Monday, April 25, 2011


Had the pleasure of finally meeting Rex tonight in Portland, AKA Mattress, AKA Reservations. Who was a huge influence on the conception of early Dirty Beaches back in 2006 after I saw him perform at Cagibi in Montreal all alone on a stage, crooning. Armed with tape machine back up tracks, pedals, and other machinery, he rocks the mic like a shadow dancer in the night. Incredible voice.

Check out his music and go check out one of my personal favorite tracks "Eldorado"

Mattress Myspace

Rex is taking me for some graaaaavy and biscuits tomorrow for lunch.

Boooooya can't wait

*Update May 1st, 2011

Also, in relation to one man performances, David Byrne in this video is also apart of the dirty beaches genetic make up. This video gave me so much ideas when I first came across it a few years back.

Such a great stage and set design and performance. Amazing.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Water Park Theme Test 1

Just got back home from the studio, currently working on a score for Evan Prosofsky's upcoming film "water park", a Canadian film that takes place at a indoor water park in Edmonton, Alberta. The test take was inspired by Steve Reich's phases compositions, and from what my mathless brain could handle, I started off with simple patterns with 3 chords that are harmonically intertwined. And from there I experimented a little bit with William Basinski's tape disintegration technique, which is a concept to copy the audio tape until it starts corroding itself. (kinda like the VHS copy idea in which the quality of the copy worsens each time around) As a result, it generated some weird frequencies along with this tape wash sound that almost sound like waves.

Indoor man made waves.

Wish I had more time to record...will be leaving for tour this friday.

Good night, folks.

Water park theme tape disintegration by Dirty Beaches

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A reflection on sampling and exorcising cultural ghosts

Just today, I came across the music of Cyrus Shahrad, AKA Hiatus via when you motor away blog. "...Shahrad's family fled Iran at the time of the revolution, and he was raised in the Brixton neighborhood of London. He has worked as a journalist as well as as a musician...In a trip to Iran in the last decade while on assignment for the Sunday Times of London, Shahrad discovered his father's old music collection in his grandmother's house. He started experimenting with mixing the music that reflected his London experiences with his father's middle eastern music. The result is his album Ghost Notes..." The video below is the track "Insurrection" about the Brixton race riots in the early '80s, using vocals from reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson"

Perhaps culturally, sampling has become a tool that satiates the wandering minds of music lovers all over the world, and have been pushing the idea of what's considered music over the past 30 years. When bands like the Rolling Stones steal from black American blues artists to kick start their initial career, they've gotten away with it, along with countless other white musicians at the time. Which you can argue it was obviously re-contexualized for a different group of audience, and pushed the idea of black music into mainstream America. In which later paved way to numerous black artist's musical careers on a larger mainstream scale. Fast forward to the sampling age, the Stones hypocritical lawsuit against the Verve's Bittersweet Symphony over a sample of theirs will serve as a foundation of our discussion.

The topic of interest here today, is the ethics of sampling and it's surprising attributes as a cultural mirror that reflects not only popular culture, but historically of our society as a whole. Right off the bat, being a first generation immigrant myself (at the age of 8), the meaning of the phantom country we're suppose to hold alliance to, where we come from, along with the voices of our fathers drilling into our heads reminding us of who and what we are, conflicts with the fact that we were raised an ocean apart amidst completely different cultural customs and political climate. We switch between identities and adjust our attitude depending on the environment we're in.

We adapt, and assimilate. The passage of time forms new molds of existence. Layers upon layers of cultural reference are laid onto us to guide us through the act of co-existing 2 worlds, mentally and physically. A dichotomy in nature.

As the music world progresses, certain people still become extremely aggravated towards a 30+ year old music technology which was first widely introduced in the late 70's when hip hop was born. Prior to that in Jamaica, there were DJ's that "talk sing" over pre-existing records at their live shows, and even prior to that the Chamberlin was made in the US which later served as a precursor for the mellotron, and had recorded and sampled drum loops of live drummers, designed to be at your disposal and usage at the reach of your fingertips; rhythm mates, they were called. Overall, the act of sampling covers an array of styles and usage, along with personal motivation and intent, but mostly it conveys "what was then" into an alternative universe of "what is now" culturally, politically, and personally. Some people call sampling a throw back, but if you look at the logistic side in my case, someone like me couldn't have existed in that time, whether racially accepted or musically. So why would I want to be apart of a cultural throw back that constituted the Chinese exclusion act? Amongst other fucked up shit that I don't want to get side tracked into.

The context of badlands in itself is an abstract thought, despite the personal reasons behind making the album. It was an attempt to try and understand my father as a young man, before his youthful dreams perished with the tides of time, not to mention immigration complications of assimilating into Taiwan. Which was politically in turmoil at the time after the Nationalists fled out of China due to their defeat against Mao's Communists. To his credit, which he never once bitched about, this information was never relayed back to me until I pried these stories out of my uncle and mother in recent years. The attempt to exorcise my father's youth, this ghost of an idea, which was projected onto my existence growing up ("art can never put food on the table") became a reconciliation, a dialogue from son to father. As I play my father's music in ways that can only have been done in this age, I channel in the physical image of his youth, performing across North America. The idea of that in itself would've been impossible during his time due to the aforementioned issues above.

Across the Atlantic there is a different story of a man making sense of his father's music collection, digesting and presenting past cultural music in concoction through modern technology, exorcising another ghost that was left behind. Perhaps then, the ghost will finally leave in peace, or perhaps its spirit now coexists with the record.

As we ask ourselves what makes a man, we come into terms with our own adulthood, drifting along this sea of cultural and history madness of bad blood.

