“Losing the absurd, a beautiful haze, the sun and moon as usual, fluctuating into madness”
Since 2008, artists such as Kitchen. Label’s very own ASPIDISTRAFLY (Singapore) and Flica (Malaysia) have ventured successfully to Japan, presented music made in the Asia Pacific to the rest of the world. Following in these footsteps, electronic trio Evade have been honing their repertoire of sounds crafted from within their immediate surroundings of the urban pastoral landscapes of former Portugese colony, Macau. In this much anticipated full-length album entitled “Destroy & Dream”, Evade takes on the view of a distant observer, questioning life, the earth, the universe and the values of its living creatures, yet with the consolation of dreams, seclusion and shelter.
Evade was born in the summer of 2004. Formed by Sonia Ka Ian Lao (vocals), Brandon L (guitar) and Faye Choi (sound), the trio released their first EP “Evade” in September 2009. Despite the fact that it was released on a small Macau-based label, with the help of Kitchen. Label producer Ricks Ang (who also mastered the EP and this album), the band attracted critical notice in Japan for their inventive and original style of electronic music, described by some as a wayward blend of minimalist electronic and post-dubstep combined with an ethereal pop sensibility. In August 2010, Evade was invited by Japanese independent music label PROGRESSIVE FOrM to perform at their curated event “New Sounds of Tokyo Vol.6″. Evade has also toured Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, and Singapore, and has lent support to Kashiwa Daisuke, ASPIDISTRAFLY and Flica’s Asian tours.
Evade builds tension through sustained silences and broken down electronic arrangements by Faye Choi, electronic whiz kid and producer of the band. Sonia Ka Ian Lao, an award-winning poet and novelist, pens poignant mantras and softly expresses them in layers of arresting whispers in her native Mandarin dialect Cantonese in “Forgetting”, “Endless” and “God”. As much an imagist as a writer, she creates these characters and Freudian dream-like scenarios that seem circle each other in unpredictable rhythms, intersecting without premeditation. In “Crush”, a carefully-crafted dream pop elegy, Brandon L strums the guitar so languidly as if in acceptance with the disenchantment of the world, and all is swallowed beneath a symphony of bit crushed synths and white noise.
What seems like a continuous vision of despair is destroyed as if the Looking Glass has shattered – in “Love”, all self-seriousness and heroism is clean forgotten now as disorienting, idiosyncratic elements are spasmodically injected – these are puzzling as they are almost self-depreciating, for here lies what really makes Evade so elusive. In “Seeking Mr. Freud” and “Pavilion”, textures are unconventionally amalgamated with minimalist beat loops, traditional oriental instrumentation and fragments of sounds sampled from old Hong Kong films. Despite the mélange of growing-up influences such as Cocteau Twins and Slowdive, Evade may be just what you get when James Blake meets Cocorosie. A slowing burning eruption on all counts, the moments in “Destroy & Dream” are excruciatingly intimate one moment and hauntingly deconstructed the next, yet these are powerfully sequenced images, with flashes of light that cut through the haze of illicit memories.
This album also features three remixes by three acclaimed producers/musicians from Japan. For Kitchen. Label fans, FJORDNE pushes the boundary of his constantly evolving jazz piano in the remix of “Pavilion”, and it may very well provide a glimpse of his future work. Lastly, Serph from established Japanese independent label noble and arguably one of the brightest new talents in the Japanese electronic music scene adds his masterful interpretation of “Love”.
A bit like the roving eye of the
flâneur in Baudelaire, who found solace in the bittersweet juxtapositions of urban life, Kitchen. Label documents momentary flickers of melancholic beauty in unlikely environments.