Sometimes being a little odd musically certainly can get you noticed. This album is one of those, but in a very good fashion. It’s based heavily on Chinese instrumental music and Chinese culture, so let’s dive in to this album and take a good listen to the weirdness at hand.
We begin with Ask Me Now, which is a great sounding Chinese instrumental. It’s a nice way to start this recording off nicely. It sounds wonderful, some expert Pipa playing from the main lady of this album herself. Place your cultural prejudice away and listen, it’s excellent.
The next piece Spring Is Coming begins with some weird chanting and some unusual Pipa playing. It’s interesting to hear, and is much better than anything Yoko Ono did musically. It sounds like eastern slide guitar here, an interesting concept with some singing thrown into the mix. A nice touch, just a little wacky. It bursts in waves of upfront loud, then fades into quieter sections in this song.
San (meaning three in Mandarin Chinese, from most people’s guesses) is an interesting instrumental with more expert Pipa playing on its own. It is so subtle and different to most music out there, that it is really great to hear. It goes from slow and subtle to loud and frenetic without much notice, a nice instrumental number here. It sounds rather odd.
For Our Children is a devotional track for the subject matter at hand. It’s really weird sounding, and seems totally different than anything else out there. The mixture of variable singing and Pipa is great here. Overall, a strange yet satisfying listen. The mix of elements of this song are extremely well done, giving this recording a great deal of emphasis. It gets really loud in parts, so be mindful of that.
The next piece North Of The Sunset is more traditional in nature. It’s laidback and more easy listening compared to some of the previous numbers done. It’s just great playing of the Pipa, if you dig this sort of thing. A nice sounding piece. Sounds rather funky in the middle, surprisingly enough.
The next piece has instrumental vocals and some weird arrangements. My Monks Dream is as wacky as it gets musically for traditional Chinese music. It launches into some interesting Pipa playing and some clucked wordless vocal melodies. Pretty bizarre, eh? Still, it’s great to hear this stuff regardless. It’s lengthy, well over five minutes long. But it’s interesting listening anyway.
Misterioso is the last piece on this album, and is the most emotional of them all on this recording. It’s a nice piece of Pipa and traditional Chinese music playing which reaches almost 10 minutes long. Still, it’s a great listen and ends the album on a high note. We go from slow/fast and quiet/loud at the drop of a hat, in a magnificent way. The harmonics here are really fantastic, too.
This recording to many may seem like your usual Chinese instrumental music, although it is really not. Want to be surprised and culturally blown away by the traditional music of east Asia? Here is a great starting point, all in all, it’s a decent listen.