Wednesday, August 29, 2012

蔡琴,是時候退隐了 [time for cai qin to retire]

完美的模仿 [100% teresa teng]

this is so eeriely close to the real mccoy! scary!

and she is blind.

熱情的發燒 [warm and feverish]

shure elvis microphone stealing the limelight!

could it be that foreign talents get better reception? just like in malaysia, some locals here tend to look at local talents with a certain attitude. they never think malaysian talents are good enough and they are not proud of them. we were told the same story in singapore. typical singaporean won't pay to watch a singaporean singer.  

the singaporeans who came to watch the live performances really did appreciate our performances. we could tell from their generous applause and facial expression.

maybe because they have not had live performances in a hifi show for such a long time. our presence in the show was really a crowd puller. almost every showcase (we did 4 sessions) was a full house. many of them did video recording and the videos below are contributed by uncle bob, a good friend and a well-known car audio enthusiast.      

we were so worried that the shure elvis mic couldn't do the job satisfactorily. surprisingly, it sounded ok, way beyond what we thought a "decorative" mic can do. besides, it looked so damn good on winnie ho! thanks shure malaysia and concept audio for the generous gift.

we performed in 3 separate rooms but the sound decision's room, where they had this towering and gigantic von schriekert speakers sounded the best. in fact, it sounded even better on second day, after the tubes and cables have warmed up.  the host (the dealer, eugene) was warm to us and he must be happy that winnie ho made him look good! both shows held in his room were packed to the brim.even mr. albert von shriekert, the designer for the speakers, nodded approvingly throughout the performance. it was so reassuring looking at everyone's appreciative face.  

s2s music: the team that made it happen!

terence wong, the organizer of MOD-DAC was so happy to see winnie ho thrilling the crowd. we are happy too that he has something to "give back" to the dealers and visitors, who came without having to pay the entrance fee. here's wishing him a bigger and better show next year. he has worked so hard for it and he deserves all the credits.      

not forgetting how helpful s2s music is in making this a reality for us. our partnership with s2s music receives a fantastic boost with this incredible start. thanks to dean augustine, li lin, fabian, kristen, minjia and mandy, you guys are a terrific team!  

we would also like to say thank you to malaysian hifi media and blogs: audiofi, hifi avenue, hifi-unlimited for the frequent updates and reporting! 

we hope this showcase has opened the eyes of the organizer and visitors. it definitely shows them that hifi show needs live performances to pull the crowd. and the talents don't need to be from mainland china or HK. they can be from malaysia!

oh, btw, all the CDs were sold out!

almost forget to mention, s2s's sensation, tay kewei came to watch the sunday 3pm session. did anyone spot a young, leggy and beautiful lady amongst the crowd? ;-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

貓王用的麥克風! [looks and sounds like elvis!]

we will be using this fabulous retro-looking shure super elvis 55 dynamic microphone for this weekend's MOD-DAC hifi show in singapore! thank you shure for sponsoring the mic and engraving winnie ho's name on it!

 謝謝 shure 的慷慨贊助, 我們在這星期六的新加坡音響展將會用這一個很復古又高貴的《貓王》 shure super 55 elvis 麥克風!還刻上何芸妮的名字呢!

Monday, August 20, 2012

前途無量的曲婉婷 [she leaves me wan ting more (part 2)]

sorry we leave this post hanging ....

by now, everyone would know qu wanting, the harbin girl who made waves all over mainland china, in recent months.

she has yet conquer taiwan, HK, MY and SG, but it is just a matter of time.

it is time we talk a bit about her debut, which was released under universal music.

her debut which is actually a combination of new and old songs. she has formerly released an english album under netwerk, her canadian music label. due to the different production timeframe, the whole production does not sound cohesive as it should be but it is sufficient to stamp wanting's authority in song composition.

right from the first song "life is like a song", wanting opens with a big and chirpy melody that immediately brightens up your day, sing-along and dancing all at once. it is a celebration of life and love, that's the power of her music.

