Friday, January 30, 2009

王若琳最新 [joanna wang's latest]



didn't buy this album.

i personally think joanna is better singing covers than singing her own compositions.

不朽 [immortal]

you can't imagine how excited i was when i received my cheer chen cd from taiwan on 23rd jan 2008, just one day after the global release of her album.

i have been waiting for 3 years for the follow-up to "a glamorous adventure", the definitive cheer chen album and one of the best chinese albums in the last decade.

i won't write much here cos i do will be doing a full review in MTX (musictoxin xpress), which is slated to be out in mid-feb.

suffice to say that cheer has created another good album but not quite in the league of "a glamorous adventure" and not quite immortal yet, as her album title suggests.

if i were you, i would be camping by the record shops for the release of MTX next month! since it is the inaugural issue, it is gonna be a collector's item!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

听觉高潮 [aural orgasm]

台灣emo-pop的代表「橙草」, 新專輯[積雨雲] 是那种会带你进入听觉高潮 (aural orgasm) 的音乐.

high极了!

this is the kind of noise-pop i dig - melodic, noisy, plenty of distorted guitars with hooky rhythms... love it!

you can sample their music here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

the factory


yes, we have decided on a name for our recording studio - the factory! we are not going to give it a chinese name.

we are inspired the this very famous indie label in UK called factory in the 80s. factory had many many cool acts including new order, which was one of the biggest electronic/dance acts in the 80s.

we all love the name. it has an industrial and rugged feel to the name.

this is the final floor plan for the factory.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

寻找女歌手 [looking for female vocalists]


we have many exciting projects this year, we are constantly looking for good chinese female vocalists!

you don't have to be mature in age but you have to be mature in mind. you gotta have good attitude and have the right expectations. musictoxin doesn't promise a rose garden and overnight superstar status. as you may have known by now, we are not into mainstream pop music manufacturing; we are in a niche market called lifestyle music.

what we want are genuine singers who are serious about singing. we provide the best environment for you to realize your dreams - the people you work with, the recording studio, our ways of making music, our management style, our market segmentation, everything is tailored to bring the best out of you.

if you think you have what it takes, do email us at lesloh@yahoo.com. we are also considering singer from singapore and regional countries.

we have an eye for special talents and you may just be what we want!

今年,我们将会有多个令人振奋的专辑要制作出版,我们将会马不停蹄的去发现好声音。

我们希望可以和一些对音乐歌唱有成熟想法的朋友一起努力,音乐通胜不可能让你一夜之间成为超级巨星,但是在音乐这一条漫长的路上,我们愿意和大家一起去学习和体会,音乐通胜也不鼓励你抱着幻想踏入这一个行业,我们今天的选择,是要在主流市场这一个大环境中,逆流寻找适合我们自己的音乐理念茁壮的园地。

我们期待的是有诚意、对歌唱抱有严谨态度的朋友们,一起来加入我们的队伍。我们会提供一个充满学习气氛的环境,让大家去完成我们的梦。我们的工作伙伴、录音室、我们的音乐制作队伍、我们的管理风格、市场规划,所有的一切就是为了要把你的最好给呈现出来。

不管你来至哪一个区域、哪一个国家,如果你就是那把声音,那就别再让我们继续等待,请电邮lesloh@yahoo.com.

Monday, January 19, 2009

慢 [progress is slow]


could it be the CNY period or could it be that our new studio in nzx is far from ready? i could sense that all activities stood still in the last couple of weeks. no progress, absolutely.

it is getting frustrating. thanks to those who inquired about the 2v1g gig at NBT which has been canceled unfortunately due to some inexplicable reasons. rest assured, we will update you more on 2v1g in due course.

the progress on the studio is slow as well. basically, we are quite shocked by the quotation from the designer/supplier and we are still digesting the figures and see how we could reduce the investment. a lot of musicians/producers prefer not to have a studio cos it is a burden to maintain. the studio business is a sunset business in malaysia. with the advent of technology, a lot of musicians can do recording at home using computers.

we are close to getting the first draft of MTX (musictoxin xpress) out! how often do you read articles by chow kam leong, roger wang and tay cher siang? it is gonna be interesting to see the kind of response from music lovers on MTX. we hope that with the magazine, we could attract more music lovers, contributors and sponsors.

