Tuesday, March 30, 2010

優質生活的音樂系統 [lifestyle everything!]

being a hardcore audiophile for the last 20+ years, i am slowly evolving. my main system which is occupying the main hall is big and, shall i say, ugly, but it is my reference system especially when i need to do some critical listening and evaluation. however, to fulfill my music-everywhere-i-go requirement, i am investing on more lifestyle systems for other corners of my house.

my requirements are strictly: beautiful, economical and good sound, in that order of importance. conventional ugly-looking hifi separates have no place in other places in my house like my bedroom and my study room.

when it comes to lifestyle systems, a few names spring to mind: bose, bang & olufsen and tivoli. but these are all high-end marques which elude me financially. seriously, i could if i want but at the moment, i don't think i need such a expensive brand.

i have talked about the wonderfully functional philips cube micro system which is retailing at a peanut Rm299. i like it so much that i bought another unit for my study room! apart of a decent cd sound, this player has superb tuner reception, making listening to radio a pleasure. seriously, you can do worse than spending RM299 on a superb player like this!

next, i am also upgrading my home theatre LCR (left-centre-right) speaker to boston acoustics soundware speakers. soundware is not really designed as AV speakers but rather a general-purpose indoor+outdoor speaker with a amazing variety of mounting options. look at them, aren't they gorgeous? and they can positioned at many angles! who wants those ugly conventional black boxes? ;-)

lastly, i still have my ever-reliable tivoli-lookalike enzer harmoni cd player in my living hall, for occasions where i am too lazy to switch on my main system. enzer is a great player from singapore but unfortunately the company has folded! costing only RM700, this player has great sound and real wood veneer exterior. most visitors to my house always express their love for this exotic looking little player!

see, i am going lifestyle in every corner of my house! it is little wonder that traditional hifi (big, ugly, expensive) has little relevance with today's ipod-generation. if you want to appeal to young and even not-so-young, you better be good-looking and decent-sounding!

and all these four players add together cost only RM3K. you can't even buy an audiophile-grade cd player with this amount of money! go figure!

Monday, March 29, 2010

極力推薦 [highly commendable]

besides pop pop, who in the right mind would produce a local jazz album, with half of them being malay numbers? rachel guerzo would! can you give her a loud applause?

this is not only a high-standard jazz album boasting top-notch musicians, it is also a commendable audiophile recording done locally. another applause, please?

rachel's mum is part of the soliano family so that makes her half a soliano as well. rachel's dad, salvador guerzo, is a veteran all-rounder musician, who arranges all the songs and plays the tenor sax and flute here.

and you know who played in this album? king of drums, lewis pragasam and king of percussion, valtinho anastacio and king of gambus, farid ali. with such pedigree line-up , one really can't expect anything less from this album. you all should be proud that malaysia has such world-class virtuosos and production!

indeed, if you have an open mind (never mind that it is sung in bahasa malaysia), you would love this album. the production is polished (make it "classy"), the arrangement is really wonderful and the musicians all deliver their best. seldom we see a local album reaching this level of international class.

and rachel's voice is at once silky, smooth, sultry and soulful. all the 6 songs here are our faves but we have to choose alfonso solianos' (the legendary soliano who brought fame to the family name) track #1 "gadis idamanku" and track #3 "air mata berderai" as our top choices . rachel really does well here but we would tease you even further: the solianos, on the other hand, also happen to be singing these two songs regularly in their gigs too... with their 3-part harmony, they would completely surprise you!

we would not go on further as you can google for more info and listen to the songs here but there are a few notable points we would like to highlight:

1) rachel will be making her debut at the prestigious DFP (dewan filharmonik petronas) next month. what a celebration and recognition for a talented young artiste!

2) rachel's dad, salvador guerzo will be the arranger for the solianos' "timeless" album

3) the recording of this album is done by the ark studios in TTDI. it is the same studio that jacky cheung used to record his latest canto-jazz album. we are supremely impressed with the recording of rachel's album! the highs, transparency and dynamic of this recording is the best we have heard from a local recording. seriously, the ark studios can deliver audiophile recordings!

