Formed in 2012 in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, the experimental trio Elephant Gym interlace threads of jazz, electronic, and classical into a singular patchwork of contemporary math- and post-rock. At once evoking the towering, boisterous essence of elephants, and the acrobatic, dexterous nature of a gymnast, Elephant Gym’s sound feeds off tension and unlikely contrasts.
World, a commemoration of their 10th anniversary as a band, expands on their signature elements, the combination of which Pitchfork describes “as close to jazz as rock: virtuosity not as a means of showing off, but approaching the sublime.” World also features a host of international and local collaborators, tapping the varied talents of Seiji Kameda (Tokyo Jihen) Shashaa Tirupati, ?te, YILE LIN, Hom ShenHao, and the Kaohsiung City Wind Orchestra.
Elephant Gym songs often find bassist KT Chang as the lead voice, her nimble, expressive playing style a signature imprint of the Elephant Gym sonic character. Sibling Tell Chang meshes deftly on guitar and occasionally keys, with Chia-Chin Tu’s elastic drumming as a malleable anchorpoint between his bandmates’ funk-and-jazz-infused chops.
The trio’s tenure has seen the release of a handful of EPs and three previous full lengths, Angle (2014), Underwater (2018), and Dreams (2022), as well as a number of collaborations that span the spectrum of the arts, ranging from theater productions to traditional percussion ensembles.
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"Like the music of L’Rain or Ryley Walker, it’s as close to jazz as rock: virtuosity not as a means of showing off, but approaching the sublime."
-Pitchfork on Dreams
"... fueled by their restless creativity, unrelenting drive to refine their abilities, and the emotional engine of their songwriting."
-NME on Dreams
"hands-down the best album that Elephant Gym has ever made"
-Fecking Bahamas on Dreams
"Ever-active and melodious, bounding in arpeggios and other odd intervals, featuring infrequently-seen techniques like tapping, it's easy to see why the band have been able to stand out."
"The rhythms and time signatures are complex and constantly changing, their music is primarily instrumental, and everyone in the band absolutely plays the hell out of their instrument....They’re adventurous with their structures and textures, and their most recent album, Underwater, dives into a world with constantly shifting borders, anchored by the band’s singular vision."
"Musically, the trio have never stopped looking for common ground between Western rock music (math rock in particular) and traditional Eastern music. They see many similarities between the complexities of math rock and traditional music from Japan, India and Indonesia, as well as music from the indigenous Taiwanese, which is often filled with unusual time signatures and counterpoints."
-South China Morning Post
"Carefully synthesizes elements of jazz, ambient, and post-rock into a groove-replete freeform introspection."