Sunday, November 23, 2008

2008 最佳专辑 [best album of 2008]


爱死了!

魏如萱的<甜蜜生活>是继陈绮贞2005<华丽的冒险>之后我最喜欢的专辑。

清新脱俗的唱腔和曲风,美丽的编曲,娃娃魏如萱是陈绮贞和陈姗妮的结合体。

she is the perfect amalgamation of cheer chen on electronica and a sunnier and more accessible sandee chen!

这是一张越听越有味道的专辑. 它不像一般的華語流行音樂 (yeah, those typical trashy chinese pop music!),聽一陣子之後就膩了!

"we are menstruating, we are menstruating... the pills will keep us alive" 听一听娃娃唱出女人月经的痛苦吧!

你还等甚么呢?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

新年音乐会![ushering CNY at NBT!]


the kind boss of NBT, evelyn hii, has invited us back again for a CNY gig at NBT!

she suggested to make the gig a charity event. she would be inviting top chinese calligraphers in town to contribute their "dui lian" (chinese calligraphy written on red papers, which comes in pair, for auspicious occasions). patrons can buy the "dui lian" for as low as RM10 a pair and all proceeds will go to a charity foundation.

roger, winnie and regine - who are extremely busy with various engagement at this moment - have all agreed to accept the gig invitation! we would be coming up with a new repertoire with some "classy" CNY songs thrown in for good measure. rest assured, there won't be the "dong dong qiang" kind of CNY songs! and certainly we won't have lion dance to grace the occasion!

the dates are 19th & 20th of january 2009. well, it is still early days, but please block your calendar in advance and invite your friends like you did the last time.

oh, btw, if luck has it, we are going to introduce another new act from musictoxin during the gig - the soon-to-be-launched JZ8 (pronouced as "jazzy eight"), a piano-and-vocal duo that plays chinese pop classics with a jazz flavor.

we are looking forward to a roaring good time again!

Friday, November 21, 2008

翻唱的秘诀 [how to do a winning cover]

since we do many cover versions, we have to be good at it. btw, chinese music industry treat cover versions with disdain because they don't understand that many good singers can give a new lease of life to covers. on the other hand, western singers get credits for reviving oldies and doing good covers. examples are diana krall, michael buble, jamie callum and many others.

we are not ready to do an album with 100% original compositions yet. our standards are very highs; if we don't have good compositions to showcase, we rather sing other people's songs and sing them well.

there are 3 major things to bear in mind when doing covers:

[1] if you can't compete on singing (e.g. if the original version is already definitive and can't be surpassed), then re-arrange the song innovatively. when the arrangement is creatively different, people tend not to compare that harshly. a prime example is when singing cai qin's (chinese audiophile queen) songs - never never compete with her on singing because she is way way up there!

[2] inject personality into the song as if you are the original singer. when you sing as if you own the song, critics will shut up.

[3] if you can't compete on technique (against the original singer), enhance on the emotional delivery and vice versa. most singers are good in either technique or emotional delivery, seldom both at the same time.

now, some excellent videos on how to do a fabulous cover version...

[1] video #1 is a cover version by aska yang. this chap pours so much emotions into the song that everyone who hears the song for the first time (me inclusive) has wet eyes throughout. of course, some critics say aska is overbearing and too pretentious. but i personally think he is great and this is a definitive way of doing a cover version. btw, the judges gave aska full marks, 25/25!

[2] video #2 is by the real mccoy, stefanie sun. stefanie has a great tone and her rendition is beautiful, perhaps a bit understated in terms of emotional delivery, but very touching no less. stef is natural, without the overpouring of emotions of aska. i like this original version very much.



JZ8 and 2V1G projects are starting soon and i have to keep reminding myself and my arranger(s) to excel in doing covers. it is a daunting task to emulate the original version but if you can do it, the results are immensely satisfying!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

推荐 [recommended cd]


卡奇社」,是前衛花園唱片繼「魏如萱」之後,所推出的第二組華語藝人。魏如萱的專輯「甜蜜生活」在博客來音樂館創下了超過七千張的歷史紀錄。因此對於卡奇社我們也是充滿了高度的好奇與期待。

初聽「卡奇社」不經令人想到年輕時的王菲。年僅二十歲的「卡奇社」卻超齡的融合了迷幻、搖滾、電子甚至傳統京劇等多種樂風, 他們水乳交融的把玩東西異國情調,在成人的現實世界裡,尋求最後一絲的浪漫與純真。耽溺於中國古典文學的女主唱,在詞曲方面的表現令人讚嘆;與時下的流行 音樂相比,卡奇社的首張專輯「日光傾城」質樸而感人,充滿了一種渾然天成的美感。 (文/博客來影音館經理 林士民)

前衛花園即將於年底推出令人震撼的雙人組合「卡奇社」,這對年紀只有二十歲的男女,主唱的嗓音有一種不經意的自然灑脫,搭配上強烈的歐陸節拍編曲,帶來了一種全新驚豔感的,很高興除了陳綺貞與張懸這樣的清新創作才女之外,現在我們有了「卡奇社」!

