8: S.T. (Choi Sai-ho)
One-man electronic unit S.T. is odd man out. By definition a laptop musician, the 25-year-old also plays instruments ranging from violin to Nintendo Game Boy, has a sound that veers from warring robots to romantic ambient, and draws on influences from classical concertos to the Chemical Brothers. Pair all that with stunning synchronised visuals and you get a truly unique audio-visual artist.
“Electronic music has its roots in Western society, and I try to mix it with my own cultural roots as an experiment,” says S.T. “That’s my music.” And what music. Structured but surprising, some of S.T.’s songs can be seen as fitting soundtracks for fast industrial urbanites, while at other times they turn soft and lyrical, fit for a walk in Victoria Park.
As a visual artist, S.T. grew up under the wings of media artist Ip Yuk-yiu, and has created works that couple his low-fi electronica with distinctly Hong Kong images. “I’m inspired by a place where lots of things are happening at the same time,” he says of his hometown’s influence on his art.
But while he has been called upon to do visuals for pop-stars such as Anthony Wong and Eason Chan, the sounds are his priority. “If I had it my way, I would have someone else do visuals and I would just do the music.”
He’s been gaining momentum on the scene since 2006, when he was the first and only Hong Kong-Chinese artist to be selected for the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy, a forum that exposes young musicians to lessons from industry big-shots, including Peter Hook, Just Blaze, and Derrick May. As a result he was invited to play in Melbourne, Sao Paulo, and the US – not a claim many of our indie musicians can make.
Because his music includes stunning visuals, the best way to experience it is in the flesh. “Electronic music live is real time,” he says. “It’s spontaneous, and when you miss it, it’s gone.”
Recommended listening: The songs Light Electrons, Dancing Failure, Lovers Mind – hear them at www.st-saiho.com. Bourree Lam