2009 is going to be a tough year for every sector of the economy. we in the music business have to brace ourselves for bad times ahead. however, we believe that music lovers will still buy cds if there are of genuine quality.

this week will see a mad rush for those who "balik kampung" for CNY. please drive safely and have a great CNY. we hope to bring you more updates after the CNY.

Friday, January 16, 2009

吉他之神 [guitar god]



no wonder our roger wang says tommy emmanuel is his idol.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

何去何从? [where to go from here?]


more news of local record labels closing down or laying off people and artistes.

it is all doom and gloom for the music industry.

do you see opportunities or do you see threats?

i feel that this is the time for indie labels to make a mark, to really make a difference, to survive in testing times.

find a niche market; look at the untapped potential; change the way music is being sold and promoted; create a demand. change, change, change. ultimately, people need music. everyone needs music.

to us, the worst of times are the best of times.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

jz8 开案了! [jz8 kicks off!]


it has taken us close to 2 months to convene our first official meeting, even then tay cher siang (our pianist) couldn't make it tonight.

the meeting took place at oldtown kopitiam, south city plaza, all the way in seri kembangan. i have never traveled so far for a meeting!

the three of us - chow, lydia, myself - spoke about jz8's repertoire, the kind of music we want to play, recording schedule and many other issues. chief of it is we would like to launch the debut album in july 2009 (to coincide with the hifi show at j.w.marriot), so we have to work backwards.

since we haven't even started work on renovating our recording studio in nzx mall, we decided to start asking cher siang to rearrange 6 songs in the repertoire so that lydia could practise. we would like to get the overall "feel" of cher siang's piano playing and arrangement style. we are condifent that our pianist is versatile enough to play any "style" that we want provided we give him enough feeeback. as i have said repeatedly, arrangement is key in doing cover versions. it makes and breaks the song. but one thing for sure, jz8 is gonna be "jazzier" than 2v1g!

i also told lydia that i would be featuring jz8 in our magazine, MTX, which will be launched after CNY. so the duo has to attend a photography session as well as an interview session with our writer. i would like to promote jz8 well ahead of its debut so that people would know them early.

tentatively, we expect the recording to start in mid/late-march. it is going to be more challenging as we would be recording piano, which is a difficult instrument to record due to its wide dynamic range.

since lydia is a versatile vocalist who can sing in different tones, we would like her to sing in a lazy, more laidback, husky tone that is suitable for jz8's music. in any case, we are confident both lydia and cher siang would partner well since both of them are so experienced.

so, do monitor this blog closely if you want to follow the blow-by-blow account of the jz8's exciting journey in the next 6 months!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

网络推销音乐 [ internet marketing of music]


most music lovers would have known joanna wang [王若琳] by now. but do you know that joanna wang's debut album tops the sales in almost every chinese-speaking country? in hong kong alone, joanna's album was ranked #3 in terms of sales figures for the year ending 2008.

this kind of achievement, of course, is nothing to shout about for fans used to "idol" artistes like jay chou, lee hom and S.H.E. but i when tell you that joanna's marketing team spent very little on A&P (advertising and promotion) and roadshows, maybe you would then realize the enormity and the scale of her success. it is so against the traditional "splash-the-money-make-it-big" mentality of major labels.

joanna's success validates the power of internet marketing. long before anyone in malaysia discovered joanna, i had already sampled her songs in the internet via sony bmg's playlist. her record label offered joanna's playlist in HTML embedding so that everyone can cut and paste the HTML codes and put it in his blog and website. this is creative marketing which has now become a commonplace. the pervasiveness of the internet was such that joanna became an overnight most-talked about topic in the net across the globe. everyone was amazed that someone so young could sound so mature.

of course, her debut album wasn't great. even joanna herself didn't like it but what is important is - people like her voice and her kind of music! there are many of us who are fed up of the commercial crap being dished out in the market nowadays. there are still discerning music lovers out there who want quality and are willling to pay for it.

tho' joanna is signed to major label, her arrival is a breath of fresh air to indie labels and independent artistes who rely on the internet for their marketing. joanna's success is good news to us indie labels who don't have the support of mainstream media (how often do you read about joanna in the entertainment column in chinese newspapers?) and the slick marketing machinery. as long as your music is good, you get the exposures you deserved, simple as that.

similar success cases where internet played a pivotal role include colbie callait and maria digby (spelling). we are going to see more and more singers enjoying phenomenal coverage via the internet in the years to come.

internet marketing, if executed smartly, can bring enormous success. of course, the singer and his/her music must be good in the first place.

the future is indeed bright for talented indie artistes. commerical pop is dead, unless you are jay chou or khalil fong.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

她回来了 [the queen is back]


睽違三年, 她回来了...
期待又一次的震撼和感动。

the queen is back after a lapse of 3 years.
we expect another explosion of creativity and out-of-this-world musical experience.

