2008年1月31日 Female Vocalist of the Year!
Hu Yang Lin needs no introduction for anyone who has already heard her nominated hit 'Xiang Shui yao du' (The perfume is poisoned). There are at least two versions here, although both are distinctly different. This album contains the original versions before her single catapulted her into the limelight. Her voice is the most stunning female voice to come out from the mainland in years. A near perfect album, let down by the terrible English track 'When I see you smile'. Yang Lin's emphasis on modern Mandarin music redeems her, although that track is near embarrassing, as she sings: 'When I see you smell'. The DVDs are also stunning and really present Yang Lin's feminine beauty in both visual and acoustic form.
A perfect album and very strong first album - buy it before it becomes a collectors item. Don't stop there either - her new album 'Our story' is already out on the mainland and is already a contender for album of the year. Perfect for its sparse and classical acoustic arrangements with enough blast to keep every pop fan enthralled, her emotionally sensuous vocals remain the supernova in this surprisingly tempestuous storm in gentle music. Truly elevating pop music beyond its limited territory. A+++
2007年12月27日 Excellent concept album
This cd is more of a concept album, which is fascinating. Kris has also been on mainland chinese t.v. last month, talking about his life and music. It's great piecing together some of his personality with his music, however I wouldn't go all wet about it like some of the previous reviewers who seem to get side-tracked and go for album cover looks rather than the music.
So what of the music? Kris' sings perfectly, hitting all the right notes in this album. It's a decidedly pop album with standard instrumentation and a drum machine, however nothing original in terms of instrumentation. It doesn't quite fit the modern classic genre and still seems to straddle 'adult orientated pop'. For its genre, the music is excellent although emotionally at the end of the album, I'm still trying to remember the melodies of the tracks. At times Kris seems to try too hard when singing - far from singing effortlessly, he invests emotion in each word in a formal and western school manner.
This is interesting although the natural flavour of his voice becomes a little diluted by his training. Perhaps that's picking at details for this is still one luscious album approaching classic status.
愛過你 (CD + Bonus CD)2007年12月27日 Classic!
It's great to see this reissue of this Kris Phillips classic. For newcomers, Kris is a Hawaii-Taiwanese dual national best known (but probably not loved) for his broadway music. 'Ai Guo Ni' (Used to love you) is neither broadway nor his first venture into pop music. For years, Kris did the pop music scene wearing incredibly garish shirts and trying the dandy man around town scene.
This album is more melodic and classic in structure than 'Wildflower', his later follow-up which seems to have lost its direction somewhat. 'Ai Guo Ni' is the perfect lament for a love song and Kris' vocals are eminently masculine and well-suited to the task. His handsome tenor is unusual for its distinctively western style of singing. You can almost hear his American accent on his Mandarin, which is a bit of a quirk although the album is consistently solid and beautiful even after all these years.
A classic album for your collection - if you're short in truly great male vocal artists, and no, Jay Chou and Hacken Lee don't count - neither can sing to save their socks. Kris Phillips is a great place to start and sings like only real men can.
2007年12月27日 L.A.N.D.Y. ? Oh Please.
It's interesting hearing both sides of the cds separately. What's striking about the first cd is its near perfect compilation of slower moving tracks, along with Landy's classic 'Bei Dou Shing' (Northern Star) which is one of the most unforgettably perfectly sung pop songs ever produced. Landy's deep raspy voice laces her lyrics with a sultry sexiness and had the whole album been only one disc instead of two discs, the album would still have been a perfect cd and introduction to Landy's music.
The second disc is another matter. It contains some of the most dated and embarrassing hip-hop attempts at 'music' along with some rather indulgent "Let me introduce you to Landy - the sexiest, the most wonderful, the most eeeeeukkkk!" rapping ever to come out of a speaker. To be fair, Jason of Iron Bamboo does an interesting rap for anyone into that kind of music. But overall, the second disc is a perfect coaster for a hot mug of chocolate as you sit back and enjoy the masterpiece in disc 1.
Let's hope Landy doesn't abandon everything that made her music endure in these classics by heading down the dumb-down disco scene.