"drenched", the movie soundtrack from romance-comedy "love in the butt", is superbly romantic and lush, and filled with plenty drama. remember britpop band keane's "somewhere only we know", the song that's always picked for romantic comedies and always being played at the end of the movie when the two lovers re-unite? "drenched" is smart and manipulative, it is as if wanting knows that she is writing this song for a box-office romantic-comedy movie. this song alone is enough to propel wanting to super league. cleverly written, cheekily manipulative and so very good.

"anxiety", hideaway" are all smart compositions that are big and lush, making connection with listeners instantly with its catchy choruses and easy accessibility. indeed, wanting's biggest strength is her connection with the listeners; her tunes are instantly likeable, instantly sing-along.,  
the second half are all mandarin songs, with a couple of the english songs replaced with chinese lyrics. admittedly, her mandarin singing is not as great and as natural as her english. even the chinese version of "drenched" is not half as good as the english version.

if we have to nit-pick, it is the arrangement which is way too "poppish" and a bit lacking of texture. it would be great if they reduce some digital stuff and use acoustic instruments. we are sure by doing so, it would add depth to wanting's superb compositions. as it is, the arrangement is just like another pop album, way too loud and artificial.

however, as a debut, this album is more than enough to showcase wanting's immense talents. it is especially apparent that curernt chinese pop does not have anyone who is near to this standard.

we hope to catch her live one day in malaysia!

Friday, August 17, 2012

為發燒而發燒 [audiophile for audiophile's sake]

danny summer "AM" : still a yardstick for HK's audiophile music
we seldome read hi-fi magazines these days. a recent check shows that there is an amazing number of audiophile music productions coming out from hk, especially to coincide with the august's hifi show last week . which is shocking because the market is so miserable that losses are almost guaranteed. one wonders what kind of mathematics the producer or music label do to make them so confident that they could recoup back their investment.

a check with hk's premier hifi website review33 reviews that most of these new "hot" albums are not good (it is rare that even hk audiophiles criticize they own local singers/products). which concurs with our observations too: the recording standards has gone up, but the music has gone down.

hk is the mother land of of audiophile CDs. in the heyday in the 80s, when hifi business was flourishing, there were plenty of superb audiophile CDs with great recording and musicality.  remember danny summer (ha xiu seng)? his debut audiophile "AM" is still a gem, a yardstick for hk's audiophile productions.

seriously, what is the point for all those fancy formats like HQCD, HQCDII, ABCD, XYZ etc etc etc when your music is not great? at least the major labels like universal and warner realize that, like in the hundreds of back-catalog titles they re-issued in the last 2 years,  even if your recording sucks, as long as the music is great, it makes sense to remaster it and market it as audiophile.  that's how major labels eat up one-third of the audiophile CD market pie in such a short time. the other 1/3 belong to traditional small audiophile labels and high-rez downloads. yes, the pie used to belong 100% to traditional small audiophile labels back in 5 years ago.     

interestingly, the is something that many audiophile producers don't know. the really big-selling titles never ever mentioned that they are audiophile recordings but somehow their music appeals to the masses, audiophiles included. and their recording is decent enough to please the audiophiles. who are these artistes? zee avi, joanna wang, katie melua, norah jones to name but a few.

now with the pie shrunk to 1/3, the audiophile music market is no niche and unprofitable that producing an album is almost a guaranteed loss-making venture.

so our advice is: why not make music that appeal to the masses, the genuine music lovers, audiophile included. and please, no need special formats unless the title is already a classic best-selling title. concentrate on the musical contents, get the best musicians (and not lounge sessionists), get really good vocalists, good arrangers, and your likelihood of making a profit is much higher.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

策略性的合作 [strategic partnership]

we know there are some readers of this blog whose sole reason is to spy on us and see how we progress or fall.  these people don't support us but they are just busy-bodies, cos they know we are the leader in many things and they are sour grapes. 

here's a superb news for this bunch of suckers: we are flying higher and higher!

pop pop music will be partnering japan-origin but singapore-HQ-ed s2s music for many upcoming projects.  s2s is famous for its stable of artistes like olivia ong, aiza seguerra and the latest sensaton, tay kewei. its founder ken suzuki single-handedly scouted and groomed olivia ong and made her the superstar today. suzuki san passed away last year but he left behind a musical legacy that's hard to emulate.

this partnership is strategic in many sense, which we won't reveal here lest this bunch of suckers spread and poison the news.

to start with, s2s will be the new distributor for all pop pop's titles in SG. we will be launching winnie ho's "definitive audiophile edition" in next week's MOD DAC (digital audio convention) show in raffle city convention centre.

there are plenty of goodies coming along, stay tuned!  

