Thursday, July 29, 2010

很棒的母帶處理 [keith's excellent mastering for 2v1g]

keith yip of rock in music, hk, is too shy to face the camera

keith yip 【業建華】, the same hk mastering guru who mastered 2v1g's debut album, is enlisted to do the mastering for us again.

he just delivered two tracks to us for evaluation and what excellent mastering!

keith managed to give the sound more air, more sparkles while maintaining the tonal richness of the tutti studio. this sound would have very good mass-market appeal!

i think this is a smart approach in mastering: asking the mastering guru to send us two tracks for evaluation and opinion before he proceeds on. we would ask doug sax for the same approach next time.

so, guys, you can expect great sound for 2v1g this time!

迷你 [mini]

some highlights on this jacky cheung's mini concert double-cd:

1) roger's "love scale" is played by sham, another great malaysian guitarist

2) jz8's lydia chew sings backing vocals

3) jacky sings "lover's tears" in jazz style, delicious!

4) jacky sings his own classic "lei heong lan" in jazz and sam hui's "fut tew cheong" (elvis presley's "don't be cruel") in swing

5) malaysian great drummer, lewis pragasam plays drums

6) many songs with big-band backup in the album, fun!

cd1 is all culled from the private corner album but cd2 is where the excitement is. this is where jacky does all his previous hits in jazz or swing! this disc alone is worth the RM50 for the album!

recording is good, much better than the private corner album. it is simply more homogeneous and coherent sounding and the live ambience is captured quite well.

4 malaysians involved in this project, you all should be darn proud!

get it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

美好的七十年代 [glorious 70s]

just picked up this from victoria music, atria and really, 70s compilation can't get better this! 3-CD package (total 66 songs) for the peanut price of RM33, which works out to RM0.50 a song!

as we have said many times before, new titles are not selling, so recording labels are digging deep into their back catalogs and come out with superb compilations like this... it is really good value and what's more, the songs are unbeatable!

but the catch is some of the songs are new versions sung by original singers but with some new members added (cos some have left the group) so the new version is not as good as the old. also the lead singers have grown old la!

70s is a time of innocence where there was no internet, no ipod, no iphone... kids played marble, cards and flew kites and they listened to music through music cassettes. 70s is the best decade for music, if you believe us.

calling all "mature" music lovers and also young music lovers who want to learn about good music, go and get this!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

愛齊秦 [we love qi qin]

the packaging of these typical chinese pop albums always frustrates me: this album comes in a 10"X10" box that can neither fit into my ikea rack nor any other compartment i have!

even the cover looks like a mis-print: qi qin's face is so blur and out of focus. we wonder if forward music screws up in the printing! it does look like made-in-china audiophile cd, for better or for worse.

anyway, music-wise this is a gem. qi qin is simply one of the best male voices in mandarin pop for the past 3 decades. it is one of extreme tenderness and sensitivity, a bit like our 2v1g's jeffery lim, or rather jeffery sounds a bit like qi qin. qi qin's voice alone is worth the price of admission, really.

we love the song selections, with many classics which we would have considered for 2v1g or jz8. although we are not in favor of orchestra backing a pop singer, the instrumentation here stands only as a accompaniment to qi qin's rich and multi-layered voice. it doesn't not matter how the chinese orchestra plays because it is always qi qin who takes the center stage. the orchestra is only a 2nd fiddle.

some of the songs chosen in this album are stunning.

surprise inclusion is a malaysian composition by tang xiao kang 【湯小康】 who used to be qi qin's protege but somehow he was dropped out. tang's heartbreaking song is greatly rendered by qi qin. this is one of the highlights of the album.

another song which we did consider for jz8 is 【陶晶瑩】 tao jing ying's "live or leave" 【離開我】, but we dropped it because it is too karaoke-friendly. but here, qi qin really delivers another gem of a performance. his voice, his voice is all the winning factor. the orchestra backing provides a lush backdrop to which qi qin casts his sensitive voice. absolutely beautiful.

our fave has to go to a-mei's classic "don't say goodbye"【不要告別】。 now big song like this really yearns for orchestra backing. we did consider this song for 2v1g but we didn't think roger's guitar can carry this big song sufficiently. this is the best song in the album! dig it!

yet another great ballad is 【江美琪】 "admiration" 【我多么羨慕你】。qi qin really has great taste in choosing this song. we would like to cover this one day for 2v1g in an album or in live performance, cos it can fit into a solo guitar arrangement.

as stated, eventho the orchestra provides the lushness and drama, sometimes, it is just superfluous cos qi qin's voice is so outstanding. even with minimal instrumentation like a solo guitar, the song will stand out because of his voice.