4) we are selling this album for RM35! normal payment and delivery method apply.

this indie album may not have the exposure and marketing and distribution network that a big label could afford, that's why we feel strongly about promoting it here. and if you support local music, you should do your part too.

investing RM30K to make an album, in times like these, is not a wisest decision to many independent musicians. but they are some true artistes like rachel guerzo who believe in leaving a mark in local jazz history. we truly hope that more local jazz artistes would follow the footstep of rachel guerzo in producing more independent albums of this exemplary standard.

rachel, you deserve a salute from all of us in pop pop music.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

拿鐵的聲音 [the sound of cafe latte]

first thing that strikes us is how gorgeous the packaging is. definitely this is beyond audiophile singer type of packaging. yes, you are right, olivia ong is now a shining pop star!

compared to s2s (olivia's former label), HIM (hua yan) music is definitely more resourceful in launching olivia's career in taiwan and other parts of the world where there are chinese.

so the natural question is : how does the two labels differ in handling olivia, music wise?

under HIM, olivia is defininitely more poppish, but all for good reasons. under bing wang (joanna wang's dad) production, olivia has more room to express her sweet voice. audiophile genre is too small and restrictive for her career growth.

the songs are well chosen, some are not your typical audiophile covers. songs like "never can say goodbye" is seldom heard in covers. same goes to hall and oates "i can't go for that". in terms of arrangement and musicality, we would say the album is slightly better than olivia's old albums under s2s.

some of the great covers include "have i told you lately", "here, there and everywhere" and "i can't go for that". "have i told you lately" is truly memorable; olivia handles it with the right kind of romantic emotions without overdoing it. this is the kind of light ballad that is perfect for a sweet voice like hers. we also love beatles' "here, there and everywhere". the arrangement is great and olivia just shines. what surprises us is "i can't go for that", a hall and oates classic that is screaming for re-arrangement. olivia has the attitude to carry this song, at the same time softens it with her femininity, making it a totally refreshing offering. kudos to the one who chose this song for the album!

recording is far from audiophile kind of level, not that the producer or HIM music care too much, now that olivia is aiming a different market.

overall, the whole album is smooth as you fave cup of cafe latte, with olivia ong delivering another consistent effort. it is the kind of album you can spin without worrying about any song that you need to press the skip button. but for those who can't stand too much "sweetness" in female vocals and yearn for more "soulful" rendition, this may not appeal to you.

we find it completely palatable and would therefore recommend you to check it out!

Friday, March 26, 2010

售賣的專輯 [album galore]

we are working overtime to finish up our pop pop website... and here are some good albums we would like to recommend to you and they will be sold at our website....

no time for review at the moment... so much uploading to do!

sometimes, we wonder why are we doing all these when it makes so little money? seriously, it is really a work of passion more than anything else ;-)

the development of the music player (those beautiful and instantly-playable mp3 players you have been enjoying) and the website alone cost us more than RM10K!

for now, just enjoy the music, shall we?

note: these are all high-resolution recordings meant for your fullest enjoyment! time to upgrade your pc speakers if you find them lacking!

yes, please recommend this blog (and its website) to all your music loving friends :-)

p/s in case you don't realize, you can have these all these music players in your blog/website by simply embedding the HTML codes. wonderful, ain't it?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

陽光普照的 jz8 [the sun shining on jz8]

jz8 is smiling just like auntie susan boyle ----------------- jz8's debut song list (in chinese)

various retailers have pre-booked an initial order of 2,000 copies of jz8's debut album, making it the biggest order we have received to date!

the sun is shining brightly on jz8...

go, go, go! more, more , more!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

簽合約 [legally speaking]

valentino (the big brother of the solianos) and i went to see a lawyer today to seek advice on how to draft a contract that's mutually agreeable for both parties. it turned out to be a rather "entertaining" and enlightening session instead of a serious one. the lawyer was rather amused that we didn't think of the "worst case" scenarios for many aspects, instead we just rely on mutual trust.

madam wong, is a seasoned legal eagle, who has seen many partnerships gone awry, that's why she is concerned that we painted such a rosy picture for our partnership as if nothing could go wrong. she is one person who is meticulous, who could scrutinize every scenario with the most imaginative and possible outcome. this, we guess, is the hallmark of a good lawyer :-)

the whole session was light and filled with laughter. madam wong is a catholic and she thinks there is not enough good music for the catholic and she asked valentino, also a catholic, if he is interested to record one album of such genre.

madam wong also asked for an autographed copy of the "timeless" album from valentino once it is released! she thinks she is gonna like that album a lot ;-) at least, she has heard of the solianos before!

everything augurs well for us to kick start the "project of the year": the solianos "timeless" malay jazz classics!

