Tuesday, October 30, 2012

youtube 達人開始啦![youtube sensation starts this week!]

Check out our Youtube sensation in our website as promised!

This week's Youtube Sensation is Alfred Sim from Singapore! Please click COMMENTARY to read our comments!

這個星期的 Youtube 達人就是新加坡的 Alfred 沈志豪! 請按 COMMENTARY 看看我們的評語!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

為何愛上她 [why we adore her voice]

Freya in year 2000, when she first released her debut album.

freya in 2012 after she got famous with the TV theme song 

what we want in a pop singer:

1) looks 2) looks 3) looks

what we want in an audiophile singer:
1) voice 2) voice 3) voice

of course, we are half-joking. but even a good voice means different things to different people. some want their singers to have thick midrange and bassy lows (like cai qin), some prefer to have wide vocal range (like adele), some want sweet-like-honey voices (like olivia ong and lily chen jie li)... so, you can't really generalize female vocals; it is simply too subjective.

but what do we like? ok, here's the 3-most-critical criteria in descending order of importance...of course, there are many other aspects but they are not as important.

1) a great and distinguished tone that separate her from many sound-alikes.

this is especially difficult to find in chinese singers cos most of them sound homogeneous and too similar. many people can't tell what is a good tone. these people need to drink red wine and single malt whisky to better appreciate female vocal tones. just kidding.

2) a balanced vocal range

she can sound velvety in highs, sweet and tender in the mids and has enough bass in the lows (does not need to be ample). she can be technically a soprano and still she has enough bass in her low registers. many singers have very good mids but not good highs, that's ok but without highs, it would limit them to certain songs only. on the other hard, if she doesn't have enough low registers, she would sound thin and piercing. all things being equal, midrange is still the most important range for an audiophile female singer.

3) superb techniques and emotional expressions

both of these criteria are of equal importance: emotions and techniques. you can't be perfect without having both of these, tho' you can have more in either one aspect.

the reality is you can hardly find many singers that fit these 3 criteria simultaneously. mind you, we are not at all impressed with those "iron lungs" female powerhouses whose voice could break the glass and scale multiple octaves.... we are talking about audiophiles voices, voices for the connoisseurs.

we think freya lin fan passes our exam books with flying colors. we think she has everything we wanna look for in a female audiophile voice. of course, you can argue you have better choices but we are fully entitled to our opinion, right?

of course, there won't be a slightest chance we could sign freya at this point in her career (she is enjoying her career height at the moment after being in obscurity for the past 10 years). we would wait until she is past 40, when the pop market does not need her, then we would fly to taiwan and offer her a contract!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

新加坡國際視聽器材展 [singapore international sight and sound exhibition 2013]

it is always a good thing to have competition. since MOD-DAC 2012 came along, the hifi exhibition scene in singapore is given a jolt, for the better.

the original show, ISSE, shows plenty of spirits in fighting back, with better A&P, richer programs and more promises of a better show.

what's evidently improved is the live performance department. winnie ho did malaysia proud by pulling a large crowd and boosting sell-out CDs in MOD-DAC three months ago. now, ISSE wants to better that by having more singers, better hall and even a live band! well, no one would complain, it is the audiophiles who benefit at the end!

Z Yan, our bossa princess, will be singing in next week's  ISSE, together with another princess, S2S music's protege, tay kewei, who is easily the most popular singer after olivia ong in singapore.

two pretty lasses singing in the same event, you bet it is gonna be plenty of eye-candy and competition for the fairest!

here's the show's info:

2012 International Sound & Sight Exhibition
Date: Fri 02 Nov 2012 to Sun 04 Nov 2012
Time: 11am - 7pm
Ticket: SGD15 for 1 day pass / SGD20 (2-Day pass)
Venue: Parkroyal on Kitchener Road.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

回味好音樂 [reminiscing good music]

another super full house!

for those who didn't go and those who want to know why listening to CD is not as gratifying as listening to live....

thanks hitto who tirelessly shot the whole mini showcase and put it on youtube!

click here

you can let it run song by song.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

江湖傳聞 [urban myth]

there is a urban myth in the audiophile circle: they say the HK pressing of  《2V1G》 has better sound quality than MY press. we were very very doubtful and yelled "how could that be?". but admittedly, yes, it is better in terms of transparency and tonality.

here comes the good news! we have just brought back 100 copies of HK pressing, just for our beloved supporters and fans.... these are the last 100 pieces from HK as we have stopped the license for HK.... do you want a copy? ACT FAST!!!

