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Taiwanese brothers mix up their native culture with western electronics and global psychedelia to blur genres.
The brothers Hom Yu and Jiun Chi who make up the Taiwanese experimental band Mong Tong are pondering the differences between local and western funerals.
“I think some of the funerals here are actually not sad,” ventures Hom Yu. “Okay, somebody’s passed away, but it’s a celebration of a life, so we should be happy.”
Mong Tong aren’t a morbid band. The duo, who formed in Taipei in 2017, revel in the many positive aspects of Taiwanese culture by recording them and using the results within their music. These elements include weddings, celebrations and funerals, all of which carry festive aspects about them. It’s not exactly musique concrète, and it does owe some of its technical execution to some other unlikely sources.
“We’ve been influenced by the production of hip hop,” says Hom Yu. “So maybe we’re trying something from an Asian perspective rather than Black people’s. There must be something original from us.”
As evidenced on their eclectic new album, Tao Fire, Mong Tong’s pick of styles certainly makes for a joyous aural experience.
“We’re actually big fans of left-field and electronic music,” continues Hom Yu. “But we’re trying to make something from an eastern perspective and totally different from western music. So we’re thinking about our hometown, and we think that’s a good place to start working on. We put a lot of our town’s events and music together in our material. I think that’s why our percussion sounds different from other bands.”
The vibrant results do much to avoid easy categorisation. But surely they see themselves as part of a wider psychedelic tradition?
“Well, it’s hard to say,” considers Hom Yu. “Most of our fans are from the global psychedelic scene. But I think we’re more experimental than that. So it’s kind of blurry for me.”
Just how far things get blurred will be seen when Mong Tong tour Europe later this year.
Tao Fire is out now via Guruguru Brain. See www.mongtong.bandcamp.com for more information.From "Around The World - Mong Tong" Prog Issue 142 Reprinted with permission.