蘇蓮諾開案了! [the solianos march on!]

solianos "timeless" - a project closest to our heart

there are a lot of people who still don't know who the solianos are and why we bother to cut an album for them.

we even got friends who told us to back off because "a malay album can only sell in malaysia and not internationally".

we are not daunted. there is a strong sense of mission 【使命感】 in this project, maybe because we are all "anak malaysia". despite the whole country being in a sorry state that it is , politically and economically, we still love this country and we still love local music (especially good malay pop). of course, we are not foolhardy businessman; we have done our risk mitigation; we have a certain degree of confidence.

we take this challenge to prove to people that there is no language barrier in music. we are dumping a lot of money into this project. if it fails, probably, you will see the end of pop pop music. if we fail, we would definitely re-evaluate our existence and priority again.

to those armchair critics who criticize us by saying that we only do cover versions, this is the chance for you to shut up and listen.

we are at the stage of signing a contract with the solianos. if things go smoothly, recording will start in may. we are pushing back all other projects so that this project gets a higher priority.

our ultimate target: (1) solianos "timeless" will become the album that would appeal to all races in malaysia (2) to bring the solianos to DFP (dewan philharmonik petronas) with this album!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

好自在的音樂 [conveniently enjoyable]

oh, what a week it has been with pink martini and koc (kings of convenience) enlivening up the boring local music scene! (i heard zee avi was bad, anyone care to input?). we already sang praises about pink martini and the oh-so-sultry-and-sexy china forbes, we would now equally lavish some praises on tonight's koc concert held at the bentley auditorium.

90% of the attendees tonight are youth in their early to mid 20s, making us the oldest in the crowd! it is heartening to see there are some genuine acoustic music lovers among the crowd and many of them are malays. it goes to show that koc appeals to the young too!

the norwegian duo definitely make good live music. they played almost all the great songs in the 3 albums in a very tight set full of chemistry and unspoken understanding between the two good natured duo. and bentley auditorium's acoustics is good, providing plenty of clarity and good tonality for the two guitars.

koc's blend of dreamy and ethereal folk-pop is the best antidote to today's noisy commercial trash. it is music for the empty soul; it is music to soothe the tired soul. despite the suggested "quietness" in their music, there is plenty of "loudness" and rhythmic & percussive play on their guitars, giving the proceeding a bit of excitement. there was no signs of boredom from the young crowd, we were pretty impressed as koc kept the crowd entertained throughout with just good music and a bit of occasional light banter thrown in.

while all koc songs are nice and sweet, it does not have a memorable hit that you can instantly recall. perhaps, this is the only thing that separates them from simon & garfunkel, the legendary duo of the 70s, with whom koc is always compared to. we were hoping that koc would spring us a surprise by singing "the boxer" or "sound of silence"!

still, we enjoyed the night thoroughly. we really hope to see more of this kind of acoustic act performing in kl.

a special mention must go the supporting indie act, tender fist, who displayed a respectable opening act and a kick-ass encore playing together with koc! tender fist is so much like new order (an 80s' synth pop band that influences everyone else in the electronica/synth pop genre), we were clapping with delight! kudos goes to mak, the organizer, for picking such a worthy local act to open for koc.

one complaint though - for uncles and aunties like us, it is ultimately painful for us to stand for 2 hours, we hope mak would consider seating arrangement for old folks like us for future concerts. after the concert, 3 of us were having back pain!

still, music makes us young ;-)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

發燒音響本月最佳專輯 [ audiophile magazine's cd of the month]

click to enlarge

despite the controversy among local listeners, love's tapestry went on to become the "best cd of the month" in hong kong's longest-running and most authoritative hifi magazine, "audiophile".

bravo to roger wang and gina panizales!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

jz8: 夢想與里程碑 [jz8: a dream, a milestone and a yardstick]

jz8 debut album: malaysia's answer to cai qin's jin pian zi【 金片子】?

