CINEMA SESSIONS: Undecimber Fin.


Text by Wang Hsin-Chuan

Other than the unusual band name "Undecimber Fin.," their hard-to-define music genre is also something special about them. In the Taiwanese indie scene, their style is quite undetermined as every song is a mixed fusion. Their songs will make you feel familiar yet distant, which also mirrors the mixture of the band members' diversified backgrounds.

"I grew up studying music, and then focused on composition in college." Said Adlian (keyboardist) after she finishes recording CINEMA SESSIONS. Sometimes she takes freelancing project in theatrical music arrangements. Also, she loves listening to Steve Reich, Radiohead, and J-Rock. "I think my music sounds Minimalistic," she says, "before I start composing, I usually get ideas by starting with a vision in mind or lyrics."

How'd the band form? Adlian, Kang (lead vocalist) and Andy (guitarist) met at school and performed as a band. Later, bassist Pin, who played metal, and post-rock/UK rock guitarist Link joined. The band has been for more than four years now.

Drummer Mipu joined last year. He is Andy's younger brother who's recently starting college. Mipu got into indie music when No Party For Cao Dong won big at the Golden Melody Awards. He loves jazz, funk, and all music with groove.

Undecimber Fin. has their own uniqueness, their music is not structured as conventional pop music that alternates between verses and choruses. Instead, their linear arrangements are similar to movie storylines, which would provide audience more vivid images. The band usually would let Kang start with lyrics, then have everyone else arrange to express their uniqueness in their instruments but not too overly done.

Undecimber Fin. kept their pace as usual and released their first album Sonmi, with astonishing thirteen songs. Even though they have yet to be famed, quite a lot critics and indie music lovers have already given them high praises.

The album name Sonmi came from a character in the novel Cloud Atlas. She was a clone with a birthmark. The story revolves around reincarnation, the choice of people, leading to some kind of good or evil cycle. Kang added, "The album is not entirely about this mentality, but it’s our collective thoughts about the society and the world."

In this CINEMA SESSIONS, they played "Tick Tock" and "Lie a Lie" with a live arrangement. "Tick Tock" is one of their earliest works, and the lyrics "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" are symbolic of US atomic bombs dropped in Japan during World War II. "Lie a Lie" was inspired by movie The Great Beauty, which was about exploring the process of human aging.

The first album Sonmi was recorded at the Yuchen Studio, so the members and the sound engineer Andy Baker have a certain understanding already. They think that Baker has helped a lot at the production level, and there is a lot of communication between them. "He listened to our demo and said that we are like Pink Floyd or Radiohead." The guitarist Andy said with a laugh. "During the recordings, we thought our English had become better, and thought that we could keep it up at that level. However, after the album's done, our English level went back to how they were..."

"Taiwan's band culture seems to be really booming. Everyone is very enthusiastic about recording their works in various forms. It must help to render the same tracks differently," he said.

Undecimber Fin. hopes these live recordings at CINEMA SESSIONS would let their fans or new listeners enjoy their music.