Presenting a mixtape from one of No More Westerns’ favorite musicians, Dirty Beaches (aka Alex Zhang Hung-Tai), who couldn’t join the festival this year but graciously sent us an awesome mixtape of No More Westerns-inspired jams. Born in Taiwan, currently based in Montreal but a nomad at heart, Alex started making music as Dirty Beaches in 2005 and quickly became known for his heady blend of fuzzy lo-fi and 50’s doo-wop. Influenced by Wong Kar-Wai as much as Elvis, the music and mythos of Dirty Beaches evokes times and places that never quite existed – and perhaps a hypnotic vision of the non-Western “Western” at long last.
“The first 4 tracks that open the mix tape are by my peers that all share a weird mixed identity of some sort in our upbringing, or weird choices of cities that we currently reside and dwell in.
In relation to the No More Western theme, this mix tape asks us how far we’ve evolved in our society with the advancement of the internet. All of a sudden the world didn’t seem as foreign as it once did. The mysteries now unveiled at the click of a youtube channel, shared globally by countless users, uploading the sights and sounds of their streets and cities, of food and cuisine, as they travel across the oceans onto our computer screens. Of countless blogs, and google searches, we are no longer limited to the biased and prejudiced views from our families or governments. The freedom of self education IS self empowerment.
The rest of the music on this mix tape showcases music from all over the world, some which have more obvious western/American influences, from Indian disco love songs, to Ethiopian Doo Wop, Nigerian desert psych guitars to Chinese lounge songstress’. If it were 10 or 20 years ago this beautiful music might’ve suffered subjugation to mockery as “cheap” 3rd world imitations of western music. But as the world evolves, we find ourselves no longer satisfied within the limitations and narrow viewpoints of our own popular culture that sometimes smell of old colonialism shit. The very existence and popularity of compilations like Sublime Frequencies are proof that our ears are hungry for culture, for non western cultures and music that’s out there inviting us to explore. The fact that from time to time I end up at some party in Brooklyn, or Montreal or London, or Paris with like minded young people spinning these foreign radical jams, the more it makes me feel like this is some sign of progress of a world society. Obviously the mainstream folks are still treading and swimming in their own shit, but they are always late. We’ve moved on yo. The world is yours, says one Hollywood film starring Al Pacino. I say its OURS. ”
– Dirty Beaches (Alex Zhang Hung-Tai)