Café de Paris 7/22 FRI TAGS : LIVE REPORT 7/22 FRI Café de Paris

ASA-CHANG & Junray


Weird, ambient and wonderful

Asa-chang & Junray played the second set of the fest on the Cafe de Paris stage. Having just watched the stage opening set some 30 minutes earlier, the initial mood in the Cafe hadn’t changed much, but throughout the course of this set the vibe certainly would. The stage opener was a lively, jazzy, big band set with 19 people on stage, while Asa-chang and Junray are only 3 members deep. Their music is quite different too.

The 3 members consist of a violinist, a flute/saxophone player, then our leader on hand drums/horn and a large sampler. The sampler in question plays a big part in Asa-chang’s music and helps create a dream-like atmosphere. The background samples are mainly robotic sounding female vocals that are cut up, slowed down, chopped up and looped. The samples alone are very artificial and cold. However when the instruments join the samples, playing off them and together with the sounds of the looped voices, it creates a strange but entrancing experience.

The group played through about 6 songs while the audience in the Cafe were largely all sitting on the ground quietly taking in the whole thing. As the set progressed, the natural warm sounding live instruments strangely complimented the artificial sounding samples. At times it seemed like the music could be a soundtrack to an early David Lynch film or some twisted sci-fi anime.

Through the 50 minutes, the members took turns singing along with the soundscape, all the while the backing sampler churned out a range of sounds, from the aforementioned robot voices to sounds of the sea to the daily routine of a grade-schooler.

For Asa-chang & Junray it was their first time back playing Fuji Rock in 8 years. While the whole thing was weird and disorienting it worked well in the chilled setting of the afternoon slot in the Cafe de Paris. Would Asa-chang work on a main stage in a prime time slot? Probably not, but the joys of Fuji Rock Festival are found in not only famous bands on big stages, but also the small and weird playing to smaller crowds on smaller stages. Diverse, ambient but musical bands like Asa-chang & Junray are what makes Fuji Rock great and continue to prosper 20 years on.

Text by James Mallion Posted on 2016.7.23 02:02