8th August 2008 was the fateful day I conceived JZ8. It was also the day the epic China Olympics started, hence the "8" in JZ8. I also met JZ8 pianist Tay Cher Siang for the first time in my house on the same day. JZ8 was inspired, in no small way, by Ted Lo 【羅尚正】the veteran jazz maestro from Hong Kong. The song that started it all was Miriam Yeung's 【楊千嬅】【傷追人】, a cover of Leo Ku's 【古巨基】hit song written by Justin Lo 【側田】。 Ted arranged and played some fabulous jazz piano in the song. This song got me thinking about making an album like that, with even bolder and jazzier arrangement.

When I thought of the idea of JZ8, I have this picture of a smoky and dimly-lit jazz bar tucked away in the far recesses of KL's bustling night-life. Its close to 2 am on a Saturday night. It is the closing hours of the jazz bar as the wait staff start to empty the ashtrays. But there are a still couple of tables with regular customers who seem reluctant to leave ... till they hear the singer sing her last song for the night. On the stage, a mature female vocalist, slim and sexy, smiling knowingly to her regular supporters. As she leans seductively next to the grand piano, a virtuoso pianist casts a lonely shadow in one quiet corner and is wearing a hat that covers most of his face, she signals with a knowing eye contact to him that she is ready for the last song of the night. She starts to croon the last song of the night, "I Have A Date With Spring" 【我和春天有個約會】, slowly, sensuously and seductively, while he tinkers with a flowing line so smooth that you swear you would surrender to both the voice and piano helplessly and willingly....

Lydia Chew and Tay Cher Siang are the perfect vocal-n-piano duo to complete that imaginary picture.

Lydia is the most sought after backup vocalist in Malaysia, while the other is the fast-rising, most promising jazz pianist who has been raising eyebrows in the music circuit in Malaysia. Together, they titillate your aural senses with refreshing interpretations of contemporary Chinese pop songs with a pop/jazz/swing flavor like you have never heard before. I seldom see such a tight and matching combination of vocals and piano.

JZ8 has taken us more than 18 months to complete. We have left no stones unturned. Being the Executive Producer of this album, I aim to break new grounds musically with an album that will hopefully revolutionize Chinese pop/jazz in its small ways. While my Producer, Chow Kam Leong wants to make the best album in his 25-year career, one that he can cherish for the rest of his life. Both of us felt that we have achieved our ambitions with this album. It is a milestone album for both Musictoxin and Pop Pop Music, the two collaborating music labels.

With the usual high standards of recording equipment used in "Love's Tapestry", JZ8 album goes one step further in creating a lively, exciting, energetic and yet tonally gorgeous recording that complements the jazz flavor of the music.

The audiophile mastering will be, as usual, done by the most trusted guru in the world, Doug Sax of The Mastering Lab. Doug Sax has shown to us that if you want the best, you have to hire the best people to do it.

JZ8 has all the elements of a timeless, classic Chinese Audiophile album. We strongly believe JZ8 will become a yardstick by which all Malaysian audiophile productions in the future are going to be measured.

You can sample the songs (in low-res formats so no point to download!) on the right panel. Please promote for us in your website/blog by embedding the HTML codes in the box.

Retail launch is 28th April 2010. We are open for online reservation now. First 1,000 early birds will get the virgin pressing, which is the best sounding of the lot. Retail price is only RM49.90. Payment instructions are here.

All email enquiries to poppopmusic@yahoo.com

Thanks for supporting JZ8!

千言萬語 [thousand words]

we know many photographers with talents but seldom we come across one who really captures live music performances with the keenest of eye.

let me introduce you our fave photographer, horgh yih, who is not even a full-time professional but only a hobbyist with plenty of heart and passion. love's tapestry was shot by him as well, although it wasn't his best work.

horgh yih likes to go around various gigs/concerts and shoot his favourite singers. his favorite venues being NBT (no black tie) and geographer (a pub in melaka jonker street).

shown here are some amazing shots of local singer yudi at her performance at geographer with jz8's pianist tay cher siang.

but this one (above) featuring regine tai's hands (former 2v1g vocalist) during her maiden performance in NBT two years ago, takes the cake for being the best of them all. simply amazing shot of sheer elegance.