2007年12月27日 Chillingly gorgeous
I first discovered Xiao Lin through her modern jazz music (Goodbye My Darling) and was pleasantly stunned to hear Xiao Lin create beautiful and original music with a stellar cast. The instrumentation is sparse and ethereal, rendering a degree of transparent beauty in Xiao Lin's songs. Her voice simply radiates with a soprano love more beautiful than the heart can bear without ever melting into soppy overdone sentiment.
Utterly peerless in its artistry, reducing even Teresa Teng to the same ranks as the Spice Girls.
禧樂 (LPCD 45) (中國版)2007年12月27日 Sublime perfection
Xiao Lin's voice is the most haunting and spine-chilling delight I have come across. It's a delight to find this album in my Christmas stocking and hear the stark contrast of Xiao Lin's gorgeous soprano covering traditional chinese folk songs with a contemporary edge. Most of the songs are familiar however Xiao Lin's intepretation are so astoundingly fresh with the amazing clarity of Hugo's LP45 production, this album is a sheer audiophile's delight.
Such a perfect present all year round - listening to Xiao Lin's voice, I'm reminded what it is like to be excited by music again.
One of the best modern classics out there. A++++
Another delightful album by Li Shuo, this time with more melodic and upbeat arrangements. The mood of the album has shifted from the classicism of her earlier and later albums to a more contemporary feel, making it more accessible for the pop market.
Utterly delightful and still garners happy play on my cd player a year later.
As a follow-up to Faith's 2001 album, I was really looking forward to this album. Faith has a distinctive and penetrating voice which stands her head and shoulders above the crowd of soppy teenage waif singers out in the market and her status as MTV darling has also graced the alternative charts.
The album itself seems to lack continuity, strung along by Faith's voice, the only redeeming factor. From the opening track, the album sounds promising, however as the lyrics descend into wishy-washy derivative phrases and the melodic structures disintegrate into repetitive nursery rhyme hooks, by the time Faith throws in an English sung track I just about had it with this album. Never mind the hidden track which extends the cd's play time (falsely) to over 50 minutes - the reprise of the initial track is interesting as an out take but nothing staggering.
At the end of listening to this album, the songs are completely unmemmorable. Only Faiths' voice remains.
As a fan and listener of all of Faith's music, this album is exceptionally frustrating and depressing waiting for Faith to produce that perfect album as well as failing to continue the promise offered by her past few albums. Gone is her alternative edge and the commercialise simple F sharp major tracks really betray her failure to develop as a songwriter.
Having said that, Continuation is still far more interesting as an album than the majority of Taiwanese pop albums out there.
永遠是你的朋友 (環球復黑王)2007年12月23日 Still a favourite....
After all this time, this is the Priscilla album I keep returning to.
Sadly only available in the box collection now, this one has its timeless qualities from the opening finger plucked guitar track which builds to a huge crescendo of instruments and chorus to all of the zappy poppy classics of the 1990's era.
It sounds dated, although happily dated and bringing to the fore, Priscilla's delightful voice in its maturity without the confusion of drum-machine-cymbals and gongs in pseudo-funks like her other albums.
A good place to start with this iconically small and well-loved Hong Kong singer.
2007年12月23日 2 years later...
I rarely return to reviews, however 2 years later, this compilation of Mandarin CDs is still at the top of the pile.
It's been an amazing introduction to some great singers and more favourite singers found on the compilation tracks.
Just wanted to add another vote for this one standing the test of time.
It seems unfair to mention Tsai Chin and Hacken Lee in the same sentence - Hacken Lee just can't sing, and minds fall apart at the grace of Tsai Chin's amazing depth and richness to her tenor, such that Hacken's falsetto sounds more like a castrato.
Nevertheless, the title is also very peculiar and more off-putting for anyone dipping into Tsai Chin for the first time. There is no thundering of handclaps and coughing, sneezing and other bronchial ailments sounding out in this recording. The recording is more of a live recording, rather than a 'concert recording'. Perhaps that's just a transliteration issue.