[excerpt taken from books.com ]

房間&重生&創作現場

奇特的是,這張專輯所有的配唱全在陳綺貞的家中錄製。
"動物受傷時,總會跑回自己的巢穴,舔舐傷口、修復自己"
每個人成長都曾面臨不安與恐懼。纖細敏感的綺貞習慣選擇在自己的房間安靜獨處,修復自己。
她在自己的房間中生活、讀書、思考,也將這些生活的痕跡寫在歌裡。
如今,這個房間成為這張唱片錄音的地點,作品重新回到了創作現場。
製作人鍾成虎說 "這些作品的傑出,讓我啞口無言...","於是我認真思考保存它們的方式。"
"用這樣的方式錄製,保有了作品原本的質感和情緒。結果令人非常滿意。"

錄音師攜帶大批精密的錄音器材在綺貞家中的各個角落幾經測試之後,決定將麥克風架設於衣櫥之中。也許是因為每一件衣服都保有綺貞生活的記憶,這裡的聲音特別溫暖富有感情。
這也讓陳綺貞回歸最自我狀態的創作現場,每一首創作都宛如重生。


一個平凡的房間,一次敏銳細微的美麗聲響
不同於一般唱片制式的配唱限制,在自己熟悉的環境下,捕捉到更敏銳細微、只存留在日常生活中自然流露的各種情緒,
於是,就在這平凡的房間中,造就了這張動人的作品。

樂壇好手再度聚首全LIVE同步錄音,深具默契,真誠的超高水準製作

在樂器的方面更維持了陳綺貞唱片一貫的講究,沒有過多時下充斥的合成器音效。反而是更多的真實樂器。
所有基礎樂器伴奏都由樂手同步在鼓手陳柏州位於桃園的家中錄製完成。
貝斯 林羿妏/鼓手 陳柏州/吉他 鍾成虎/鍵盤 陳建騏/手風琴 王雁盟
要同時聽到他們的演出,一向只有在陳綺貞的唱片裡。

這群目前活耀於樂壇的重量級新生代好手再度聚首,專為陳綺貞人生中的第五張創作大碟盡情揮灑。精彩動人。

陳綺貞本人更負責了七首木吉他、一首手風琴以及兩首鋼琴伴奏。音符簡約聰慧而匠心獨具。
弦樂部分則遠赴北京錄製,由鍾興民以及李琪兩位資深音樂人操刀編寫及指揮,情感豐沛細膩。
並由最擅長發掘歌手特質的兩屆金曲獎得主鐘成虎擔綱製作,
不但讓成熟的作品被賦予完整的生命,同步錄音的配器與歌手演唱力度相輔相成,
更讓歌手充滿感情的聲音自由伸展、情緒完整並展現最真誠的時刻。
製作地點橫跨台灣、洛杉磯、北京 。品質精良、製作用心,堪稱2009流行樂壇巨作。

屬於陳綺貞式的藝術追求 花的三部曲 腐朽、重生、綻放

陳綺貞一直在思考一個完整的創作歷程 能象徵自己的生命歷程
"很希望用我自己的作品來記錄這個概念的誕生"

從2006開始 她終於思考出 花的姿態三部曲的概念

腐朽 重生 綻放 三個主題 華麗的冒險的專輯概念 和當時想要完成的概念 就是第一個歷程

接下來陳綺貞的唱片靈感都圍繞在 第二個歷程--重生 這個概念

"太陽"這個主題就是在這個狀況下誕生。

專輯中以兩支哲學式的單曲"太陽"和"魚"以天空和海洋先拉開了整張專輯的格局,
有趣的是這兩支單曲的名字也是從上張專輯中"腐朽"的歌詞裡擷取,
"重生來自於腐朽"陳綺貞如是說。"