Loads of Free music from the Beijing Scene

I’ve mentioned Beijing Daze quite a few times on here recently and for cause: It’s keeping me busy and distracted but it’s also giving me the opportunity to somewhat get back into the music scene after a long time of absence.

Over the past year, it’s give me the motivation to get away from “expat” Beijing and rediscover parts of the city that i had ignored in favor of the general bar scenes. I’ve also managed to get to know quite a few amazing/great persons hanging out til the wee hours of the morning talking music.

Meeting these musicians comes with benefits, one of which being the ability to secure a shitload of songs that i can share with my readers with absolutely no strings attached. so if you care about live music or want to hear some of what’s brewing in the Beijing music scene, head on over to http://beijingdaze.com/category/freeloading/ and get yourself those mp3 while they’re still up.

there’s rock, bluegrass, country, reggae, etc…. the list goes on with more goodies on the way!! merry christmas!

Like Water on Sand: a musical journey through my life

A good friend of mine suggested a few weeks back that a few of us get together and do an old fashioned music swap. It would be a great opportunity to bring together a dozen people around the globe and discover new exciting music ( or remember why we’re not listening to a particular artist/type)

The rules were simple, pick at the most 25 songs that represent your journey through life!

yeah, simple my ass!!! How am i supposed to sift through an entire itunes catalog with songs in over 10 languages and decide on the 25 that changed my life or represented milestones? tricky tricky!

The first go netted a little over 100 songs. Thing is, these were 100 songs that i love, not songs that meant something in particular. That wasn’t gonna cut it! I deleted that playlist and started over with a new criteria: The song had to bring back a memory, good or bad! This process netted about 45 songs that I managed to work down to 25 but it wasn’t easy! The result actually surprised me… certain names are on there while others i expected to make the cut were nowhere near!

Here is what came out:

The front cover is a picture i took a few week ago at the Black Sand Beach in Langkawi, Malaysia. I couldn’t get it out of my head for a while and kept drifting back to it whenever i thought about a cover for this mix. At first, I couldn’t think of a way to connect the water, sand, music and all. Of course, I could just put it all together just like that but I wanted the whole thing to flow. One late night sipping rum, I got the right inspiration and that’s what came out of it. I absorb music the way sand absorbs water… it comes in and becomes part of who/what I am.

The back cover is a bit of funky idea on its own, I d be curious to see if anyone figures it out

Confucius : The movie no one wants?

I had a little chance to catch Confucius (孔子) yesterday at the Megabox in Sanlitun and while i did not necessarily come out of it a better man (maybe the whole patience angle), it was better than expected!

Of course, most people are aware of the controversial decision to pull avatar out or the 2D screen in favor of the local production but more importantly, said local production has been slaughtered by foreigners and locals alike. I heard so much criticism of the movie that made it sound like one of the worst cinematographic products of recent memory.

The prominent Chinese blogger, Han Han (as translated by chinasmack) wrote that :

Finally, I want to say that the movie Confucius, whether it is from the perspective of cinematographic meaning, business profits, artistic merit, what it explores, its educational qualities, its historical accuracy, its entertainment value, its emotional resonance, etc., is completely unnecessary. It is a film that could be completely done without.

what? I mean come on, give me a break! I’ve seen plenty of movies in and out of China but I’m not going into that right now.

Maybe it was a byproduct of my low expectations but I can’t say I didn’t like the movie, at least from my limited perspective as a foreigner. I really wished I could actually follow the whole thing without needed the subtitles as there were times when I caught myself concentrating too much on what was written and forgetting the picture.

so, a few notes:

  • I liked that they showed more than just the philosophical side of Confucius. I’m not sure he waged war with such ability but but it was good to see that aspect of his life/personality emphasized. One could even argue it was too much of an emphasis
  • Too much politics, not enough philosophy. Then again, that is in many cases representative of the real situation in China even nowdays.
  • G.O.L.F: Gentlemen only, ladies forbidden! The one somewhat meaningful female part was more or less meaningless. The empress is assassinated without explanation as to who or why.
  • The was a sense of rushing through the story without tying loose ends… a cinematographic equivalent of the Chinese “deng deng deng” or etc..
  • Chow Yun-fat did a decent job with the acting.. I honestly like the guy much more so than I like Jackie Chan.
  • I don’t see what the fuss is all about either way
  • The movie will get a decent reaction from overseas markets. They’r hungry for anything China and Confucius could use some PR. It’s also nice for the general mass populi to get a bit of education and have their stereotypes replaced by others that are closer to reality but nevertheless stereotypes.

what did you think?

music and music then more music

I’m really in the middle of a musical revival!

Over the past few months, I have managed to get back in touch with live performances to the point where I now make it to 3 or 4 shows a week all around Beijing. Most of these escapades are well documented on my other blog Beijing Daze and i highly encourage you to read them and learn about some exciting bands in China.. both Chinese and Foreigners.

Some recommendations I can throw out there are ZIYO, XTX, The Redbucks, Girls are waiting to meet you and RandomK(e) so google them and appreciate. I’m gonna work on a cross post soon with links to free downloads from a lot of these bands so that people become familiar with at least one of two of their songs.

A side effect of this particular development is that I’m also back to writing songs which i have not done in years!!! I used to argue that people only write when they’re unhappy but I find myself changing that tune. I’m as happy as they get at this point in time but nevertheless, I feel like writing so in that respect, I guess I’m writing because i feel the need to write!

I wish i could say the same for instruments 🙁 my poor guitars are gathering dust and have been largely untouched over the past few months since i stopped going to open mike night at Tun but soon enough i hope.. soon enough

MJ: This is it

We’ve come a long way living in China compared to 6 years ago when i first landed over here. I was lucky enough to be part of the Michael Jackson: THIS IS IT premiere in Beijing at midnight on Oct 28th, a full 12 hours before its first showing in USAnia.. my oh my…
I’ve been an MJ fan for as long as I can remember and make no apologies for it! I am one of the few folks I know of that consider HIStory a good record and proudly jumps up and down like a teenage girl when his songs come on. That said, I did lose touch with the artist and didn’t enjoy Invincible much. I didn’t appreciate the new direction he was taking with so many guest writers, collaborators when he had more talent in one of his fingernails than all of them combined.

THIS IS IT reinforced those feelings and much more! MJ was going full steam ahead, dancing with unrivaled grace and taking ownership of the whole show process. His involvement as far as each and every single aspect of the choreography, the musical arrangements and the way he interacted with his band members and dancers showed the genius at work!

It’s a side of MJ that often got lost behind the constant focus on his entertaining skills and his non-music related problems and that is a shame! If nothing else, this movie/documentary shines a light on those sides of a man often misjudged and misunderstood.

Definitely recommended!