since this is an audiophile album, we have to judge the sound more critically. we always have doubts with major label doing audiophile recordings, you know (like jacky cheung album). surprisingly then the recording is pretty good. the sound casts a huge soundstage with plenty of air, hall ambience, layering and bloom. qi qin is smack right in the middle surrounded by layers upon layers of music. quite a great feeling if your system has the resolution and top-end airiness. indeed, these are the areas that bernie grundman (the mastering guru) always excels. (whereas doug sax is better in tonality, organicity and texture)

we love this album. seldom we hear a cover album that's so well done and with song so well chosen.

we are dreaming that one day qi qin will do an album of his own ballads in an acoustic minimalist format. now, that would be a killer project!

you can sample the album here

我們仰慕的大師 [we admire him]

in the short time we get to know salvador guerzo (affectionately known as ador), our admiration has grown by leaps and bounds....

this is a great man with few words and much humility....

we will share with you our impression of this great maestro...

p/s we have decided to postpone writing this post until after the completion of the solianos pusaka project ;-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

曼谷,我們來了![bangkok here we come!]

we are looking forward to our bangkok trip this friday!

besides meeting our fans for the first time in bangkok, we will also get to meet our distributor, CAP music. its boss, steve, has been very supportive on the love's tapestry album.

i have told gina to cover the thai love song "saichon" as a dedication to the thai music lovers. the thai language is not easy to pronounce but i am sure gina will get it right!

we are also excited to use the bose L1 compact system which the sponsor will provide, which roger raved about. we may buy for our own use because it is compact and the sound quality is cool. we are also hoping to endorse this product for bose... atlas hifi, are you reading? ;-)

really, "saichon" has been our fave love song for the past months. it connects with us like no other love songs. it makes our heart soft and fuzzy every time we listen to it... how we wish we have a thai girlfriend and serenade this beautiful song to her....

yeah, we want to learn the thai language!

knowing how much we love this song, steve even provided the meaning and thai lyrics for us....

::Thai-Eng Translation:: สายชล - Sai Chon (Stream)
..this song was written in 1979 and recorded in 1981 by EMI Music which awarded the best seller in 1982.

เหม่อมองดูสายน้ำวน เหม่อมองสายชลช่างไหลริน
Mur Mong Do Sai Naam Won, Mur Mong Sai Chon Chang Lai Rin
when i am absent-minded looking at a river, looking at their slowly stream

เหม่อมองดูนกผกผิน บินลับไป
Mur Mong Do Nok Phok Phin Bin Lub Phai
and I am absent-minded looking those birds flew away off my eyes

ยามเหงาเราถอนใจ บินไปไม่กลับมา
Yaam Ngao Rao Thon Chai, Bin Phai Mai Klub Ma
i sign as this time i'm so lonely, 'cause my love flew away and never come back like them.

Plao Pliao Ching Nor Hua Chai
Oh, why my heart is so lonely...

Yaak Cha Rak Krai Sao Chai Thook Kra
as i've never found my real love eventhough i gave real heart

Mod Rang Kum Lang Ohn La Lae Long Thang
now i am so tired and lost

Jeb Nan Yang Jeb Mi Chang Aang Wang Dunk Sai Chon
and this pain is still stuck in my heart, made me alone like stream

แม้ใจจะเจ็บเก็บมาคิดๆ อดีตยังงามล้ำล้น
Mae Chai Ja Jeb Keb Ma Kid Kid A-Deed Yang Ngam Lam Lon
eventhough my heart was pain, but this remembrance is still beautiful

มิเคยลืมภาพเราสองคน มิเคยลืมยังหลอกลวงตน
Mi Khei Leum Phaab Rao Song Khon, Mi Khei Leum Yang Lok Luang Ton
i would never forget the time when we're together, as it always come out showing the past

มิเคยลืม ว่าเคยรักเธอสายชล หลั่งรินไหลวนมาพานพบเจอ
Mi Khei Leum Wa Khei Rug Thur Sai Chon, Lang Rin Lai Won Ma Phaan Phob Cher
i would never forget that i love you, Sai Chon, like stream fall down made us met each other

Hed Karn Phan Pai Yang Phur Pa-Wong Thook Won
even this love was past but i still think of it everytime

Oak Eei Khom Kheun Teun Tan, Jaag Kan Reu Phan Pai
Oh, did we really leave apart or i was dreaming...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

影音展記錄 [KLIAV report]

we meet all sorts of customers at the just concluded KLIAV show held at j.w.marriot....

some are hilariously ignorant, some are passionate and very supportive of local efforts, while some are downright annoying.....

here's our observations...

1) many still don't know we have an audiophile label in malaysia

2) some questioned why we have only 3 titles on sale, while next door has hundreds

3) while many have bought 2v1g two years ago at the show, many don't know about love's tapestry and jz8

4) many questioned why 2v1g's first album is cheaper than jz8

5) many wanted to bargain when the price is already discounted by 20% off recommended retail price

6) many 2v1g supporters! pre-orders for the 2nd album exceed 50! wow!

