Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pittstop approved Special Event...

The future sound of Bangkok...

...on the way to Hanoi

Riding the skytrain in Bangkok reveals a beguiling skyline like nowhere else on earth. Ornate tradition blends with the seemingly futuristic, showing a disorienting disregard for aesthetic conventions.

The Thai capital’s runaway development over the last decade has been matched by the growth of a magpie-like indie music scene, which blends disparate global influences into a colourful and dizzying Siamese whole.

Hanoians who attended the Bear Garden concert last November at CAMA’s old Hang Trong location would have had a taste of this already. Now CAMA are bringing the Bangkok vibes to Hanoi, once again, this time at a unique Nha San venue a few hundred metres from the Gia Lam side of the Chuong Duong Bridge on Saturday September 29.

Making their Hanoi debut will be Stylish Nonsense, one of the longest running Thai indie outfits who encapsulate many of the elements that make up Bangkok’s 21st century pop culture.

Although they cite formative influences from Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins to the Charlatans and the Boo Radleys, they seem to have been most profoundly marked by Nintendo Family Computer soundtracks between the years 2529 to 2533 (Buddhist Era).

In their work, these primitive digital melodies combine with vintage analogue equipment and the supremely funky live drumming of Yuthana “June” Kalambaheti. The overall effect is akin to soundtracks for non-existent 70s TV shows careening into 32k game cartridges.

June and his Stylish Nonsense partner Wannarit “Pok” Pongprayoon met as freshman engineering students at Bangkok’s King Mongkut Institute of Technology and started performing together as Meauwer, recording pop-songs inspired by the Charlatans onto 16bit sound cards.

Over time (and with the loss of a third member) Meauwer became Stylish Nonsense. Stylish Nonsense are primarily a live band, having released only one full-length album in nine years. However during that time they have also lugged their collection of analogue keyboards to gigs as far afield as Germany, Japan and Paris.

Asked to name his favorite Stylish Nonsense show, June mentions a Berlin concert during which he was suffering from a serious fever but where the feeling of having nothing to lose pushed the band to take their sound even further out.

Talking to Stylish Nonsense you get the impression that their whole career has been one of constant evolution and searching for new modes of expression. The band bemoan the fact that while the Thai indie scene has grown much larger over the last 10 years, this has not necessarily led to more diversity or experimentation among their peers. Regardless Hanoi locals who want to witness this duo causing a commotion need only cross the bridge over the Red River next Saturday.

By Kjartan Hallibut

Where? Nha San Ben Ho, Bo De, Long Bien, Hanoi – turn right at end of Chuong Duong bridge, drive 400m and turn right again into Bo De street. When? Music starts at 8pm. No excuses for being stylishly late no matter how nonsensical you are. In the meantime, you can check out:

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