Our legal existence here without acute racism, is progress. Your reaction to the kind of work presented, is a reflection of where we are as a society, as a whole.

*UPDATE April 20th, 2011

For more info on Asian / Pacific Islander immigration stories in North America check out this blog:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dirty Beaches - Discography catalog

Been getting a lot of emails in regards to my past releases lately, so here's a list of the complete discography of Dirty Beaches from 2006-2011.

Fixture Records releases:
Old Blood
Seaside EP
Bird EP

Night People tape releases:
Self Titled (Cassette)
Night City (Cassette)

B-side (mini cd via La Station Radar / France)

Split tapes:
With Omon Ra II (Campaign for Infinity)
With Generic Shit, Hobo Cubes, Street Gnar (Campaign for Infinity)

Solid State Gold tape(2005-2010) Via Rose Mansion Aanalog (Beijing)

Golden Desert Sun (Italian Beach Babes / UK)
True Blue (Zoo Music)
Split with U.S. Girls
(This is the only link Sibling Sex records sent me for online orders)
Split with Conor Prendergast (Soft Power Recordings / Scotland)
No Fun (Italian Beach Babes / UK)

12" LP
Badlands (Zoo Music)

Film Score:
Pracitcal ESP (Scotch Tapes / Canada)

Double Feature 12" LP
(split with Ela Orleans via Night People & La Station Radar)

Split Dub Tape W/ Matt Koshak

...and MORE!!!

Stay tuned, folks.

Work hard, play hard, get paid, write more.

* To all inquires in regards to samples *

I sampled vintage drum machines I couldn't afford from youtube and other software programs that compiled the drum sound files. All the prior releases before badlands were written by me and played by me. Misc instruments were midi triggered software instruments from: Mellotron, Chamberlin, and Optigans (i.e. Synths, orchestra, flute, strings, horns, choir, etc) The rest are keyboards and guitar. Hope this explains to all the questions in regards to my recording and sampling set up.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Leviathan from Richard Mosse on Vimeo.

Via Evan Prosofsky

Check out that microphone~!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Digital Mixtape - Friends Are Your Family VOL. 4

For Vol 4 we got Jeans Wilder and Ela Orleans, both good friends of mine that work in the realms of guitar, keyboards, sampling, beat making, amongst other instrumentations. Speculator returns on the mixtpae series as someone pushing our approach in music even further, he's like space invader or banksy of underground tape music. His music recalls the aesthetics of graffiti and pop art for me personally, and I love it.

Mavo is the project of my japanese brother mitz who makes furnitures in Montreal for a living, fans of yo la tengo or pavement will enjoy this. Bird Striking is the only band on this mix whom I do not know personally, I came across their music off a live bootleg recording Mix Cd Josh (Pangbianr) passed onto me during sxsw. I am not knowledgeable in 90's indie rock so I'm not really qualified in attempt to describe their sound, but they are from Beijing and thats all the info I have of now, I enjoyed the track very much and hope you do as well.

Heavy Times and Lantern return again, and will be playing with me in Chicago and Philadelphia, please come to the shows and check them out for yourself if you live in those 2 cities. They are amazing.

Last but not least, Zhu Wen Bo's noise inspired pop songs Xiao Hong yu Xiao Xiao Hong is a project he plays in with his girlfriend. Zhu curates noise shows in Beijing and is one of the few amazing talented artists that give a shit about curating and promoting events in Beijing. Thumbs up for Xiao Hong.

Enjoy the mixtape guys!



1)Jeans Wilder - Sparkler
2)Ela Orleans - Myriads
3)Speculator - Peter Says
4)Mavo - Hirune
5)Bird Striking - Magpie
6)Heavy Times - Ghost Cave
7)Lanter - Feelin' like I might wound up dead
8)Xiao Hong Yu Xiao Xiao Hong - Tomorrow

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Practical ESP OST out now!!

The OST I composed for Zoe's short film Practical ESP is out now on Scotch Tapes, one of my favorite tape labels, run by the most amazing person AL who funds his whole tape operation from working on a fishing boat. He comes from a family lineage of fisherman, from his grandfather down to his generation. A true badass.

A side story for your amusement: Philip Tarr (Mess Folk) and I actually tried applying to work on AL's boat last summer for some fast cash, this was what he said:

"No offense guys...but I don't think you two are cut for the job, unless your ready to have every finger broken at least once... your always welcome to stop by the cabin though"

We love you Al, sorry we weren't man enough.

GET THE TAPE HERE! only 100 copies were made:

Dirty Beaches - Practical esp OST

*On the cover is Zoe's aunt Bobbi, who starred in the film. She runs a horse farm in Sooke, British Columbia. She was 16 in this photo.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lantern - American Razorwire

Just got this sent to me from my pal Zach (Lantern, Omon Ra II) I was fortunate to be asked to guest on these 2 tracks this past summer, and it was recorded LIVE in Montreal at our friend Andy and Christian's studio Silver Door on Ave Du Parc. The track "Devils Rope Revisited" was orchestrated by Zach, with Andy on Drums, and me on bass. Originally inspired from one of the lessons of improvised music Zach had learned, we commenced on a freak out in the beginning playing as hard and fast as we could until our limbs no longer listened to us, resorting back down to a primitive 2-note riff that made us drift around like drunk drivers. And from there on, the adrenaline of the track finished itself, along with a happy accident of Quebec radio frequency intruding towards the middle of the recording. We embraced it with open arms. If you have nice speakers, turn it all the way up to get the full aspect ratio of Zach's Hendrix-like guitar playing.

Hear it and get it here: