Tuesday, October 7, 2008

LTK Commune

LTK Commune is a well-known "underground" band founded in 1990. Their music has been variously described as having elements of , , nakasi, Taiwanese folk songs. In recent years band members have self-consciously applied the label "Taik" to their music – a reference to the Taiwanese ''Taick'' subculture.

The ''LTK'' stands for "Loh Tsui Kweh", an idiosyncratic spelling of the name of the Choshui River in Taiwan, one that evokes nativist sentiments.

The two guitar players – Tsai Hai-en and Ke Jen-chien – share lead vocals. Both attended National Taiwan University but left school early. Between the two of them they have driven the band's evolution. The critic Malaite attributes the group's early grunge influence to Tsai. In addition to Western influences, both of them are, in their own ways, steeped in local, traditionally working class genres. There is also a bass player and a drummer.

LTK Commune's earlier music echoes the island's protest movements of the early 1990s. Earlier themes have consciously reflected concerns and sentiments. With the decline of street protests and the onset of political liberalization, socially-conscious themes have become less foregrounded. The band unabashedly supports Taiwan independence.

Their songs often express the frustration of the Taiwanese working class male. Unapologetically sexual or references and vulgar language are found in some songs, a characteristic embraced by the fans but found outrageous by some critics. Some critics detect a streak of male chauvinism, most notably in the song "Rape, Murder"; others consider the song as a study of the perverse psyche of a rapist-murderer.

Much of the lyrics are in the native Taiwanese language, a choice consistent with the language's working class base, as well as the anti-Kuomintang Opposition culture. Spoken monologues reminiscent of traditional melodrama are a favored device in their narratives.

LTK Commune's live performances are noted for their spontaneity and engagement with the crowd.

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