The unknowable sonic textures that a child hears inside its mother’s womb aren’t exactly a conventional source of influence. However, for Taiwanese shoegazers DoZzz, this embryonic experience of sound provides the foundational concept for their first full-length album Passage. As its title suggests, Passage is marked by transitions: time elapses and states of consciousness blur across twelve tracks of constantly shifting sonic terrain that waver between life and death, darkness and light.
以孩子在母亲子宫内听到的神秘声音为创作灵感或许不太寻常，然而，台湾的 Shoegaze 摇滚乐队 DoZzz 正是以婴儿胚胎时期的声音体验作为首张全长专辑《Passage》的基本概念。顾名思义，“Passage” 带有变迁之意：十二首曲目的音乐更迭，呈现出时间的流逝与模糊的意识状态，似是在生与死，黑暗与光明之间来回摇摆。
Listen to select tracks from Passage below:
“With Passage, we wanted to somehow capture the beginning of life,” says guitarist Shengwei. “Being surrounded by amniotic fluid, there must be an overriding sense of ambiguity to every sight and sound, an unbounded chaos of sorts, and we tried to translate that experience by using guitar noise and strong low frequencies at very high volumes.”
The result is an addictive mix of warped noise, fuzz, and distortion, surging rivers of sound that ebb and flow, branching out into a labyrinth of emotions suffused with a nocturnal restlessness and longing. Or as Shengwei explains, “Blurring the boundary between dreams and reality, the huge wall of sound is like a slow-moving mountain, a sort of spiritual sanctuary in which heterogeneous sounds create an atmosphere of returning to the beginning of life.”
Amidst a maelstrom of granular guitars, muscular drumming, and vocal fragments in the songs “Don’t” and “4am,” it almost does seem as if the band has captured the tectonic noise of a slow-moving mountain, while the album’s final tracks “It’s You” and “Fuzzy Mt.” resound with the type of delay effects that would make Slowdive’s Neil Halstead smile. It should come as no surprise that the band counts the Reading shoegaze pioneers as formative influences along with My Bloody Valentine and Astrobrite/Lovesliescrushing.
在《别》和《凌晨四点》两首歌中，颗粒丰沛的吉他音色交织出混乱的迷雾、强劲的鼓声和人声片段汇聚成一股音乐漩涡，共同组成大山缓慢移动的声音；同时，专辑最后两首曲目《原来是你》和《绒毛山线》采用了延迟效果，倘若 Slowdive 乐队吉他手 Neil Halstead 听到这样的声音，也会不禁一笑。Slowdive 是上世纪九十年代扎根于英国雷丁的 Shoegaze 摇滚先驱，他们和 My Bloody Valentine 以及 Astrobrite/Lovesliessrushing 等乐队都对 DoZzz 产生过重要的影响。
DoZzz unofficially began in 2015 when guitarist Jyun-Chi Huang, bassist Han Wu, and Shengwei started jamming together in Taipei, with vocalist Alicia and drummer Maomao joining the trio in the summer of the following year. Playing together and finding their sound proved to be a relatively simple and intuitive process, as synchronous recording sessions segued into a search for better equipment and a better recording studio in which to work.
Things moved quickly for the band in 2017. In June, they dropped their five-track EP Poem of Love ◇ Poem of Sadness, a sudden release of seismic sounds that caused shoegaze aficionados to shimmy and shake like a magnitude 6 earthquake. Driven by propulsive drumming, ragged guitar work, and haunting vocals that sound as if they had been sung 20,000 leagues under the sea (and with lyrics about floating in an endless sea and being swallowed by its waves, they very well could have been), the band’s next single “I Don’t Mind” appeared only four months later in October 2017.
DoZzz 最早成立于 2015 年，当初成员包括了吉他手麟（Jyun-Chi Huang）、贝斯手吴翰和小麦，三人在台北一起练歌；次年夏天，主唱 Alicia 和鼓手毛毛加入乐队，五人乐队最终成型。最初他们只是纯粹想一起做音乐，后来因为想同步录音，才慢慢开始更换更好的设备和录音棚来创作。
2017 年，乐队发展得很快。那年6月，他们推出五首曲目的 EP《Poem of Love ◇ Poem of Sadness》，震撼人心的音乐引起 shoegaze 粉丝的轰动。他们的作品听起来像是对经典曲风的改造与沿袭，飘渺的曲风像在海底两万里的惠风和畅，而且歌词本身也在描述漂浮在无尽大海、被海浪吞没的故事。2017年10月，仅在 4 个月后，乐队又发行了单曲《I Don’t Mind》。
Despite its small geographical size, Taiwan has become something of a shoegaze incubator in the region, with Taipei bars and venues such as Revolver and Pipe Live Music serving as indie-music meccas and Taipei bands such as DoZzz reinvigorating Asian shoegaze with their distinctive psychedelic soundscapes. When asked about the contentious and much-maligned label of “shoegaze,” Shengwei offers a somewhat Derridean perspective. “I personally prefer to understand shoegaze as a deconstruction of the guitar,” he explains. “If post-rock deconstructs the guitar riff of the rock-guitar heroes of the 1960s and 1970s, then I think shoegaze is a deconstruction of the sound of the guitar instrument itself.” Having achieved sonic enlightenment, he adds: “Playing the guitar is not like the guitar itself.” Ce n’est pas une guitare.
台湾地域并不算宽广，却俨然成为周边地区 Shoegaze 音乐的孵化器。Revolver 和 Pipe Live Music 等台北酒吧和音乐场所正成为独立音乐圣地，而 DoZzz 等台北乐队以其独特的迷幻音景，重新振兴亚洲 Shoegaze 音乐。当被问及人们对 “Shoegaze” 这个标签的争议和偏见时，小麦做出了某种“德里达”式（指解构主义中的延异概念）的见解。他解释说：“我个人更倾向于理解为 Shoegaze 是一种对于吉他乐器的解构。如果说后摇滚将吉他乐器解构了60/70年代摇滚乐吉他英雄的 riff 而更往氛围或是铺陈跨进一步，我认为 Shoegaze 是对吉他乐器本身这项乐器声响的解构。”他补充说道：“ 把吉他弹的不像吉他本身这件事对我来说是有独特意义的。”
And what about the name DoZzz? By way of explaining, the band alludes to Building 87 at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, USA. An anechoic chamber—or a room that doesn’t allow for echoes. It is officially, at least according to Guinness World Records, the quietest place on Earth. “In the quietest space, the most minute sounds are often the loudest, and it is in those quiet moments that we feel this massive sense of volume, which seems to fall within the boundary between dream and reality,” Shengwei says. “In other words, our songs sometimes make us fall into a deep sleep: zzzzzz.”
Music to move mountains? Definitely. Music for sleep? No fear of that.
为什么乐队取名 DoZzz？他们解释说，这个名字来源于美国华盛顿州雷德蒙市的微软总部 Building 87 大楼。这是一个消声室，完全没有回声的房间。根据吉尼斯世界纪录，这里是地球上最安静的地方。小麦说：“在在最安静的空间中，人往往能够听到最大的音量。反过来说，我们经常在巨大的连续音量中感觉到非常安静的瞬间。有时候在这样的瞬间，仿佛会掉到一种在梦以及在现实的交界， 也就是说，我们的歌有时候都会让我们坠入一种深眠前的断层，所以你可以这么解释： Do zzzzzzzz。”
Contributor: Brian Haman
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
Images Courtesy of DoZzz