7) one staunch supporter came by and we offered him to listen to 2v1g's 2nd album, to which he said, "no need la. i will buy every cd you produce!".

8) one customer listened on the headphone a duet by winnie and jeffery and utttered "very nice ! these two voices combine well!"

9) one chinese uncle wanted to try the love' s tapestry cd in one of the hifi dealer's room, citing that he wanted to hear the real sound... 5 minutes later, my girl told me that the dealer wanted to buy one copy and was asking for discount. so i relented and gave Rm5 off the price. in the end, we found out that the cd is bought by the uncle! he was using the dealer to help him to ask for a small discount!

10) and now this takes the cake for being the most hilarious and annoying...

a snooty looking malay uncle came to our stall and start scrutinizing love's tapestry cd.

he asked rather coldly, "where is this pressed?".
"hong kong", i answered back.
"no la. this is malaysian pressing!", he objected, pointing at the back of the cd.
"hong kong", i saved my breath.
"how do you know?", he challenged me.
"i know because i am the producer.", i said nonchalantly.

he doesn't look convinced. in the end, he left without buying!

however, we did pretty well! we sold over 200 cds in total.

next year will be even better cos we would then have 5 more albums to add on to our strong catalog:

  • solianos "pusaka"
  • my bossa nova princess
  • roger wang's "milestones"
  • winnie ho's "the decadent sound of teresa teng"
  • carrie zhang le's "the age of decadence" chinese oldies
thanks to those who came by!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

好玩, 有 feel! [plenty of fun!]

DJ piao ming and yin yin flanking 2v1g... what nice pajamas!

notice the footwear of roger, winnie and jeffery!

988's pillow party turned out to be a night of sentimental stories and great music!

DJ-cum-host piao ming and yin yin had everyone in stitches with their humor, feel-good and affable personality!

we greatly enjoyed the night!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

音響與睡衣 [hifi and pajamas]

event #1: KL international audio visual show

event #2: 98.8 pillow party with 2v1g as special guest

two events on-going this weekend!

2v1g and 98.8 pillow party on friday 9:00pm at studio v, 1-utama (near rainforest) tomorrow! come and support the fab trio 2v1g!

the annual hifi show, KLIAV show, will also start on friday at J.W.Marriot hotel. pop pop and musictoxin will have a stall at 4th floor to sell our CDs and allow trial listening of 2v1g's 2nd album... we will accept reservations...early birds get a 20% discount off the recommended retail price of RM49.90 (so it is RM40 at the show)..... stock will arrive by mid-august!

so those who can't wait and want to listen to the 2nd album, go visit us at marriot tomorrow!

plenty of happenings!

新山音樂節 [JB Art Festival]

you wouldn't believe that this is only the 3rd public performance of 2v1g since its inception 2 years ago and this is the first public performance of the new-lineup with jeffery in and jb art fest is the lucky host for this debut performance!

suzie, the host, briefed us on the history of the jb art fest. this is the 7th year already and the fest is growing from strength to strength. they were a bit sceptical when roger wang proposed 2v1g to them because they know roger is a banana. suzie was even more puzzled when roger sent her the song list; she couldn't even find a song she is familiar with!

the venue is bukit timbalan, a unused government building that looks a bit like fort canning of singapore. nice park-like environment. the organizer build a marquee for the event. there was also a big bench outside the marquee in the open air area, which can accomodate another 200 people.

we really don't know what to expect but roger warned us the jb folks are a bit reserved and we were worried about the attendance.

all these doubts were put the rest when the fab trio went on stage. in fact, the attendance of 80+ people was one of the highest in the entire festival. there were more senior adults than there were youngsters.

it rained in jb when we arrived but fortunately the rain stopped and it helped to cool down the weather.

the fab trio did a last minute back-stage rehearsal at 8:30pm, half an hour before the show opening. we actually wanted winnie ho to do "coming home" since jb is her home but roger thinks we have too many slow songs already.

it is also a privilege for us to see the new 2v1g on stage for the first time! credits must go to the organizer for the good sound system and lighting - all these are important to us because, excuse me, we are an audiophile acoustic group! ;-)

from the moment the trio went on stage, you can tell that this is a superb combination. all three of them graced the stage like old veteran with years and years of stage experience. winnie ho did most of the talking since she is the most outgoing among the three. she is truly a heavenly voice. for those we saw her in NBT in 2008, we can tell you she has come a long way from that memorable performance: she is even better now! her voice has attained an impact that is both powerful and penetrating. she hits her high notes effortlessly and her stage presence is even better than before. she is commanding.

jeffery is the shy one but the moment he opened his mouth, the audience just listened attentively. jeffery rendered many touching ballads that had the crowd fully nailed to their seats.

roger is just his usual calm and cool self, playing effortlessly to accompany the two voices.