really, you can't help but impressed with horgh yih's composition and observance.

yes, we are doing free advertising for him. he deserves more recognition and fame.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

粉紅色的马丁尼 [martini merah jambu]

china forbes with her signature outstretched hands

that's pink martini in bahasa malaysia :-) that's how they introduced themselves tonight.

we had one of the most fabulous concerts tonight at the DFP. such rousing performance deserves superlatives. we were closed to tears. we couldn't remember the last time we were so moved ( we think it must be nah youn sun's concert). we feel so blessed to be discerning music lovers. really, music enriches our lives and watching pink martini enriches our lives.

how to describe pink martini? it is a little orchestra from portland, oregon. the members are so large that at one stage, they couldn't find a stage large enough for them to perform. tonight, they had 10 members on stage, including the lead vocalist, my favourite, the sultry and sexy, ms. china forbes.

what kind of music does pink martini play? latin, lounge, classical and jazz, all fused into one wondrous concoction of sumptuous music. it is kind of like urban symphonic crossed with cuban/brazillian street carnival parade. can you imagine tchaikovski meets with carpenters? pink martini crosses genres like nobody's business; the music is uplifting and energetic! they sing in many languages including spanish, portugese and english.

we used to think malaysia is a cultural desert with very little arts and cultural events. DFP came along but it doesn't satisfy those who want something outside classical music. until recently, DFP had a new head and he starts to open doors to more jazz and semi-pop acts, and even local acts like double take and rachel guerzo (who will be performing next month). it was a positive move worth cheering for. we look forward to more exciting non-classical acts!

this is the first time pink martini performed in DFP and we would kill ourselves if we missed tonight's concert!

china forbes and band leader-cum-pianist thomas lauderdale showed malaysian audience what world-class performance is all about. artistic talents alone don't make for good concert. but when matched with showmanship and plenty of stage fireworks, you can be sure that you will have your audience hooked.

ms forbes is an all-round diva with so much charm that listening and watching her sing are both aurally and visually satisfying experience. beautiful and sexy, china forbes commands the stage with ease and presence. her body language, with her operatic outstretched hands, is a delight to watch. and her voice is truly magnificent. she is absolutely stunning performer.

we can go on and on. but not until you watch a pink martini concert, you would probably not able to imagine.

we were totally caught off-guard, during the 2nd last song (before the encore which pink martini played "brazil" to a rousing crowd) when china forbes started the sing, towards the later part of the song, the famous chorus " val-deri, val-dera / val-deri, val-dera / Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ... " we were so shocked and instantly asked ourselves: what song is that? yeah, the kindi song we used the sing when we were kids! yeah, that was "happy wanderer"! our instant reflex was to sing along loudly while forbes had the crowd singing along with her too! that was the moment to cherish for a long, long time!

as we left DFP, totally amazed by such a superlative performance, we kept humming that chirpy chorus.... what a memorable night!

I love to go a-wandering
Along the mountain track
And as I go, I love to sing
My knapsack on my back

Val-deri, val-dera
Val-deri, val-dera,
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
My knapsack on my back

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun
So joyously it calls to me
Come join my happy song

Val-eri, val-dera
Val-deri, val-dera
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
Come join my happy song

Monday, March 15, 2010

又誕生了一個 [another child birth]

18 months for the "labor pain" is way way much too long for any parent to bear but we are glad we did it!

jz8 is our third child and looks like the best of them all, not that we like 2v1g and love's tapestry less.

well, jz8 does not have the surprise like the first 2v1g because we already know we are going to get a gem. but how good a gem can be, that's the question.

after listening to it for a couple of rounds , it hasn't quite sunken into us yet but one thing for sure, this is gonna be a timeless classic, surpassing 2v1g and love's tapestry by a long mile.

it is gonna be another mad mad month, running around for all these post-production work.

we would try out best to bring the CD to you earlier than the promised 28th april.

however, we have brought forward the online purchase opening date to this thursday, 18th of march. we would post the music player on the same day.

we wish we could afford a personal assistant!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

搞演唱會 [we are going into events!]

wouldn't you like to see tommy emmanuel jamming with roger wang?

last year, we posed a question to the readers: are you a concert goer? and what sort of concerts would you like to go? we got very few responses, maybe the target readers were not right and maybe most readers here are just armchair music lovers....

