performers! Clasical music recording session are so much smaller, just the performers and a set that looks like a concert hall...
Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Review | Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra; "Remembering Hiroshima, in a Farewell Performance" by Ben Ratliff. NY Times, 21 Oct. 03. Toshiko Akiyoshi has been leading her big band since 1973. This performance on October 17, 2003 at Carnegie Hall was meant to be her last with the band in a concert hall.
    She is 73, and her intent is to focus more on her piano playing... It will be a loss. She has absorbed the most useful and least composer-specific aspects from the work of Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Ellington (late period) and Ralph Burns, and worked them into an incredibly engaging style: lots of chordal motion, lots of contrastic melody parts, sections to spotlight specific members of her band, open space for robust, swinging trio interaction, and -- her stock-in-trade -- lots of cross-cultural references. As one of the very few women notably leading large-ensemble bands, and certainly the only Japanese woman leading a world famous band playing only original compositions, she has never tried to play down who she is and what she's up against; her honest, entirely nonglib way of combining jazz with elements of Japanese and Asian culture testifies to her success.
North Korean music "Backpack | Martial music and sea shanties for Andy Kershaw in North Korea" by Andy Kershaw. Songlines; the world music magazine, #22, Jan/Feb 2004, p.112. Kershaw hosts a world music program on BBC 3 and had visited No. Korea several times, before his most recent trip to record music performances. He turned the material into 2 shows that aired back in December of 2003. (Go to the 2nd links page to access them.) His trip report is a bit tongue-in-cheek, which is probably the best way to approach the earnest and extremely politicized performances:
      On previous trips I'd picked up a number of local CDs, all released by the state record company Pee Records. These featured a couple of the country's most popular bands - the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble and the Wangjaesan Light Music Band. You may have heard me play the odd track or two on the radio. 'Let Us Enrich The Communist Economy First With Rice', perhaps. Or 'My Trench'. And who could forget such classics as 'Who Is The Women's Association Chairman?', 'The Love Between Officers And Men Grows On The Long March' and 'Good Farming In A Sub-Work Team'? As we DJs like to say, the hits just keep on coming... Even so, I'd decided there had to be something else...

One of the sites Kershaw visited in the No. Korean capitol was the U.S. spy ship, the Pueblo.
      ...In 1968, the North Koreans captured the Pueblo, a US spy ship, in Korean territorial waters. [Ed. note: The U.S. Navy insisted that the entire time during the encounter with North Korean vessels, the Pueblo was in international waters.] Today it is moored on the river in the city centre. [Ed. note: Pyongyang is on the west coast. In 1998, the ship was moved around the Korean peninsula from the east coast, where it had been since its capture.] A tourist attraction, should there be any tourists. An elderly captain, who had taken part in the seizure of the boat, showed us round. Then, in a room still stuffed with vintage surveillance equipment, a young sailor launched into that old North Korean toe-tapper, 'We Will Safeguard the Nerve Centre of the Revolution with Desperate Courage.'
DJ P-Love "We Love P-Love; Groove Digger" by Eric Nakamura. Giant Robot, #39, Winter 2005-6. an interview with Montreal DJ Paolo Kapunan, a.k.a. P-Love:
"...Most people know me because I toured with Kid Koala for years... I also did the "How to DJ" video that came out. It was one of the first how-to-videos for sale on Amazon. I guess that helped, but in terms of being memorable, I can't compare myself to someone like Qbert."

On getting into DJing:

    DJing is something I picked up as an instrument. It's the last thing I picked up . I was the typical Asian kid with the piano lessons and classical training. I was 6 years old when I started the piano, 8 with the trumpet, and 16 with the DJing. I kept it separate from the other instruments. I was making money by playing weddings, but when I got into college, I had this epiphany to fuse them together. Take what I learned in trumpet lessons and apply it to DJing. Wheels were turning in my head. Everyone talked about the turntable as a musical instrument, and I had that revelation in '96 or '97. The turntable thing symbolized uncharted territory, and actually applying theories of rhythm and melody and translating them onto the turntable was a challenge. I think Montreal was the next big thing in Djing, so being caught up in that was synchronicity.

On his creative process:

    I grew up listening to hip-hop, but also the Beatles and jazz. When I set out to make an album, I didn't want to have just one sound. The way my mind works, there are always 20 million things going on, and that's kind of how my music is, too. There are so many reference points that lead up to whatever comes out. One of the things that I learned from making this album [All Up in Your Mind] is that when I go for a particular sound, I feel like I am being unproductive. So I let things take their course, and do what comes instinctively. When I let my guard down, things start to flow a bit quicker.


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