What of the music? Indispensible Tsai Chin with her golden voice turning every note into the resonance of paradise throughout the whole album.
2007年12月23日 Superlative Tsai Chin A++
In a way, all of the in between albums after Tsai Chin's [Choi Kam for you Cantonese speakers] 1985 epic classic of 'Old Songs' have never lived up to the same direction until his new collection of folk songs. The in between albums...are wonderful contemporary albums in their own right, however already sound dated.
Here, Tsai Chin's voice is as deep and tenor as her classic of over 25 years ago. It's amazing how little age her voice shows. The folk songs are more akin to 'popular classic'' songs known to Mandarin folk, rather than country-hill-billy songs of the ol' wild' east. It's surprising to hear old favourites (such as Samantha Lam's older cover of one track) being reinterpreted by a female tenor.
A classic album marked by Tsai Chin's superlative voice.
2007年12月22日 It's CANTONESE! Not Mandarin
Li Shuo's ethereal lute voice is utterly amazing. One of the most crystalline yet full-bodied porcelain female voices on the classical contemporary music scene, it' no surprise to find Li Shuo on 'Perfect Music''s audiophile label.
This album is a complete gem. Except that it is a mere Cantonese re-release of the same album in Mandarin (except with a different digitised and commercial cover, instead of the original classy looking Tang Dynasty dress and hairlines of the Mandarin release).
What truly makes this album ride is that Li Shuo sings Cantonese as beautifully as the ears can every imagine. Gone with the gutteral ugliness of the cantonese intonation, Li Shuo's vocal render these Cantonese tracks as sexy as the originals.
And that's saying something. A+++
This isn't an easy middle of the road film, in fact, middle of the road is uncharacteristic for Sun Zhou so it isn't going to be a mainstream success either. For any Gong Li fans, this film will probably be all the more disappointing as Gong Li's sensuality lies in her acting rather than mere superficial beauty (wake up guys!) as her appearance is strikingly low-key and average compared to her other roles in films in which her sumptuous beauty only arouses further the penetration of the senses into the personae of her characters.
The first time I watched this film it sent me to sleep. A year later, I've realised why. The English subtitles are very weak and miss the beautifully poetic transformations of phrases which echo throughout the film's modern hand-held sequences and stark use of cold tungsten lighting for an atmosphere of desolation. The filming also deliberately derives a slice of everyday life across a cross-section of China, from rural to city dwellings, connected by trains with a simple almost documentary like feel without ornate and grandiose adornment.
This is probably why it's so easy to fall asleep and miss the subtle and powerful force of the lovers passion. It doesn't help that the English subtitles become so diluted in builders' English that it does no justice to the Mandarin.
Yet once those barriers are surmounted, there's a film noir masterpiece under the covers. Not for the uninitiated nor for those looking for a soppy romance. Really deserves better subtitling for the future.
紅高梁 (DVD) (中英文字幕) (中國版)2006年12月3日 Superlative film A++++
Definitely one of the top 10 movies ever seen - Red Sorghum has become an utter classic defining the best of Zhang Yi Mou and also casting Gong Li's rapturous performance as the face of chinese art cinema.
Sadly the quality of the DVD is no better than the then available VCD version which itself is no easy task to find. It's a welcome release although more care in transfer would have helped.
A splendid re-release all the same - anyone who has never seen this should get it now.
2006年12月3日 Splendid mezzo-soprano
Elaine's voice is as beautiful as a warbler's love song and graces the ethnic folk instrumentation of the Russian group like a match made in heaven. The balalaika sequencing is superb without being overdone and the album flows gracefully from start to finish transporting the listener to an ethereal dimension of the aural experience. Painstakingly beautiful and very mature and sophisticated album. Seeing Elaine's concert work gain her more success as 'world music' is a great move for audiophile music like this.
2006年12月2日 Spineless commercial sequel
The Shanghai Divas Volume 1 is a masterpiece of post-modern dance music which still amazes new listeners, from East and West alike.