2v1g rendered many songs from the 1st album, as well as the forthcoming 2nd album. in between, winnie and jeffery threw in some english evergreens like "you've got a friend", "vincent", "what a difference a day made" to keep the english-educated uncles and aunties entertained.

not to praise our own artistes, 2v1g is truly first-class act. they are entertaining and classy and the voices are truly heavenly. despite the mellow mood of the music, we didn't see the audience getting impatient or annoyed. the jb crowd is quite tame but you could tell that they liked it, eventho they were not very expressive.

we were happy to meet winnie's parents too. her mum, especially, is beaming with pride for having such a talented daughter. she is not only a great singer, she is also a budding business woman too; we are all proud of her achievements!

all in all, a superb trip with a great host. we hope we could return to jb soon.

thanks suzie, yap, fanny and all those we are involved. we left with good memories of the place.

2v1g will also kick-start their national tour in september after they launch their album, watch out for the dates in this space!

[acknowledgement]: photos courtesy of alan ng.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

有沒有這樣勁? [top 5 in the world?]

cd cover of tai fu's 40th anniversary compilation cd

pop pop getting recognition overseas

check out this announcement in taiwan's top hifi magazine, audio art!

one of taiwan's biggest and oldest hifi dealers, tai fu 【鈦孚】, is celebrating its 40th anniversary, which coincides with the upcoming TAA hifi show on august 5th.

to reward their customers, tai fu is giving away a compilation cd featuring "the top 5 audiophile music labels in the world", and pop pop music is one of them! being mentioned alongside legendary labels like reference recordings is already a privilege!

tai fu has chosen the single "tudung periuk" - a malay traditional folk song - from our next album by the solianos (which we have only recorded 3 songs so far) for this special album and we are very proud of that! solianos boleh!

a bit of flattery to us and plenty of exaggeration on the "top 5" tag.

we are no way near there but we definitely aspire to be there one day!

thank you, tai fu!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

感覺完美 [so very good]

roger's favourite guitar amp, AER, from the guitar store

a setting so familiar, yet so remote. after all, it has been two years since we had a practice like this... the only difference is we now have jeff, the king of ballads, in place of regine tai ...

the amazing jeff singing leslie cheung's classic "wai nei chung ching"

Friday, July 16, 2010

他是我們的神 [he is god to us]

one thing about doing audiophile music in malaysia is getting the production team, especially the recording engineer(s), to understand what audiophile requirements are about. all engineers in malaysia have been trained to do pop recordings, audiophile recordings are like french or greek to them; they need to be slowly exposed and trained.

while it is not difficult for local engineers to appreciate special mic-ing (positioning and the kind of microphone for different instruments and voices) , using audiophile cables for better signal conduct, audiophile requirements for mixing, there is one area which is extremely difficult to learn and that's mastering.

if you are a follower of this blog, you would have read that mastering is a special and last crucial step in audio engineering that was invented by legends like doug sax and bernie grundman.

mastering is about adjusting and manipulating frequency curves to bring out the sound: to give it more gain, more dimensionality, more meat, more texture, more harmonic shadings, etc etc. mastering is not about having special hardware or software, altho doug and bernie do have their proprietary hardware+software to do the job. mastering is about having an extremely good pairs of ears.

now, that completes the intro part of this blog.

last week, we had a situation where we were not satisfied with a master (which we did ourselves) for one song we need to send to taiwan for a compilation album. the tonal balance was not right. that got us worried because we are not sure if the poor quality of sound is caused by the our own mastering or purely the hardware we used in the studio.

so we summoned doug sax to rescue the situation. doug was more than willing to help and within just hours (we exchanged emails la), he delivered a job so fantastic that had me screaming "wow!". he turned the poor master into a jewel! not that i didn't believe he could do that but i couldn't believe that doug's master - being done in such a short time - can be so deliciously good.

what's so incredible about doug sax is he picks up all the good facets in the final mix (the data file ready for mastering) and accentuate them while maintaining a perfect tonal balance..

it is like making up an already beautiful woman; all his touches are so delicate and yet so effective.

really, it is too technical to explain to you guys about what is involved in mastering. but what we want to share with you is that all the good sound you hear in pop pop's recordings is contributed a large part by doug sax's mastering.

many people have asked us to train our own mastering engineer to do the job. no way, no the in near future. mastering is a delicate and profound art that takes years and years of hands-on, expensive equipment, trial and error.

it is not about "malaysia boleh". it is not about saving money and doing the job ourselves, it is about giving the job to the best person in the world. it is about ensuring excellence and giving our listeners the best sound quality that's expected of us. we may be a local label but we aspire to be the world's best.

doug sax is a legend and we will stick by him for many albums to come.

you guys are so lucky ;-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

雙喜臨門 [double happiness]

2V1G + JZ8 Double Bill Concert

Date: 21st August 2010 (Saturday)
Venue: Bentley Music Auditorium, Mutiara Damansara
Time: 9pm – 11pm
Ticket Price: RM90
Booking: Ms Lim Su Li (017-6586513)


Local Audiophile Music Labels, Musictoxin and Pop Pop Music, are collaborating to bring us some fresh, non-mainstream music made for those with discerning tastes.