this time we are conducting a survey (on the right) to gauge your interest on various acts we plan to bring to kl...

yes, pop pop music is going into event management. we are going into an untapped area of concert performances where the artistes are not the first-liners or the commercial pop stars. many of these are solo acts or indie artistes. our concerts will be acoustic-based or semi-acoustic performances, with fewer instruments in a more serene and intimate setting (less than 500 pax).

sure, the challenges are aplenty. first, the cost. with malaysian ringgit being so devalued, we are in a seriously disadvantaged position to bring in artistes who demand everything in USD. and because these artistes are not the commercial pop stars or top-line crowd puller, you can price your tickets too high. to make it worse, because of the small capacity, we don't have the economy of scale.

still, we want to pursue this intiative simply because it is untapped and no one has done it before.

so, please indicate your interest to us!

p/s just found out that someone is already bringing tommy emmanuelle to penang and kl in december, aren't you lucky, music lovers?

Friday, March 12, 2010

717 演唱會 [717 concert]

we have completed the layout of the "stage" for the 717 double-bill concert.

it is gonna be a semi-circular 3-way open "stage" like many of the MTV unplugged concerts...it is an intimate and close-up setting that best showcases the pristine quality of roger wang's guitar and cher siang's piano and of course, the voices.

all the early bird tickets are gone! we are now starting to sell the normal tickets at RM110.

once jz8 launches its album next month, we believe the remaining tickets will run out very fast!

also, for those who have reserved, you would have to make payment within the next two weeks to secure your seats... we would inform you the payment methods very soon.

really, we can't promise when is the next time you will see both 2v1g and jz8 sharing the same stage!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

殺青! [wrapping up!]

appropriately, lydia chew of jz8 completed her last long "fairy wheel" 【幸福摩天輪】 last night. the song is one with the best arrangement in the whole album and lydia obviously saved the best for last.

so, yes, the recording of jz8 album is officially complete! post production begins now and next monday, we will be able to get the final mix for critical evaluation.

my producer chow told us that this album is his dream album for the past 25 years in the music industry. he is extremely pleased with everything - from cher siang's piano to lydia's vocals to the recording engineer's mixing. he believes it is gonna be a classic. but classic normally don't sell wor :-(

record stores are already "eying" on jz8. really, you seldom see record stores being so interested in a local production. surely, a good sign.

all the good vibes are here. we are also talking to various sponsors for the making of LP (record). if jz8 gets to release in LP then that's immortalization in the most honorable way!

so here are the dates again:

6th april 2010 - mp3 playlist will be posted here
6th april 2010 - online purchase and reservation start
28th april 2010 - jz8 available in record stores
11th may 2010 - press conference in bentley music
17th july 2010 - double bill concert in bentley music

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

樂意天后 [rock in queen - past and present]

we have listened to both: susan wong's latest and astor fong's latest, both proteges of keith yip of rock in music [樂意], past and present. ever since keith lost susan wong to evosound, he has been on the look out for a replacement. only years later, he found astor fong. is she able to achieve the success level of susan wong?

watch out for a review in this space!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

新網站即將完成! [pop pop website ready soon!]

we doubt many of you visit the record stores (if at all) as frequent as we do and we also feel that there are very few online resources that genuinely recommend good albums in the honest way that we do here, so here's the main purpose of pop pop music's new website. not really to make big bucks but to serve a small community that prefers online shopping. we know many of you from interstate like ipoh, penang etc etc who don't have access to good record stores.

the pop pop music's website will mainly sell our albums and other albums (of the same easy listening and lifestyle genre) that we like and would like to recommend to you. some of the albums which we are going to review and sell include local songstress rachel guerzo's (part of the solianos family member) impressive debut jazz album, astor fong from hk, olivia ong's latest and susan wong's 511... which are all good in their own ways.

if you do find any good albums worthy of recommendation, do let us know. we may consider selling them online.

particularly, we want to support local indie artistes who share the same musical ambitions as we do.

we will launch the pop pop's wensite in a week's time!

small ambition but big hearted!

