Put the helmets on and gear up for the eclectic, electronically-minded Taiwanese Slipper Mafia. “Shirin Market” revs up our Asian adventure. Pretty soon, 20 mph makes way for 60 mph. Sung samples and fiery percussive flavors lap up the road markings, devouring the white lines and replacing them with a white-hot python of fire. Do you want to go for a late night drive?
The streets of Tokyo and Taipei are deserted. The black body of the bike drifts through an equally black city, lit only by the dazzling neon of popular clubs and shady bars. Dark synths illuminate blood-red, blurry rivers that normally masquerade as traffic signals. Taking in the less scenic of routes, the bike pulls over to the curb and checks out the local nightlife as the track comes to a standstill. Tonight, Ashwood Shepard is on the radio. The nocturnal jets are on their final approach; the synths have a case of red-eye, too. Blinking red and white lights flash out from the tips of invisible wings as the plane banks slowly.
The bass rumbles heavily and is almost scorched at the sides thanks to the fierce afterburn of the revving engine. It adds fuel for the road, and it’s unashamed in its drunken lust for midnight power and energy as a deluge of rain intrudes. At three in the morning, restless, skittery beats kick the sheets away, and the dull thump of an energetic house party rocks the humid air. Some syncopated and uneven hip-hop beats make the road a little bumpy; the music isn’t always a smooth ride. The beats are gritted like pebbles on the surface of the road. The synths grind them up and leave them as particles on the record, scattered into dust by the spinning rotation of the wheels. Darkly electronic layers intertwine and passionately wrap themselves around each other, like midnight lovers. The record has an undeniably dark, electronic tone that rises up and surrounds the music like a clogged tail of cigarette smoke.
The road dips with a heavy beat and bounces the wheels against the concrete. A small cast of characters make themselves known. Party-goers and late night drinkers can be seen, but they flash by. Vocals, both masculine and feminine, lend colorful shades to the record. Some sampled early jazz intermingles with the thunderous, very modern clink and clank of a silver-chained beat. Seductive vocals sing in the night. The record calms and comes close to entering chill-out, but the beats are just too beastly for the music to ever fully unwind. Unveiling the morning light, the soothing ambient is as smooth as melting caramel. Drive safely. (James Catchpole)