latest full-length release finds the Taiwan-based producer back in the sonic
terrain he first explored on “Made In Taiwan” (2004), and delved deeper into on
“Chill Dynasty” (2006), the free “Asian Variations” (2007) remix album, and the
“Stone Bell” EP (2008). He has since perfected his unique marriage of laid-back
beats and cutting edge electronica with traditional Chinese instruments and
found-sounds gathered in his Oriental environment. “Further East” provides
abundant evidence that the South African expatriate sound jeweler is now
completely at home both in Asia and in his distinct sound, by turn hypnotic and
dreamy, whimsical with a touch of melancholy, playful and uplifting, and always
discerning listeners may be be wondering what it is that makes this album
unique, what sets this offering apart from what's come before – in short,
what's new? In the case of “Further East”, the opposite question gets one far
closer to a satisfactory answer.
old? For starters, there's the gem of a recording that forms the backbone of
“Weeping Willow” (track 9) captured on an Edison cylinder in 1902. Though the
recording medium shows its age, the singer's voice still rings true over the
108 years that separate us from her, filling us with an inexplicable longing
undiminished by time. And that's barely scratching the surface in terms of age,
for the true crown jewels of “Further East” are far older still.
the lyrical content found on the album are public domain recordings of poetry
from the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD). Speaking to us as they have done
to countless scholars over the course of more than a millennium are the voices
of the masters Li Bai, Du Fu, Li Qi and Chang Jian. First, discard any notion
you may have of medieval poetry in the European tradition. These are not heroic
epic poems or tragic legends declaimed pompously to a crowd. The truth is
noting short of revelation, for here we have one soul speaking to another,
describing the minutiae of everyday life, making small observations that are
dropped like stones in the lake of time with the ripples reaching us on the far
shore. And so they have become immortal in their clarity and beauty.
Li Qi describes a lute performance on the album opener “Ego & I”.
the lute plays The Green Water, and then The Queen of Chu.
it has begun to play, there is no other sound:
spell is on the banquet, while the stars grow thin....
are hints of the epic on “Further East”, an overriding sense of the intimacy of
the poetry permeates the album. It may be too much to hope that the music will
display the astounding longevity of its literary inspiration, but here too we
have one soul speaking directly to another... listen!
are translations of the poetry on the album. Interested listeners are
encouraged to explore the collection of public domain recordings entitled
“Three Hundred Tang Poems” on LibriVox.org:
host, providing abundant wine to make the night mellow,
his guest from Yangzhou to play for us on the lute.
the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying,
is on ten thousand trees, and the wind blows through our clothes;
copper stove has added its light to that of flowery candles,
lute plays The Green Water, and then The Queen of Chu.
has begun to play, there is no other sound:
is on the banquet, while the stars grow thin....
three hundred miles from here, in Huai, official duties await him,
it's farewell, and the road again, under cloudy mountains.
Drinking Alone with the Moon (Li Bai 701 – 762)
by: Li Su-hsiang (Taiwanese)
pot of wine among the flowers
alone. There was no one with me –
raising my cup, I asked the bright moon
bring me my shadow and make us three.
the moon was unable to drink
shadow tagged me vacantly;
still for a while I had these friends
cheer me through the end of spring....
The moon encouraged me.
danced. My shadow tumbled after.
as I knew, we were born companions.
then I was drunk, and we lost one another.
goodwill ever be secure?
the long road of the River of Stars.
Inscribed In Jade
Buddhist Retreat Behind Broken-Mountain Temple (Chang Jian)
by: Emily Wang (Mandarin)
pure morning, near the old temple,
early sunlight paints the tree-tops,
has wound, through a sheltered hollow
boughs and flowers, to a Buddhist retreat.
birds are alive with mountain-light,
mind of man touches peace in a pool,
thousand sounds are quieted
breathing of a temple-bell.
At The Sky's End
To Li Bai At The Sky's End (Du Fu 712 - 770)
by: JC Guan
wind blows from the far sky....
are you thinking of, old friend?
wildgeese never answer me.
and lakes are flooded with rain.
poet should beware of prosperity,
demons can haunt a wanderer.
unhappy ghost, throw poems to him
he drowned himself in the Milo River.
1. Ego & I 2. Pagoda 3. Recurring Dream 4. Inbetween 5. A Chance Meeting 6. Inscribed In Jade 7. Stone Bell 8. To a Friend Bound West 9. Weeping Willow 10.Pure Amber 11.At The Sky's End 12.A Farewell In The Evening Rain
Digital release: November 26th 2010 Catalogue number: LGM 068-4 Label: Lemongrassmusic - LC 12644