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The fifth album from this Hong Kong collective represents a departure from the mainly instrumental approach of the previous four Celestial collections, because, as suggested by the title, all of the tracks are songs, featuring an array of different vocalists.

It is also a double album, though it’ll be priced closer to a single CD.

The first disc comprises all new recordings, though several of the tracks have roots in older material. The songs explore the themes of emotional climate change, the warming and cooling of the heart, discovery, desolation, rebirth and revelation.

The second disc is a retrospective selection of songs previously recorded or produced by Celestial, all re-recorded, re-arranged or re-mixed. The collection revisits all four previous Celestial albums as well as “Songs For Suicidal Lovers”, the debut release from London-based singer Shamus Dark, which was also a Celestial production.

Influences stem from every decade of the last 60 years: Scott Walker or Dusty Springfield singing stripped down versions of songs by Jacque Brel and Jimmy Webb, with arrangements by Philip Glass or Massive Attack, and mixes from the dub school of Lee “Scratch” Perry and Augustus Pablo, plus a touch of Bossa Nova styling thrown in for good measure

Vocalists include previous Celestial associates; Adrian Da Silva (of Audio Traffic), May Chan and Mariella Gonzalez, plus; for the first time; an old friend, Shanghai-based Vastine “Wink” Pettis, who also plays alto sax, the previously mentioned Shamus Dark, and Ela R. Alegre, a frequent visitor to the Drum Music Studio in Hong Kong. Instrumentalists once again feature Celestial stalwarts; Asian Guitar legend Eugene Pao, Hong Kong’s # 1 Erhu Player Hsin Hsiao Hung, Shakuhachi Master Sunny Yeung, and Johnny Kember on congas.

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The sleeve design is also a departure in style from the previous albums, and was put together by our old friends at: www.chinastylus.com

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Download the sleeve here.

Full Track Listing and Credits:

Disc A

1) Gone
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Shamus Dark
Erhu: Hsin Hsiao Hung

Obviously, a song about unconsolable loss, when someone who was once there is suddenly “Gone, into thin air…”.

Lyrics

2) Yes Dear
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Adrian Da Silva
Guitar: Eugene Pao

You’ve done all you can. Don’t lose your temper, just walk away.

Lyrics

3) The Beat Of The Heart
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Ela R. Alegre

If there is hope, it lies with the proles. And the beatniks, hippies and dreamers.

Lyrics

4) Dark Clouds
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Vastine “Wink” Pettis

There’s a storm coming…

Lyrics

5) The Old Lie
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Adrian Da Silva

An anthem for doomed truth.

Lyrics

6) I Can’t Go On
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Guitar: Eugene Pao

No matter how far you go, sometimes you still reach the end of the road…

Lyrics

7) Epiphany
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals & Sax: Vastine “Wink” Pettis

There is a time to grow up, to come of age, and that time is now, today: It’s a celebration.

Lyrics

8) Half-Life
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Shamus Dark
Erhu: Hsin Hsiao Hung
Shakuhachi: Sunny Yeung

For all those who through no fault of their own are disenfranchised, deprived or dispossessed.

Lyrics

9) Time Machine
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: May Chan
Shakuhachi: Sunny Yeung

Time travel is absolutely impossible as we know it. You can’t go back and start again.

Lyrics

10) I Couldn’t Jump
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Adrian Da Silva

Teenage angst – as seen through the fog of time.

Lyrics

11) Suddenly
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Shamus Dark

For the songsters of old…

Lyrics

Disc B

1) I Feel Strange
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©1996 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: May Chan
Original version (with vocals by Rita Tsang) appeared on the Celestial album “Spirit House”

Love hurts… But it’s good.

Lyrics

2) The Party’s Over
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2006 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Shamus Dark
Lead Guitar: Eugene Pao
Original mix appeared on the Shamus Dark album “Songs For Suicidal Lovers”

About uninvited guests who outstay their welcome.

Lyrics

3) The Deep Blue Sea
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2007 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Mariella Gonzallez
Koto: Sawako Fukuhara
Original mix appeared on the Celestial album “Electric Road”

Even at the bottom of the ocean, when everything appears to be sunk, there is the possibility of miracles.

Lyrics

4) Dead Ahead
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2007 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Adrian Da Silva
Erhu: Hsin Hsiao Hung
Original mix appeared on the Celestial album “Electric Road”

“Desolation. A heavy load”.

Lyrics

5) Smoke
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2001 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Shamus Dark
Backwards Guitar: Eugene Pao
Original version (with vocals by Rita Tsang) appeared on the Celestial album “Happy Valley”

A fog of pollution obscuring the truth…

Lyrics

6) Best Years Of Our Lives
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2003 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: May Chan
Guitar: Eugene Pao
Original version (with vocals by Angelita Li) appeared on the Celestial album “Hong Kong Dub Station”

A black and white movie…

Lyrics

7) The End Of The World
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2006 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Shamus Dark
Nylon Guitar: Eugene Pao
Original mix appeared on the Shamus Dark album “Songs For Suicidal Lovers”

Things couldn’t get any worse. But hey, it’s not the End Of The World.

Lyrics

8) Time Goes By
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2001 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: May Chan
Congas: Johnny Kember
Original version (with vocals by Elaine Liu) appeared on the Celestial album “Happy Valley”

The universe really is full of hope.

Lyrics

9) Carrickfergus (Version)
(Trad.Arr. Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Vocals: Vastine “WInk” Pettis
First recorded by Celestial as an instrumental (with Zheng by Choy Kit Yee) on the Celestial album “Spirit House”

A traditional song, tweaked for time and place.

Lyrics

10) I Couldn’t Jump 1981
(Words & Music: Peter Millward)
©2009 Drum Music Limited

Teenage angst – as heard through the fog of time.

All other instruments, arrangement, production, mixing and sleeve design by Peter Millward, at Drum Music, Hong Kong.

Return To The Dub Station

“Return To The DubStation 返嗒” is the sixth album from Hong Kong collective Celestial 天上, in which they go back to their roots, for another taste of the sounds that got them excited at the outset.

“I just felt an irrational longing for the twangy spring reverbs and deep space phased echoes of my youth” says the driving force behind the group, Peter Millward.

“These days the technology just doesn’t excite any more – so what better direction to go for inspiration than backwards? Back to the Future!”

The album features a combination of brand new compositions, and previous Celestial tracks that have been re-recorded in full Dubly. Many of the usual collaborators are here again: Hsin Hsiao Hung on Erhu, Eugene Pao on guitar; Sunny Yeung on Shakuhachi; Nigel Wightman on Trombone; Adrian Da Silva and Ela R. Alegre on vocals; plus new contributors – Japanese fine artist Hisaki Yasuda provides Kora, the African Harp, with his compatriot and friend Kana Kobayashi on vocals; also from Germany, the poignant chromatic harmonica of Jens Bunge; and the beating heart of Hong Kong DrumJam, Kumi Masunaga, on percussion.

The sleeve has screen-printed by hand somewhere in a decaying street market by our good friends at ChinaStylus.com, and, like the music, it is also heavily influenced by the brash punk/dub ethos of the late ’70s – as a reflection of that, it is LP size, i.e. 12″ x 12″ – and good enough to hang on a wall.