Like the previous reviewer, this follow-up has been highly anticipated based on the merits of the first volume. Ian Widgery's handsome flourishes on quinessentially 'vocal songs' have vanished: instead, it's a complete disappointment wading from track to track of constipated synthesisers trying for a motion only to sound derivative, overused and decadent. Disc 1 of Volume 2 (two cds) is filled with 'vocal sampling' to the back beat of out of tune rap, modern filler music without any consistency. The melodic music of the 1930's is completely fractured and the whole album is little more than a complete mess of ill fitting samples, dubs and amateur scratching. At the end of several listens, the music is completely unmemorable. The sinking achievement is the total rape and pillage of Lee Xiang Lan's "Three Years": Xiang Lan's vocals are truncated and repeated, dissected and mutilated to a funereal effect by slowing down her vocals. Truly awful.
EMI did well to recruit Widgery to commemorate their anniversary, however this volume will do more to dissuade listeners to Shanghai music.
There are few merits to this album: the second disc of the original 1930's recordings is adequately recorded and makes up for the dire sonic catastrophe of CD no.1 in the twin set, however those tracks alone can be found in EMI's Pathe collection according to each singers' name.
Major disappointment - stick with Volume 1 of the Shanghai Divas. This release is clearly a commercial bandwagon venture riding the wave of early success.
2006年12月1日 Another beautiful album by Sam
After Samantha's engaging and delightful release coordinated by Chris, it's delightful to discover Samantha's newest album has forged down the path of slower tempo music, releasing the beautiful birdsong in her voice. The acoustic instrumentation works beautifully with Samantha, and at times, the listener has to wonder wistfully why Samantha has yet to produce a completely consistent album in just one language. Since her return, Samantha has been singling both Mandarin, Cantonese and English in her albums, perhaps a commercial move designed to appeal to the widest possible market. Singing in Mandarin, her voice is angelically sweet and evokes memories of classic Mandarin singers. It would be delightful to hear Samantha produce a classic album instead of leaning half-way back in the 80's where her pop roots were forged.
Still, an indispensible album with enough kudos to recommend to Cantonese and Mandarin listeners yearning for more classic and enduring music than the sugar pop of the contemporary crop.
2006年12月1日 Essential album listening
Huang Hong Ying (Please Yesasia - would you kindly spell her name correctly so that listeners can find her music) sings timeless 'Hakka' mountain folk songs (and not 'Kakka'). The 'Kei-jia' dialect has never been sung so beautifully - Hong Ying's sensuous tongue swirls around Kei-jia words your mother might have used, with an elegance overwhelming enough to marry you to her music and your mother.
Truly stunning in her artistic endeavour to preserve and popularise the Kei-jia heritage, this album is consistent as the complete oeuvre of Hong Ying's output despite the label switch. Hong Yin reports in her cd autobiography how she has collected and compiled the music of South East Asia and now brought this collection essentially as a native: her music is sung with Kei-jia authenticity and sonorously fills the listener with a delicate surprise over the sheer sexy nature of the Kei jia language, hitherto unheard of.
The albums' only reservation lies in a few tracks with heavy vocal orchestrations; by far the most spine-tingling tracks rely on Hong Ying's voice backed by sparse traditional instruments (pippa, erhu and yuehu).
2006年12月1日 Best Mandarin Album of 2003!
This gem of an album flows with purity and beauty - it's a shame Yesasia still persist in spelling her name incorrectly according to the Pin Yin transliteration (Huang Hong Ying).
The first lady of contemporary haunting forest and woodland music produces a superb stream-slipped album filled with crystalline vocals velveled in silky sheened acoustics without any oriental mandarin gloss familiar to chic-bin pop albums. An album to stand the test of time, love and pain melt viscerally in Hong Ying's voice to move the listener into an emotional ecstasy into a metaphysical depth beyond unrequited love. Her effortlessly elegant vocal composure and the superb use of session musics render this album one of the most underrated cult audiophile releases of 2003.
Definitely requires a quality hi-fi system to bring out the beauty.
Will appeal to: modern young 20's -30's yuppies; their mothers, fathers, as well as their children.