Special Price:RM50 please email your orders to lesloh@yahoo.com 

Hi-Fi 江湖又有一個傳聞:他們說香港版的《2V1G》比馬來西亞版的的靚聲。 我們說 “怎麼可能?” 但不得不承認 它的確靚聲:透明感, 音色都優越 蠻玄的事 那好消息來了:我們剛從香港運回 100 張給我們的粉絲們! 對,最後的 100 張!因爲我們已終止了香港的合約 你想擁有嗎?那就行動吧! 趕快聯繫我們 lesloh@yahoo.com!價錢:RM50

Thursday, October 18, 2012

良辰吉日 [auspicious day]

auspicious day: website officially launched! you can participate too! check it out, can you? click here

良辰吉日:官方網正式啟動!你還可以參與呢!進去看看, 好嗎?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

搖滾女王 [indie rock queen]

deserts zhang xuan's latest album

there are very few female singer-songwriters in the chinese music industry, there are even fewer who could rock and hold a cool-cat-i-don't-give-a-damn attitude.

whearas cheer chen is taking a break with her composing (and earning big money touring all over china and taiwan),  another indie queen has caught up and almost surpassing cheer chen in the cool factor.

deserts zhang xuan is no stranger to the indie loving crowd in taiwan. the fact that even an indie artiste can make it into major label and top the charts tells you that she is something else.

zhang is heavily influenced by western rock acts like nirvana but she cleverly tames down her music to attain a more commercial element. in fact, the greatest thing about zhang's music is the psychedelic factor, the atmospheric aura that is so enchanting to music lovers like us. her music, especially her ballads, is dreamy and spacey, yet it is so melodious and romantic in her own unique ways.

like cheer her, her lyrics are something to cherish too. while cheer chen's lyrics are poetic and aesthetically beautiful , zhang's lyrics are philosophical and thought-provoking, giving plenty of depth of the music.

"game we play" is her 4th album, is the most accessible one since her debut album. all the previous albums contain certain level of rock elements but this one strikes the right balance between rock and ballads.

the album's arrangement and instrumentation are great too, showing that zhang's employed some great musicians in her team. interesting to note that malaysian drummer john thomas is enlisted to play the drums in the album and the drum parts were record in our fave studio, the ark studios in taman tun dr. ismail.  john's drum work is evidently throughout, giving a strong rhythmic foundation to many of the tracks.

this album is the culmination of zhang's talents. it is the most mature work to-date for zhang.

we love it but it won't do well in pop-infested malaysia. by and large, malaysian chinese music lovers have not reached this level of appreciation and depth yet.           

Friday, October 12, 2012

愛的根源 [a return to her roots]

in malaysia, it is not easy being a local artiste, it is even harder to be a non-mainstream, non-pop artiste.

the very first time we spotted winnie ho in 2000, we were so focused on her talents, and nothing else.

her journey with us since 2v1g-1 has not been an easy one. the media, the music industry people, the music critics, the peers... have not been the most supportive, they are just puzzled how we can survive album after album singing mostly cover versions... like it or not, besides our loyal supporters, the detractors are also the reasons that spurred ourselves to move forward and do better and better.

the success of "the jazzy sounds" album has catapulted winnie to another level, judging from the recognition and opportunities a-knocking on our doors.   

we have every reason to celebrate winnie's rising status as the most exciting chinese jazz songbird in malaysia. she herself, too, is eager to share with her old and new fans alike, how she first started in her musical journey.

next thursday's showcase, aptly called "winnie ho reminisces" is a chance for music lovers to share some of her early work, before she became widely  known as "the young singer who boldly interprets teresa teng".

the three major milestone albums in her career are the debut EP "WHo" (play of words, also short for Winnie Ho), produced by 98.8 celebrity DJ piao ming. it is a fabulous collections (5 songs) of local compositions released before winnie went to pursue her studies in UK in 2005. the limited-edition EP (only 1,000 copies) received positive feedback from many quarters, and now it is a collector's item for many, because you can no longer get it!

the other two albums, are of course, 2v1g-1 & 2v1g-2, which need no further elaboration. as good as 2v1g are in terms of sales and fantastic feedback from the audiophile community, the general public and the media did not quite embrace or acknowledge it whole-heartedly, until her latest album of teresa teng cover,  then all of a sudden, they woke up to winnie ho's calling.