Friday, March 5, 2010

不能抗拒的 [irresistible]

signed to HIM (hua yan) taiwan, olivia ong is back with a new album....

reading from all the signs, she has successfully crossed over from audiophile arena to the mainstream pop. really, with her superstar looks and sweet voice, it will be a waste if she doesn't do pop, which certainly commands bigger audience and of course brighter future.

this latest album has set the internet abuzz.... the first singles featured here is composed by our fave composer, dick lee from singapore, but it sounds kind of familiar...

the distributor in malaysia is HIM music... we will try to get a few copies from them and sell them over here ;-)

三月的音樂 [this month in music]

two fantastic concerts worth checking out this month....

1) pink martini at DFP on 15th and 16th march 2010

2) king of convenience at bentley music auditorium on 21st march 2010. love the chinese name taiwanese gave to them, 好自在

we are going for both, how about you?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

貴人幫忙 [these hifi bloggers]

a rather light-hearted write-up on our double-bill concert.....

good job, hifi maverick! thanks a bunch!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2v1g 和 jz8 小型演唱會 [double bill, double happiness]

bentley music auditorium is where the double-bill will be held

yes, it is confirmed, 2v1g and jz8 will be having a double-bill, one-night only mini-concert on 17th july 2010 at the bentley auditorium!

we don't want to sound like a "kiasu" (afraid to lose) lot, but we are accepting reservations now. just shoot an email to poppopmusic@yahoo.com or sms 012-2083790.

by july, jz8 and 2v1g would have released their respective albums. if you wait till then, chances are all the tickets will be gone.

the capacity for bentley auditorium is only 400 pax.

悲哀 [sad]

music retail industry in malaysia is suffering

a strange phenomenon is happening in malaysia music industry, especially in the chinese pop scene.

more and more albums are coming out with less and less songs. from the standards 12 songs, it has been reduced to 10, and then 6 and now some just release singles!~

it is not hard to phantom the reasons behind. album making is a sure loss-making venture, why bother to give listeners the full plate when production costs are escalating? some even skim on recording quality, preferring to use studios which have just basic facilities. as long as the music label or artiste can get shows, gigs, adverts, commercials, sponsorship from just one or two songs, that fulfills the purpose, right? and if you do really have 12 songs recorded, you can release 1 singles every 3-month and you can keep your artiste warm for 3 years!

the whole music industry has changed drastically to the extent of being dysfunctional now. the best selling album for the last quarter is actually a chinese new year album by astro, go figure. even jacky cheung's album is selling so-so only.

we monitor the music retail market closely. the last quarter really sucked ass for the retailers. one store manager of victoria music has just quit, citing boredom and dissatisfaction with the job. having lived thru the golden era of retail music industry in the 80s, a time during which victoria music was the king of music retailing, he lamented that today's young listeners don't have depth, hell, they don't even collect CDs anymore.

to be fair, this is a global phenomenon happening everywhere but what's happening in malaysia is even worse because this country is stagnating, economically, culturally and in fact, even thailand and vietnam are ahead of this "tanah air ku". people just don't have the spare money to indulge in luxuries. even the rich ones are not willing to spend.

so rather that moaning about the downward spiral of the music retail market, we, the industry people, have to find ways to bring people back to good music, and making them buy original CDs and attend live concerts. we have to look beyond malaysia to develop our market and reach. indonesia, thailand, taiwan are big markets for us and we have big plans for them.

it is a tall order but good music is the only way to pull back some serious buyers.

最原始的感动 [going back to basic]

winnie ho of 2v1g sharing her feelings of recording the 1st song for 2v1g after a lapse of 2 years....

sorry, for chinese readers only.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

感情與技巧 [emotion and technique]

attention all singer wannabees: watch this fabulous concert dvd "teresa carpio with hong kong philharmonic orchestra (hkpo)" and learn many important lessons from teresa carpio!

it is a small wonder that teresa carpio is the number one vocal coach to many cantopop singers in hk. she is such a great great singer. dynamism, stage presence, techniques, emotions, expressions, exquisite tone, she has it all. what a joy to watch her performance; such a class act.

with more than 30 years of singing behind her, it is easy to understand why teresa can command the stage like a true pro. her voice has clear diction, resonating tone, coupled with power and dynamism. and she has a huge stage presence that is full of expressions and theatrical gestures.