一種與眾不同、清新沁人的幸福味道!前衛花園首次呈獻本土女聲,前「自然捲」女主唱娃娃魏如萱甜蜜演出。結合了西班牙、德國、日本、中國等多方優秀音樂人跨國合作、打造華語歌壇前所未見的清新甜蜜浪潮!

聽膩了一成不變的華語流行歌曲了嗎?前「自然捲」樂團女主唱魏如萱(娃娃),將於11/8發行首張個人專輯《 La Dolce Vita 》(甜蜜生活),帶給所有愛樂者一種與眾不同的幸福味道!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

超赞 [superlative]


once in a while, a concert performance comes along that completely blows your mind away. i just couldn't get enough of tonight's concert at DFP (dewan filharmonik petronas).

anyone who was at DFP last night and tonight must have come out from the hall, like us, totally mesmerized over the superlative performance by korean jazz princess, nah youn sun. for the five of us, we went completely ga-ga. how could anyone who's into jazz music could possibly afford to miss such a stunning performance?

i went with winnie ho and her friends who are all in the music line and all of us had nothing but the highest praise for nah and her band. everyone of us thinks we had the best concert ever for the year. for me, it is one of the very best concerts in the last few years, a few notches above diana krall's concert last month.

nah has the silkiest of voice i have ever heard. it not so much of her tone but he extraordinary voice control. some singers can be soft and velvety; some can be power-packed and explosive but nah has everything. she could be tender and sweet one moment, the next moment she could be hitting the high notes and power-packing the song with so much energy. every singer (like my winnie girl) would be envious of the talents of nah. she has the most perfect of pitch; i couldn't find any faults in her singing eventho' it is a live performance. and her scatting, wow, is absolutely out of this world, i am telling you.

another thing worthy of mention is nah sang many original compositions, which normally would not elicit instant response from the crowd because they are not familiar with the tunes but nah's compositions are so good and packed a pop sensibility that even first-timers could appreciate it instantly.

nah sings a few songs in spanish, cuban and french and she even sang a convincing malay classic "jauh jauh" just to please the malaysian audience.

we met our distributor, interglobal's boss, cheah mun kit there, who distributes nah cd in malaysia (see the cover above). ever the jovial guy, cheah introduced me to nah's producer, who is also called nah. i showed cheah two thumbs-up sign after the concert and cheah the joker jested "i finally met a singer who could sing as well as me!". cheah, you can't sing la!

concert like this enriches our musical life and leaves a permanent mark in our memory. i couldn't believe that i didn't invite all my friends (like jin liang and regine) to this memorable occasion. and audiophiles who are always talking about how good music and good singer should be - you really need to watch out for DFP's programme for future performances of nah youn sun. you can bet that i would return for her future performances.

another note. DFP's acoutics are as usual fantastic but i would prefer a bit more midrange thickness and density. i sat on the 6th row and i did feel that the mid-highs were a bit emphasized. but that's the neurotic audiophile in me talking la!

fabulous, superb, memorable, breathless, stunning, what a night!

p/s now go and get the album "memory lane" from interglobal!

Monday, November 10, 2008

新天后的诞生 ratu reborn


is atilia - current protege of roslan aziz - another sheila majid in the making?

we have the story....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a simple request for valentine's

many people have been asking - when is the next gig?

if (only if) we were to do a special st.valentine's gig next year, what songs do you want us to sing?

this romantic gig is not only for the love birds, mind you, even the singles, unattacheds ,broken hearteds are all welcome to attend. but we would refrain from singing sad songs because afterall this is supposed to be a sweet and happy occasion!

or should we add more drama to the gig by creating several stages of relationship: boy meets girl, boy falls for girls, boy gets the girl, boy courts the girl, boy proposes to the girl, boy marries the girl .... in every stage, there will be songs specially chosen for the occasion? isn't this a great idea?

for sure, we will sing kit chan's "xi huan ni", track #9 in the album! some said that is the only happy song in the album!

so please cast your vote now!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

product endorsement for 2v1g

a certain company (obviously with good tastes) has decided to appoint 2v1g to endorse one of its product, which is targeted at discerning adults with refined tastes and who value lifestyle living.

the client chooses 2v1g because they think 2v1g's music is classy and appeals to both the chinese educated as well as the english educated crowd. they also think 2v1g's image is healthy and clean. more importantly, 2v1g is an all-malaysian product!

this is the first time that the client is associated with music in their marketing and branding.

when the time is right, we will reveal the client's name!