Orangegrass
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Orangegrass

Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan | INDIE

Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative

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Orangegrass¡¦s new album is an introspective, atmospheric meditation on life in Taipei

S torm clouds seem to follow indie-rock trio Orangegrass (¾í¯ó) wherever they go. In Kaohsiung, Tainan and Kenting the band has been greeted with rain. At a recent outdoor festival in Tamsui, a sudden downpour hijacked the group¡¦s set.

But instead of wallowing in self-pity, the band embraces the gloom of gray skies. They named their first full-length album Cumulonimbus (¿n«B¶³), the meteorological term for towering, puffy clouds that cause heavy rainstorms, and the band is throwing a launch party for the CD with a concert on Thursday at The Wall (³oÀð).

For lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Klark Chung (Á駾Ç), rain sets the right mood for their music.

¡§Of course rain can be annoying but I like the feeling that comes with it, where you don¡¦t have to leave the house,¡¨ he says.

Orangegrass sounds like a post-rock band, with electric guitar-centric songs based more on themes and moods than melodies, but there¡¦s one difference: vocals figure prominently in their songs.

Chung formed Orangegrass in 2004 with drummer Larsq Tang (´ö©v¾±). Current bassist JoJo White (¥Õ²±¤è) joined later. They cite the standard influences among Taiwanese youth of their generation, including Nirvana and various heavy metal bands.

But what really opened the doors for Chung was going to Spring Scream, Taiwan¡¦s first genuine alternative music festival, where he saw pioneering indie bands like Sugar Plum Ferry (²¢±ö¸¹) and Tizzy Bac.

¡§What they were playing at the time was trip-hop, like Portishead, and there was no guitar,¡¨ he says of the latter. ¡§When I saw them, I thought this was really cool. What is it? I¡¦ve never run into this before ¡K that¡¦s when I wanted to sing stuff that was more different.¡¨

Many of Chung¡¦s lyrics are introspective musings on loneliness, sung either softly or with emo-rocker verve.

¡§It¡¦s the feel of living in Taipei,¡¨ the 27-year-old says of his music. ¡§Taipei has a drifting feeling. Compared to other places [in Taiwan], people¡¦s relationships are more distant ¡K many people pay attention only to themselves.¡¨

But the Ilan native prefers Taipei¡¦s concrete sprawl to the ¡§big family¡¨ atmosphere of his scenic hometown. ¡§I think Taipei can be a cold and detached place, but it¡¦s also a place I really like,¡¨ he says. ¡§Your [personal] space is bigger.¡¨

For Orangegrass¡¦ show on Thursday, concertgoers can expect to hear all of the songs from the new CD, as well as new tunes already in the works. And even if it doesn¡¦t rain that evening, listeners will be treated to atmospheric storms of a different sort: Chung says he tries to evoke the ¡§humid¡¨ air of Taipei with his reverb-drenched guitar sound. - Taipei Times


Discography

Album:
Cumulonimbus (2008)

EP:
Rainbow 4 a.m. (2006)
Goodbye Sunshine (2008)
2 Sides (2010)

Compilation Albums:
Lobo Three (2005)
Kafka Urban Folk Vol.1 (2007)
Summer Tail movie soundtrack (2007)

Photos

Bio

Sought after by music festival organizers, they gained definitive recognition in 2007 as the opening act for The Appleseed Cast and Maximilian Hecker.

Their mini album debut Rainbow 4 a.m., independently released in 2006 and now out of print, has become a cult classic. Following their initial success, Orangegrass has attracted an audience that appreciates the subjective side of life, with a feeling for what memories can mean and hide.

The reality of life is inevitably more complicated than it seems. In their lyrics and melodies, the band has found a way to uncover the drama behind the quotidian hum-drum, revealing those wounds that one always wants to forget or those photos one tries to pack away in some long-forgotten suitcase. Just as a chance encounter or a sudden accidental meeting brings the immediacy of those moments back to life, Orangegrass brings their audience to life.

This may well explain the reason why many people can't take it when first exposed to the Orangegrass musical experience. Once people get it, the addiction sets in, and all of these inchoate feelings join the sediment of previous past memories, providing new material for the next undulating soundtrack.

Alternating between fast allegro and smooth lento, the trio maintains the fundamental characteristic of rock n' roll: direct emotion and driving rhythm. Yet it's easier to say what Orangegrass is as opposed to what they sound like. You won't hear any mundane repetitions, artificial drum lines, or unbearably pop guitar arrangements: Running dance has the speedy feeling of an urban wastescape; And Go is like a stroll along sunset lanes tinged with regret and delivery; Rainbow 4AM is like the nervous shadow of teenage thoughts; Silvery takes us back to the wonderful time when rock n' roll first started crossing international borders; and What we didn't say describes the emotional distance between two persons. At the end of this musical journey, a faint light filters in through the dust and rubble of memory lane.

In December 2008 they released their first album. After some serious touring in Taiwan. They started to be invited to almost every major festivals of the island. They were accepted by the CMJ in 2009 but some family issue of a band member kept them in stay Taiwan.

In September 2010, they participated in the Eslite Rooftop Festival and attracted 1000 fans when they performed. This year they also support Blonde Redhead and Shonen Knife when they touring in Taiwan.

Festivals Invited:

Spring Scream Festival (Taiwan, Kenting)
Formoz Festival (Taiwan, Taipei)
Megaport Festival (Taiwan, Kaohsiung)
Autumn Tiger Festival (Taiwan, Taipei)
Simple Life Festival (Taiwan, Taipei)
Rock Taichung Festival (Taiwan, Taichung)
Eslite Rooftop Festival (Taiwan, Taipei)
Plenty Rock Festival (Taiwan, Taipei)
Grass Fest (Taiwan, Yilan)
Vicious Circle Punk Festival (Taiwan, Taiepi)
Kaohsiung Design Festival