Saturday, June 30, 2007


photo credit: kid ampersand

Piana recently released a new album after 1 & 1/2 years called "Eternal Castle." Although I would've liked to hear more on the album (there are only really 8 songs), I love it nonetheless. As many of you probably already knew, Piana is an internationally known Japanese electronic/acoustic pop artist. I went to see her concert last summer in Hong Kong, and it was one of the best things I've experienced - it was just Piana, Datsuko Hatano on the violin, and Piana's laptop. And her music was so...calming and beautiful sit in a dreamy trance. What I enjoy most about Piana music is that she uses light electronics mixed with violin, piano, cello, and a bit of organ and, then, adds on her calm, almost kiddish voice to create a sort of simple, perfect harmony. Her songs are good for lying on the grass (or beach haha) in the summer and daydreaming about our pasts & future. She's beyond awesome.

Sample Song: Beyond the Season

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ming Ming - A Cinematic Soundscape

I'm a huge fan of soundtracks. For some reason, I'm drawn to how instrumentals not only create the mood & (most of the times) make films even more of an enjoyable experience, they're (the good ones I mean :P) also great to listen to even if one hasn't seen the movie yet. It's also interesting that soundtrack instrumentals usually aren't classified as say, classical, or new age, they're a genre of their own.

I listen to lots of soundtracks, nowadays, mostly Asian soundtracks. I guess I'm more drawn to Japanese & Korean soundtracks, probably because I enjoy Japanese & Korean films/dramas tremendously. I know I know, I'm Chinese, it's ironic that I don't watch as many Chinese/HK/Taiwan idol dramas haha. Well, no offense...but they're just too generic *_^ Even the music!

That's why I was super, super delightfully surprised when I finally listened to the Ming Ming soundtrack (a new Hong Kong film starring Zhou Xun and the yummy Daniel Wu). Well, to put it short, let's say it's almost a People Mountain People Sea (HK alternative label) artist compilation album: fully equipped with my favorites: Pixeltoy, at17, Material Girls, Arumimihifumi, gayamyan, and even a track from Fu Lu Shou's (Mavis Fan's side project that I mentioned awhile ago) album. Since I haven't heard of new songs from Pixeltoy (a lovely HK electronic duo) for awhile now, hearing their new song "Write a Poem" made me very, very happy. And even though most of the other vocal songs on this soundtrack was featured in each artist's previous albums, it was still nice to kind of "hear back" from them again *_^ (err yeah I have too many music to listen too...) It was also amazing that all these songs fit together with the overall mood & the instrumental tracks of this soundtrack. I can't wait to see the movie. Lastly, a lot of these songs are "Mandarin" versions of originally Cantonese songs. Nothing against Cantonese, but since I speak mandarin...yay ^_^

Overall, when do we ever see a big budget Chinese film's soundtrack produced by an indie label??!! Well, I guess since Zhou Xun (the versatile Chinese actress & singer) is in this movie, there is indeed hope :o) (ok ok the director Susie Au played a big part in deciding the music too hehe)

Photo credit: yangon

Whooppee!!! Finally something from Pixeltoy, one of my favorite HK artists/duos. A little bit mellower & slower than their usual upbeat electronic songs, this is nice & relaxing. Fits with the whole mood of the soundtrack.

Sample Song: Pixeltoy - 写一首诗 (Write a Poem)

Photo Credit: ah-block ®

Originally featured in their "Bian Bian Bian (Change Change Change)" album, this is an acoustic + mandarin version of their song "After 3 minutes (三分钟后)". Simple, soft, and nice.

Sample Song: at17 - 请你不要睡好吗? (Please Don't Fall Asleep)

Arumimihifumi, another local HK indie artist, is just too cute for words xD I absolutely love her mix of bossa, piano, silly lyrics and a kiddish, cute voice. This song was originally from her Thundering Queen album.

Sample Song: Arumimihifumi - 黑衣人 (Black Coat Guy)

Material Girls is Sandee Chen's (Taiwan) project with a People Mountain People Sea artist - Veronica Lee (HK). Their debut (and so far only) album is filled with electronic songs mixed with various elements such as rock, dance, disco, bossa, etc. that got them the best group awards at Taiwan's 17th annual Golden Records Awards. This is not my favorite song on the album (considering that each song on the album are in ways quite different), but again, it fits into the overall mood of the soundtrack quite well - all thanks to music director Anthony Wong & Veronica Lee. ^_^

Sample Song: Material Girls - 蝶恋花 (Butterfly Loves Flowers)