she sang many english covers, from classic ballads, to broadway themes, to movie themes, with a couple of canto numbers interspersed in between; she is convincing in singing them all.

what we love most is her total involvement and expressive delivery. big songs like "sometimes when we touch", "vincent", "somewhere", "sukiyaki" were rendered with such prowess and conviction. we are not saying that teresa is better than the western singers but for an asian, she is way way up there.

a lot of singers either have techniques or emotions, never both. you need good techniques to handle difficult songs/passages, whereas you need emotions to give life and meaning to the songs. teresa has both in perfect balance which gives her the ability to sing any genre of songs.

this is a collector's item; we truly appreciate every minute of the concert.

Monday, March 1, 2010

臺灣上市了! [love's tapestry in taiwan!]

for those who know mandarin, check this out!

thanks to joy audio, our distributor in taiwan, you are the best!

網上訂購 [online purchase of JZ8]

JZ8 debut album will be sold in major record shops (except rock corner) nationwide starting 28th april 2010. however, we are open for online reservation now!

the first press is a limited edition cd of 1,000 copies. it is the virgin pressing hence the sound quality is the best of the lot!

this is an imported cd pressed in hong kong's major high-end cd replication factory, sony dadc. the price for the CD is only RM49.90.

regardless of mode of payment, please add the following poslaju (local EMS) charges depending on where you are:

  • kuala lumpur ---- > RM5.72
  • peninsular ---- > RM6.00.
  • sarawak -----> RM8.60
  • sabah -----> RM9.20

1) payment maybank2u, interbank transfer or cheque deposit

for maybank2u, please deposit into account: MUSICTOXIN PRODUCTIONS 514271337806

if you pay via maybank2u, please remember to fill in the email address
poppopmusic@yahoo.com so that a confirmation email will be sent to us. write a separate email to poppopmusic@yahoo.com to provide your address.

for cheque deposit, please scan a copy of the receipt and email to us.


2) payment via paypal

please follow the steps below:

you must pay in ringgit malaysia (RM).

for buyers from malaysia:

courier services will be poslaju (local ems).

1) add RM4.80 for paypal fee
2) add RM49.90 for the cost of CD
3) add poslaju fee as stated above depending on your location
4) make payment in RM to lesloh@yahoo.com

for buyer from overseas (including singapore):

all CDs will be sent by DHL-Global normal airmail which will take 7-10 days to reach.

1) add airmail shipping charges (for one CD only , extra CD(s) will increase the charges) depending on your country:

singapore ---> RM10.10
australia -----> RM10.70
united kingdom -----> RM13.80
USA ------> RM19.90
canada ---> RM19.90

2) add RM4.80 for paypal fee
3) add RM49.90 for the cost of CD
4) make payment in RM to lesloh@yahoo.com

ALL BUYERS: please remember to provide your shipping address!

if you have queries, please call leslie at +60122083790.

thanks for supporting JZ8!

leslie loh

當吉他神遇歌神 [when two gods meet]

thanks por, our photographer, for this great shot of winnie and roger

2v1g moved into 2nd gear last week as we had the 2nd recording session.

by now it has become a normal thing for roger wang to fly in from kk and stay in our residence in bandar utama. we give roger the best room in the house, equipped with av system and most comfortable mattress.

we saw the meeting of two gods: the god of guitar and the god of songs, that's the names we gave to roger and our new "V". together, they make great music effortlessly.

struggling producer pondering on the future of music industry

we had some incredible songs this round, including one bluesy number composed by chow, our producer, again to remember his heartbreak (this man seems to have many heartbreaks). sung by our new "V", this number is like the extension to the song "march" in first album. it has a certain melancholia that is exquisite; the more we listen, the more we love it.

the new "V" also covers a classic faye wong song. this song alone will make people buy the cd, that much we are confident.

winnie ho also delivers a great song composed by roger wang. as this song is covered by some heavyweights before, so she has competition and it will certainly invite comparison. but she definitely has her own unique way to sing this song and it turns out to be incredible as well. so, we have two original compositions this round!

this session went so smoothly that we had plenty of time to relax and chill.

by sheer coincidence, the two gods were wearing the same transformer tee on the night of the recording and we captured it here. the one with the tummy is obviously the god of guitar ;-)