Monday, August 13, 2012

新加坡音響展 [winnie ho to sing in singapore's hi-fi show]

新加坡和柔佛的朋友, 想近距離的聽何芸妮唱歌嗎? 來來來, 下個星期的音響展, 她會為你唱歌! 入場免費哦!

friends in singapore and jb, wanna listen to winnie ho sing at close distance? come to next week's MOD digital audio convention @ raffles convention centre! FREE admission!
Winnie's showcase time:

Saturday 25th August: 3PM and 5PM
Sunday 26th August:3PM and 5PM    

Thursday, August 9, 2012

爆笑![laugh till i drop!]

hey, depeche mode fans, eat your heart out!
80s kids, have a roaring laughter! It is really, really rare that I laugh till I get tears in the corners of my eyes!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

音樂旅人[musical traveler]

music + travel = a wonderful synergy

now, let's take a break with our chinese oldies revival concerts and do something completely different and unconventional!

we have a good friend - a wildly talented writer-cum-photographer - who quit his cushy job to start this wonderful business called  "my road planner", some sort of "un-tourist malaysia" travel business that explores the under-reported places in malaysia. sounds unreal? yes, my friend, yen hau, believes that they are many wonderful places in malaysia beyond the KLCC petronas twin towers and pavillon shopping mall. he thinks it is far more "1-malaysia" to explore under-explored and under-appreciated places in malaysia and fall in love with this wonderful country. for starter, he would travel via coastal roads to many places in the east coast.

he started the business 3 months back and he already brought many tour groups to east coast with many happy customers and wonderful feedback. we were told that even some companies are interested to engage him for their annual company trips. the potential of this business is certainly untapped.

if you are interested to join his group, find his FB page "my road planner".

one day, we were talking about how we always travel with music in our minds. no matter what's the reasons for your travelling, there is bound to be some songs you would associate with. your reasons could be a simple getaway, love loss, heartbreak, sabbatical, stress from work, parental interference in your life, etc etc.... there is always a song for that trip.

so it gives birth to our idea to combine music with travel. postcards, scenic photos, great photography, love stories, touching narratives, lovely voices  .... these would be the ingredients for a great concert idea, wouldn't it?

and to top it all, we will make it a new year's eve concert, to usher in the new year on 31st december 2012, how about that?

there are many people who don't have programs on new year's eve and they don't like the typical boisterous new year countdown. yes, come to our concert and have a different start to 2013.

so, 31st dec 2012 will be, our "musical traveler" mini concert, again, at the wonderful bentley music auditorium! musicians and singers include 2v1g (winnie ho and jeffery lim), zyan the bossa princess and worm lee. of course, with roger wang in tow.

ticketing info to come soon!

this is malaysia: have you seen it?

this is malaysia: can you believe it?

Monday, August 6, 2012

影響我們最深刻的音樂 [music that influenced us in our formative years]

because of the music we produce, many people have certain expectations in our cd collections and the kind of music we listen to on a day by day basis. must be female vocals la, smooth jazz la, sentimental stuff and all. how wrong they were when they visit our home and check out our collections!

influenced by many Z-generations around us, we have started "listening to music" via youtube. not only in reminiscing music of our generation, but also to discover new music like jason m'raz and bruno mars . youtube is a superb new channel, albeit with compromised sound quality. hey, if it isn't in youtube, it is definitely not famous!

here's some of the music that influenced our formative years in music and shaped our tastes in music and far beyond.... fasten your seat belt,  you may be thrown way out of your seat! 

we won't explain on each act. suffice to say, if you don't know them, no amount of words are enough. they are all super cult acts and are listed in the hall of fame of alternative music.
1) new order "temptation"


2) teenage fanclub "the concept"