The two acts they have produced so far, 2V1G (2 Voices, 1 Guitar) and JZ8 (pronounced as Jazzy Eight) have garnered a strong supporter base locally and abroad. Their record sales surprised even major labels who are predominantly concentrating on mainstream pop artistes. Indeed, Musictoxin and Pop Pop Music are pioneering a genre (audiophile music) never before heard in Malaysia.

Since their sold-out gigs at No Black Tie(NBT) two years ago, many have waited patiently for their repeat performance. .... now, 2V1G is back, with a new album, a stronger line-up and an all-around mature performance from Roger Wang, Winnie Ho and Jeffery Lim. The 2nd album looks set to become another best-seller in the music stores, emulating the 10,000 record set by their debut album.

Labelmate JZ8, the Piano-n-Vocal duo featuring Tay Cher Siang on piano and Lydia Chew on vocals, who has just released their debut album on 25th May 2010, is also eager to perform live. Since its album launch in May 2010, JZ8 has sold more than 3,000 copies alone in Malaysia.

What better time than this to feature these two talented acts on the same stage? The organizer certainly thinks this is the right time.

Together, 2V1G and JZ8 are going to thrill your aural senses with a Double-Bill concert held at the very classy Bentley Music Auditorium at Mutiara Damansara come 21st August 2010.

The night promises to be a night where simple, tasteful acoustic music will tug your heartstrings and make you feel warm and cozy inside. 2V1G and JZ8 will sing many Chinese classics from the albums, as well as English evergreens. They will also have a crossover section where the two acts play on the same stage!

Come and witness a new chapter in Malaysia’s music industry where a new genre of music promises to enchant a whole new generation of music lovers!

2v1g 有演出 [2v1g's performances]

local chinese radio station 98.8 is organizing a pillow party for its listeners, with 2v1g as the special guest!

the day is 23rd july next friday, time is 9:00-10:30pm, the place is studio v in 1-utama....

those who want to attend please register here in the comment here! come and say hi to roger wang, winnie ho and jeffery lim and you may even get some discount vouchers for 2v1g's latest album!

2v1g will also be making an appearance in next monday's JB art festival!

here's how the organizer describes 2v1g....

those who are in JB or singapore, you are welcome to come to support 2v1g... this will be the first appearance of 2v1g with the new-lineup!

also, 2v1g plans to return to NBT after the august 21st double-bill concert....

this 2v1g is going to get busy!

【我的美少女】完成 ["gadis idamanku" nailed]

tinoy panicking in front of the camera!

we nailed "gadis idamanku", our third song for the pusaka album!

"gadis idamanku" is a famous song composed by alfonso soliano, the granddaddy of the soliano. this is one of my favorite songs from the solianos. it has a great melody and the 5-harmony in this song is greatly executed. ado's arrangement is great too! this is gonna be a strong single in the album!

on the same day, we had video shooting for the "tanah pusaka" video in the studio. it was so much fun as the solianos were not comfortable in front of the camera, especially big brother tinoy who was seen perspiring profusely even in air-conditioned environment, and he stammered while he spoke during he shooting! we have a script written by dali, the malaysia finance blogger, and myself, tricia and tinoy were supposed to do the short introduction to the video. i was cool as usual but tricia and tinoy struggled in front of the camera.... anyway, we did about 4-5 takes and our video man was happy with the results. so guys, you will get the see the video in the middle of august next month and we hope you would spread it to all your friends!

elsewhere, "my bossa princess" project is going to enter the studio next month. after secretly training for 2 months, the princess is ready to sing. this time we would engage a new producer by the name of stefano chen 【陳穎豪】, who is also our vocal coach. stefano is trained in beijing in classical singing and he has done one audiophile album under his name. we have great hopes in stefano based on our working with him for the last 2 months! he is technically solid and he is demanding of his singers.... the bossa princess is gonna have a tough time under him!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

2v1g 有突破 [2v1g outdoing themselves]

this is gonna be a great outing for 2v1g, if feedback is anything to go by!

many listeners think that this is a much more mature 2v1g with roger wang and winnie ho delivering all-round improvement, while jeffery is more than a worthy replacement for regine tai.

roger's playing has certainly come a long way since 2v1g's debut album and his grasp of mandarin ballads has grown by leaps and bounds. roger is actually playing so much less in this album but at the same time his presence is so much more. does that sound like a paradox? not at all. the less he plays, the better he makes his guitar felt. this is the sign of a maestro.

winnie ho impresses all and sundry with her immaculate techniques and improved emotional delivery. many gave thumbs-up for her performance in this album. one even commented that she is the best singer in all of pop pop music's albums!

many also have doubts on our replacement singer but jeffery proves his worth. in fact, one of our biggest supporters sighed a big relief when he heard jeffery's voice after only a few notes! he remarked, "gosh, i had so much doubts on a male replacement singer but jeffery is beyond doubt a worthy voice to carry the 2v1g flag!".

no one is overshadowing anyone in this album. individually roger wang, jeffery lim and winnie ho are superstars in his/her own right!

this is a strong acoustic trio that has surpassed previous standards!

for that we applaud loudly!

