Released in 2001, the second album from Celestial is all about love, life, death, madness, mixing up cultures and time signatures, the passing of time, pollution, weather, trains, planes and automatons. It’s not about a place – “Happy Valley” is a state of mind. The album reflects the mix that is Celestial; a song from 1930’s Shanghai, a traditional Irish tune , a Chinese melody from Taiwan; all taken out of context and underpinned with urban beats and dub effects. Interspersed by the ever-present sounds of modern life – traffic, clocks, and weather; the album is tied together by the ever-present sounds of modern music; samples, synthesizers and breakbeats.
One of the dubbiest tracks from the album; “Plum Crazy (version)”, was selected to feature on “Café Del Mar: Volumen Ocho”, (south-east Asia release). Inspired by a Chinese traditional tune called “Plum Blossom”, the track features shakuhachi over a dub backing. also featured: Liya (a guangzhou tv presenter) on mandarin vocals; Rita Tsang on english vocals; shakuhachi (japanese flute) master Sunny Yeung; koto (japanese harp) expert Emiko Hisada; erhu (chinese violin) soloist Hsin Hsiao Hung; Nepalese trio Sur Sudha; renowned jazz guitarist Eugene Pao; DJ Bodhi on decks, Welsh rapper John Griffiths (of Llwybr Llaethog), Johnny Kember (architect of the studios at Drum Music, where the album was recorded) on congas, and many more.
Download the sleeve, by Dickie F, here.