The Heart of the Sun and the Moon
According to the liner notes on Wang Lee-hom's (
Wang may well have set out to, as he puts it, "create a new vibe the whole world can identify with as being Chinese," but the result is far from pleasing. The Heart of the Sun and the Moon is instead a rather odd and at times perplexing album on which Wang mixes up Mando pop standards and mild R&B / hip-hop with the odd sprinkling of traditional Chinese music.
The album gets off to an orthodox start with the pop / funk tune Open Your Heart" (放開你的心), which, apart from the odd strains of a traditional Chinese orchestra, certainly doesn't break any new musical boundaries. The album's title track follows in much the same vain as the opener and listeners could be forgiven for asking just what Wang's "chinked-out" is all about.
The closest any of the album's tunes come to answering this question is on Deep Bamboo Forest (
The bottom line is that fans of Wang may well find the manner in which he blends the odd sample into tunes enchanting and different, but those with a more open mind will simply be left "Wanged-out."
As a result of the popularity of FNAC's 2002 Indetendency series, which featured tunes by an eclectic collection of indie musicians and bands from Europe, the French-owned department store recently released the first in a series of CDs featuring some of Taiwan's leading indie acts.
Predominantly electonica-based with a sprinkling of standard alt rock / pop thrown in for good measure from more conventional acts like 1976 and Joy Topper (
While fans of many of the acts will have heard all the tunes before, those with a whim for discovering just what makes the local underground electronic music scene click should enjoy the feast of largely downbeat and ambient-inspired numbers.
Ambling in with Monbaza and a raw and -- it should be said -- rather annoying version of its jerky industrial-noise-based One Love (
Thankfully, Ciacia (何欣穗) and her laid-back bouncy pop anthem Make Each Other Happy (讓彼此快樂) follows the morbid opener and from this point on the compilation does its best to please.
Highlights of the 12-track CD include Funk soul Buster's interestingly ambient Sea Wave, Lim Giong (
So Far so Close
If it's pure and pompless Mando pop that your after, then you can't really go wrong with Richie Ren (任賢齊). For over a decade, Ren has been at the forefront of the music scene throughout greater China and it doesn't look like he's any hurry to pull the rip cord just yet.