【纸醉金迷】曲目 [final list for shidaiqu album]

carrie zhang le

說不出的快活 (indescribable fun) - 葛蘭

得不到的愛情 (unobtainable love) - 姚莉

花樣的年華 (sweet 16) - 周璇

魂縈舊夢 (haunting dreams) - 白光

秋夜 (autumnal night) - 白光

月圓花好 (perfect night) - 周璇

情人的眼淚 (love's tears) - 潘秀瓊

茉莉花 (jasmine flower)

訴衷情 (confiding in you) - 周璇

如果沒有你 (if i don't have you) - 白光

給我一個吻 (give me a kiss)

不了情 (endless love)

thanks for voting! exactly 12 songs get voted so our job is so easy!

as we have indicated, it is not gonna be called shanghai jazz but a shidaiqu (chinese oldies) album by the tentative name of 【纸醉金迷】, roughly translated to "extravagant and pleasures-seeking life", reflective of the opulent lifestyles of rich shanghainese in those era. for english title, we would settle for "age of decadence" for now ;-)

we have been in constant touch with carrie zhang le, our choice singer and she has many ideas on how this album should be presented in terms of arrangement and style...

all we are waiting now is a budget approval from our big boss... anyway, this album is scheduled for next year 2011...

keep your fingers crossed!

p/s we would put up a couple of songs covered by carrie in a moment.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

他們從來沒有離開過我們 [they have never left us]

這一個 2v1g 是慢熱的。 但一旦熱了, 就一發不可以收拾。


有些歌超有感覺的。.. 真的聽到想哭。。。

這一個 2v1g 成熟了。 何蕓妮感情豐富了, roger 的吉他更不用說, 已到了一種不可言語的境界。

阿飛細膩感人, 他給了2v1g 不一樣的感動和音色。

這一個 2v1g 一樣感動到我們。


today we take a break from solianos and take a listen to the final mix of 6 songs from the 2v1g's sophomore album, due early next month.

switching from the spirited and uplifting solianos back to the sentimental 2v1g does take a bit of adjustment.

all of a sudden, we were like kids high on endorphine being sedated with a huge dose of melancholia and romantic medications. it brings us back to a time in 2008 when we were so hooked with the melodious sound of regine tai, winnie ho and roger wang. times where even the familiar roger wang's prelude of "tempting hearts" could melt our hearts and make us vulnerable. oh, what bittersweet memories.

within 3 spins of the album, we got re-acquainted with 2v1g.

yes, the unmistakable voices, the unmistakable roger wang guitar, the same melancholia, the same tinge of loneliness and sadness, the same indescribable sense of belonging.

2v1g is back but it is different this time because it has jeffery (ah fei) , arguably the best chinese male pop vocalist in malaysia.

the demure voice of regine tai (and her killer dimples) is greatly missed but jeffery replaces the void with his tender and emotive voice that caresses roger's guitar pluckings with equal finesse.

jeffery and winnie are widely regarded as the best vocalists in malaysia, eventho' they haven't reached the stage of super stardom, not that they miss anything.

and roger wang makes sure his is still the leader of the trio by having everything in tight control. his guitar this time is mellower, more sensitive and more human than that of 2 years ago. really, this is roger wang at his best.

the song selections this time does not have the "wow" impact of the first but it does grow on us after 2 spins. it doesn't have big classic hits like "coming home", "tempting hearts" and "endless love" in the debut album but the music this time has some long-lasting and eternal appeal.

the more we listen to this album, the more it settles down, the more it sinks into our consciousness. it is even more soothing than the first, even calmer, smoother and more refined, with all the rough edges gone.... 2v1g has matured for all good reasons.

winnie ho has also improved markedly. her renditions of several killer ballads are highly sensitive and touching. brilliantly sung.

with 6 songs more to review, including the highly-anticipated "love scale", which jacky cheung took from roger wang for his latest jazz album, we already predict another strong album from 2v1g.

it is good to have you back, 2v1g, we have all the reasons to feel romantic tonight and many more nights to come because of your wonderful music but don't make us wait another 2 years again.

【我的祖國】完成![tanah pusaka nailed!]