3)  the jesus and mary chain "psychocandy"

4) mazzy star "flowers in december"

5) joy division "love will tear us apart"

Saturday, August 4, 2012

好酷的迷你音響 [onkyo's cool mini hifi]

i have said it more than once: i have lost interest on big-ass hifi that occupies 1/3 of the house and consume so much of my undivided attention. instead, i am a sucker for tiny, minuet and classy mini-hifi that come in colors that can match my colorful lifestyle!

my fave shopping haunt for this kind of stuff is at ikano's harvey norman. within the sub-Rm1K price range, there are only yahama and onkyo to choose from, both i believe are made in malaysia, no less.

the yahama has macho looks and feel, but the sound is way too blur ("moong" in cantonese) and poorly defined. even a superbly pristine recording like 2v1g-1 does not sound good! the moment i put the disc into the bright-as-caribbean onkyo "colibrino" (even the name sounds sunny), i smiled and nodded. for less than RM2K, you can complain much la!

the onkyo is lightweight. the main amplifier/ receiver must be made form class D/T amp. but the workmanship is great, for a malaysian product. but the CD tray is a wee bit flimsy and plastick-y. the remote is a curse, very el-cheapo feel and pasar-road type. i will speak to hwee seng (onkyo's distributor in malaysia) one day and make hell of a noise! 

the sound is good, altho' lacking in almost every department compared with my over-performing and over-achieveing mini maggie costing close to RM6K. it lacks the many ounces of highs,  many ounces of midrange clarity and bass... but hey, this is only a RM1,700 mini hifi, great real, ok?

better still, onkyo can further be improved from some simple audiophile tweaks. first, place some acoustically treated rubber pad or cones (you can get from hifi shops) on the bottom of both the speakers and immediately, you can hear everything clearer and better defined.

second, get some audiophile-grade speaker cables to replace the flimsy stock "chicken" cables. i use wireworld 16-gauge which costs a measly Rm35 per meter. wow! the improvement is tremendous. all frequencies gained clarity, transparency, weight and definition. at least, 30% improvement, no exaggeration!         

i was thinking of other tweaks (like changing power cord!) but that would be way overkill for a tiny monster like this. let's just enjoy the music, shall we?

i thoroughly enjoy the music, much more than from the happily departed philips micro mini cube that i bought for Rm299 from harvey norman also. philips was small and cheerful music cube, onkyo is really hifi on a shoe string.

highly recommended. i may get another one, a maroon-colored one for my living hall!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

鈦孚公司邀歌 [taiwan's taifu audio group selects pop pop]

Taiwan's Biggest and Oldest Hi-Fi Dealer, Taifu Audio Group will be giving out a FREE compilation audiophile CD to those who buy the new Dynaudio "Xeo" wireless Speaker, and pop pop music has been proudly selected as one of the contributors to the CD!
Here's a commentary on Winnie HO's "A Thousand Words" by famous veteran Audiophile Dr. Cai. The highly authoritative and widely respected Dr. Cai is the choice person when it comes to audio commentary in almost every compilation CDs given out by Hi-Fi dealers or Hi-Fi show organizers.  


6. A Thousand Words:何芸妮:靡靡之音(PP2012001)

曾經發行過2V1G和JZ8等暢銷流行音樂專輯的馬來西亞 Pop Pop Musie唱片公司,2012年推出鄧麗君經典老歌的爵士新唱-何芸妮的靡靡之音。大馬新生代「華裔爵女」何芸妮有10多年演唱經驗,遊唱爵士與流行歌曲,即使經典老歌,仍有自己獨特斷句變形的演釋。「靡靡之音」收錄「南海姑娘」、「淚的小雨」、「風從哪裡來」、「我只在乎你」、「千言萬語」等歌曲,編曲從單獨鋼琴、吉他,到加入貝斯、薩克斯管、小號、弦群不等。何芸妮有它獨特嗓音與表情,在「千言萬語」,您的系統應當聽出吉他與人聲均位音場正中,兩者有不同的麥克風氣韻,近距拾音,分錄再混,吉他細節清澈,人聲稍帶回音。
 for the full commentary on the CD, please click here