“Trip Hop” music at Yumla?

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For years I’ve joked around with one of my d.j. friends (pictured above) that he plays “Trip Hop“. The reason it’s funny is because it was a term used only very briefly in the nineties, before another, even more vague term, “Electronica,” was coined. When people use the term Trip Hop, it dates them. It was sort of a blanket term used for anything caught between the worlds of Hip Hop and Techno in a particular time period.

As a musical form, Trip Hop was influenced by Hip Hop’s use of sampling, but not based around an M.C. rhyming over the beat. It also utilized the expansive range of electronic sounds that grew out of Techno music. The songs were constructed using snippets of samples and sometimes assembled into mood pieces. Generally, they were more of the downtempo variety and included bizarre musical combinations. One label at the forefront of this sound was Mo’ Wax records. Famous artists who created Trip Hop were DJ Shadow, Coldcut, Portishead, Massive Attack, and DJ Krush.

For some reason, Trip Hop has always been big in Hong Kong. I’ve noticed that the artists who pioneered the genre, continue to draw crowds here, even though their music isn’t very danceable. Perhaps the popularity is linked to the intense Rave scene that briefly flourished in Hong Kong around the same time that Trip Hop was introduced.

Wednesday night, Juice Magazine, (an off-shoot of a Singaporean publication,) sponsored a “Knowledge” session where they asked local d.j.s to play Trip Hop, introducing it to wider audiences.

The venue for the event was Yumla, Hong Kong’s home for alternative club music. Nestled against a park, old timers will remember the place as Phi B’s, one of the first nightspots in Soho. The owner’s consistent vision in highlighting underground music, helps keep varieties such as Drum N Bass and Trip Hop alive.

The musical conductors for the night were Simon Pang and Drafus (aka D.J. El Kabong.) Both of them are music lovers with diverse collections spanning everything from Rock to what’s currently dropping on dance floors internationally.

The crowd, heavy on foreigners, was dancing in full force by eleven pm.

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