2nd song nailed, 10 more to go!

tanah pusaka is a patriotic song written by ahmad american. many a secondary school student has sung it at one time or another in their school assembly, sports carnival or on national day's gathering. there are countless versions being sung and recorded but this one by the solianos..... this one is really special. it has a swing beat and uplifting "kick" that would have you sing along in seconds!

we especially like the part when the solianos sing "sungguh rela kugugur kerana kau tanah pusaka, biar putih tulang jangan putih mata". ( translation: we are so willing to sacrifice because this is our home land. we rather die and not betray our country)

tricia's voice is so brave and spirited, pushing along, driving all the voices forward, as if she is leading the whole family, marching with head-ups, chin-ups.... there is so much pride doing this song for the country!

we will be filming the youtube video next week and we have written a short script on how we want to deliver this song to malaysia for her upcoming birthday!

music unites races and tanah pusaka can do it better than any other lips-service national promotional campaign!

聽說 [i heard a rumor]

rumors have been flying around...

various soliano members have been telling me (whispering more like it) about certain bulk reservations on the yet-unreleased-but-already-making-noises "pusaka" album, from certain big corporations in malaysia. and the order runs into a few hundred to one thousand.

if it was true then we are closer to the 5,000 break-even target!

yay! yay! yay!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

有愛的地方 [we will find love where love is]

remember that very sad and soppy love album we did called "love's tapestry"? ;-)

yes, roger wang and gina panizales will be performing - for the first time for this album promo - in the upcoming bangkok hifi show starting 28th july to 1st august 2010!

the organizer is excited about roger wang's and gina's arrival and they promise a royal treatment for us!

we love the thai people! we want roger and gina to perform "saichon", our all-time-fave thai love song, recently covered by lisa ono!

no more sadness, no more melancholia, we look forward to a roaring good time in the bangkok hifi show!

we will find love where love is.

Monday, July 5, 2010

卓越爵士家族 [swinging with the solianos]

acknowledgement: this great article was written by errol de cruz for NST and was published on merdeka day august 31, 2007,

IF there's one family that stands above all others in Malaysian music-making, it must be the Soliano clan.

There's an often-used joke which says that if you don't want to become a millionaire, all you need do is become a jazz musician. It's probably what used to happen in the early 1900s what with so many talented jazz and blues musicians succumbing to "occupational hazards".

In today's musical climate, however, jazz musicians have come a long way and several have made a big name for themselves, the Malaysian list includes Michael Veerapen, Lewis Pragasam, Andy Peterson, David Ah Wah, Julian Chan, Vincent Ong, Josie Thomas, David Gomes and many others.

Jazz itself has come a long way, finding its way into pop, rock and ethnic fusion; it's not surprising to find pop artistes who have matured, so to speak, turning back to their roots and hitting jazz joints with sets that include songs by Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Last week, for example, at popular jazz joint No Black Tie, patrons were pleasantly surprised to find evergreen artiste Khatijah Ibrahim at the mike, belting out her own originals and also jazz standards like Don't Rain On My Parade, Luck Be My Lady Tonight and Fever.

Accompanying her was an ensemble starring a renowned music family - the Solianos, arguably the only family in Malaysian showbiz who can claim a heritage of jazz that dates back well into the nation's history, well past the inaugural Merdeka celebrations, thanks to their forefathers, the legendary Alfonso and Tony Soliano.

The Soliano name hails back to the days of the British occupation, when Rufino Soliano and Dominado Tirona were brought in from the Philippines to play in the Constabulary Band.

Later, Alfonso and his nephew Tony came into the picture. Alfonso was the serious one, leading and writing for the orchestras of the time, while Tony was happy being the live wire, leading local musicians in one jazz ensemble or another on both sides of the Causeway, and in the heady Bangkok scene, too.

"Those were the days," many say, "when we had talented artistes like Ahmad Wan Yet, Zain Azman and Julie Sudiro entertaining us."

Alfonso and Tony died, months apart, in 1990, and it has been up to their children and families to keep things going.

Today's Soliano clan remembers the days of yore well, especially Valentino "Tinoy" Soliano who was the only one who performed with his father Alfonso. "I was the lucky one and yes, those were the days," he said.

"If you went to any of our homes after he passed away, there'd be a portrait of him above the piano and as we practised, we'd get that echo that said: "No bluffing, ah."

"Dad's talent was his wealth," Tinoy said. "He'd always bring himself down to the playing level of other musicians and make them sound good."

The Soliano Brothers picked up the flag from Alfonso and performed all over the country for more than 15 years, until individual talent and creativity nudged them into forming their own groups.

Now, instead of just one family ensemble plying the trade, there are at least six outfits pushing the Soliano envelope, from Langkawi to Singapore.

* Tinoy's sister, Isabella, leads one band at the Datai in Langkawi, with Conrado playing trumpet.

* Brother Rizal and niece Rachel have two bands, now performing at No Black Tie.