we don't like looking back but sometimes, only by looking back, you appreciate where you are today. proving others wrong is not good enough, proving yourself right is so much more gratifying.

so, come along, join the other 200 people (mind you, 200 paying customers) at the venue next thursday night (18th october), pavilion for a night of great, great music. we are known for being "under-exposed" in the live circuit (unless we have major ticketed concerts), so every opportunity to watch winnie and tay cher siang is a precious one.

seriously, there are not many ways you can spend RM50 satisfyingly nowadays!   
booking and reservation: 012-2083790.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

一流視和聽覺的享受 [a wonderful visual and aural feast]

we watched this for the 2nd time before we write a more in-depth review.

being in the concert business, we know how difficult and expensive it is to shoot a good video, regardless of whether it is in HD or whatever format. first, you must consider how many cameras you need (the more you use, the more cost incurred of course), then the lighting (expensive) and then the audio aspects: how do you capture the sound in the most high-fidelity ways. (you play with most concert DVDs audio selection, you will know how many formats there are) 

we are doubtful that in malaysia, we have such hardware and skills yet. HK and China are way ahead of us in this area, not to mention the west.

watching "Jane Z live" confirms that china does have such skills, eventho' some of the production crew are from taiwan, like music director jim lee, our most admired producer from taiwan and arranger liu zhi yuan, who did a stunning job on the music arrangement.

the visual aspects of this concert is 100 marks on our score card. the triangular-shaped stage, eventho' is not big, looks great for concert of this scale. the lighting is superb too, definitely handled by someone who is artistic and skillful. trust us, lighting is a very specialized skill/profession, it is not easy to get it right. it is just about teamwork, where specialists of different skillets come together and create an ambience that makes the audience feel good in indulging in the live experience.

before we come to assess jane' singing, we must say the arrangements of the songs are great and the ensemble of musicians, mostly gwailos, also played tightly. they must have practiced hard, for there's nary a mistake or boring moments. it is polished and musical all the way.

now, jane zhang, what a voice! first, we are surprised that a china singer is so westernized in her delivery, something like an oriental mariah carey. jane scales effortlessly and her vocal range is wide. her tone is great too. but the most enticing thing to us is her sensuous movement and sexy body gestures/language. eventho' she is no beauty but with a lithe figure and all the right curves, she is a joy to look at. her gesturing is fabulous for a singer of only 27 year-old. can't imagine how far she would go in another 10 years.

but one thing, and a very minor thing to nit-pick. she tends to attack every song with just one approach, lacking the variety and dimensionality of other world-class songstresses. this, can get a bit mundane, after 4-5 songs. initially, you would uuuh and ahhh at her supreme technique and mastery on vocals but after a while you would ask yourself: "why she sings every song the same manner?"!. maybe it is not fair to judge a 27 year-old at the highest level. we have watched eason chan and and see the way he tells stories using his voice, different story for different song. given time, we are sure that jane zhang would learn how to tell stories using her voice.  

all said, this is a reference level DVD, worthy of colletor's item status. we highly recommend it. we also think if jane zhang is given better songs (no more compositions from china), she would break into the other parts of the world in the near future, given her immense talent.

we think the utmost credit must go the jim lee, the producer, who has never failed us before. he has done fantastic works with eason chan and wang lee hom and he continues his mastery with jane zhang.

don't hesitate, go for it!  

示範級的音樂錄影。 拍攝, 影像, 音效, 舞台, 燈光, 編曲, 樂手的表現, 到歌手的表現都是一流的。張靚穎歌藝超群,音色無以倫比。唯一要的挑的,就是她的演繹很單一, 情感釋放也很單一。英文是 one-dimension。除此之外, 你沒有理由不收集這張 DVD!~

Monday, October 8, 2012

再見女孩 [goodbye girl]

would you despise a cover version if it can be this good? david gates' version is already so good, rumer gives another twist to it, sounding totally refreshing and nice!

we would soon be writing a review on rumer's two incredible albums!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

改變世界的歌 [music that changed the world]

Time Out KL team chose the 100 greatest popular songs since the '60s. 

click http://www.timeoutkl.com/music/100bestsongs2012

music that changed the world, tracks that made you dance, songs that you know every word to.

how many of these do you agree or disagree?

love it or hate it – join the debate!