* Sister Irene sings with the Soliano Brothers whenever she can.

* Cousin Daniel Guerzo leads his Nine Lives in Langkawi.

* Tony Soliano Jr has a band in Johor Baru.

* Cousin Louis Tan Soliano plays drums at Jazz At Southbridge in Singapore.

* Older brother Remy had an accident recently and is currently bed-ridden.

* Tinoy and Tristano are session musicians. "We're the family mercenaries," Tano laughed.

The entire family gets together at Christmas and last year, they more or less took over Langkawi island for two whole weeks. And when they do get together, it's Salvador Guerzo who leads them.

Ado, pianist Rachel's dad, is the elder that the Solianos look up to nowadays. Like Alfonso in his time, Ado writes and arranges for the RTM Orchestra and also plays as often as he can with any of the Soliano outfits. Another "mercenary", yes, but this saxophonist is rather devoted to his daughter's band.

"Times have changed," Rachel chipped in. "I used to follow him; now it's the other way around."

It's a tough job, leading the entire clan when they get together, but Ado wears the mantle well, and his big hope is that he will one day be instrumental in making some Soliano dreams come true.

Rachel has plans to organise the Alfonso Soliano Jazz Festival and is hoping to acquire enough sponsorship over the next two years, and Ado wants to establish what they would all like to see - the Soliano School of Music.

"These are our dreams," Ado said, "and I know we can do it if we put our heads and talent together."

In this case, however, Rachel has the level-headed voice. "What we really need is someone with the business acumen to run it."

Considering the reputation the Soliano clan has earned over half a century and more, the realisation of such dreams would only be fitting.

Or as Rizal put it: "Dad didn't leave us any wealth because making music was more important than making money. But he did leave us with a big name, and it's up to us to do something with it."

歌詞的意義? [meaning of the song?]

three cheers for pop pop music!

solianos' "tudung periuk" has been selected by our distributor to be included in another compilation album issued by one big hifi dealer in taiwan for the upcoming TAA hifi show. our distributor loves the melody and harmony of the song! see, we told you, we told you this is a great song! ;-)

but they have one tough question for us: what is the song about?

we don't know either! here's the lyrics of the song.....

tudung periuk

lid of the pot

tudung periuk, pandai menari

lid of the pot dances well

menarilah lagu, putera mahkota

dance of the son of the crown prince

kain yang buruk

The rag

Kain yang buruk berikan kami

The rag give it to us

Buat menyapu

To wipe

Buat menyapu si air mata

To wipe the tears

any volunteers to decipher the hidden meaning behind the song?

in any case, you guys should be proud that a malay song has unprecedentedly made it into taiwan!

開拓者 [the path less traveled]

making music is a lonely pursuit, especially when the whole industry has gone wayward.

sometimes we keep asking ourselves: how much is our passion worth?

a multi-millionaire businessman friend of ours even quipped: "don't worry, you won't have a competitor in your field; nobody in the right mind would invest in such venture". so much for encouragement.

the solianos "pusaka" project is going to breach the RM100K mark in production costs; we are sweating and breathing heavily. we need to sell more than 5,000 copies to break even and in times like these, it is not an easy feat.

so where do we go from here?

musical heaven and financial hell.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

新人 [a new voice]

remember this name - 韋禮安

wei sounds like taiwan's answer to khalil fong.... this video alone has prompted us to buy his album!

Friday, July 2, 2010

七月, 很精彩! [july, what a month!]

it is only the first day of july, and it is already signaling the beginning of a great month filled with great activities!

first, local chinese radio station 98.8 has agreed to run a 3-month marketing campaign on 2v1g's second album.... details will come later, the highlight of it is a pillow party on 23rd july (friday night), where attendees and guests will dress in their fave pajamas and bring along their pillows and bolsters and get serenaded by the fabulous trio of roger wang, winnie ho and jeffery lim! do you want to be an invited guest? stay tuned for our invite!

2v1g is finally getting mainstream treatment, isn't that great?!!

second, taiwan is hot on 2v1g and solianos, with the coming TAA hifi show... our distributor, joy audio, has been chasing us for singles of 2v1g's 2nd album and solianos, to be included in various compilation albums issued by the main organizer and big hifi dealers. we are certainly flattered! wow, taiwanese liking malaysia-made music!

elsewhere, we are shaping up nicely to film the video of "tanah pusaka" for merdeka day (malaysia's independence day), 31th august 2010. we are going to summon the big and major bloggers in malaysia to spread this video via viral marketing. you bet it is gonna be infectious! have you heard the much revered "tanah pusaka" being sung in wicked jazz/swing style? let's wait for the great video!

roger wang and gina panizales will also be going to the bangkok's hifi show, to showcase the "love's tapestry" album on 1st august.... the thai people love this album!

july is so breathlessly happening!