A spaced-out sound-clash of Asian Dub from the Hong Kong masters of the genre, this collection brings together the contrasting worlds of Asian tradition and Jamaican dub wizardry. As well as being the seventh album, it also marks the twentieth anniversary of the first Celestial 天上 release, “Spirit House”, put out by MCA in 1996.
A combination of completely original tracks plus re-imaginings of tracks from Celestial’s 20 year history, this time the sound veers towards the dark side of Asian Dub. Those familiar with the sounds of Hong Kong and Celestial will hear suggestions and references, echoed and layered, reverberating like ghosts of past dubberations.
Again featuring the Erhu of Hsin Hsiao Hung, and the Shakuhachi of Sunny Yeung, the album also includes many other musical snippets and recordings, collected over the last 25 years in Hong Kong and beyond.
The first track “Vietnam Redux”, features a recording, made by Shelley Bayman, of a vocalist and spoonist in an outdoor restaurant in Hue, Vietnam. The recording originally featured as the basis of the opening track on the first Celestial album, Spirit House, released in 1996. Several other tracks feature recordings made over the last 20 years , some familiar such as the Erhu on “Last Gong”, some brand new such as the vocal on “Kanchhi Redux” from Nepalese trio “Sur Sudha”, recorded over 10 years ago in HK, but not then used on that version of “Kanchhi”. “Dead Ahead Dub” is based on “Dead Ahead” from the album “Electric Road”, but now with a completely different arrangement, and new vocals from Adrian Da Silva. “Fragments” started life as a soundtrack to an arty architectural film about the urban environment of the Pearl River Delta, whereas “For Whom The Dub” is all new. “Electric Dub” features Koto and Shakuhachi from the second album, and “Green Island Dub” features Erhu and Shakuhachi from the fourth. “Chek Lap Kok Dub” features seven different contributors from around the musical world, in an re-imagined meeting at HK’s airport. from the second album, and “Back To Life” integrates elements from several different tracks from the debut release, “Spirit House”, in a nod to the twentieth anniversary of its release.
Many of the tracks veer into the moody world of Film Noir, painting a soundtrack for the dark clouds that have been hanging over Hong Kong in the last few years. Moody strings, minimalist piano and reverberant melodicas echo uncertainty and confusion over the deep dub bass – however at the end the silver lining always breaks through.
To mark a friendship that goes back well over twenty years, the sleeve (get the 12” vinyl version to see it in it’s full glory) is by well-known Hong Kong artist Stanley Wong (a.k.a. anothermountainman – www.84000.com.hk) and it is only fitting that an old friend, and Hong Kong icon, should be supplying the artwork for this twentieth anniversary production.
Track listing and credits:
1) Vietnam Redux
2) Chek Lap Kok Dub
3) Last Gong Dub
5) For Whom The Dub
6) Kanchhi Version
7) Moon Palace (Lust For Dub)
8) Dead Ahead Dub
9) Electric Dub
10) Green Island Dub
11) Back To Life
Erhu: Hsin Hsiao Hung (2, 3, 7, 8, 10)
Shakuhachi: Sunny Yeung (2, 7, 9, 10)
Lead Guitar: Eugene Pao (2, B8, 11)
Koto: Emiko Hisada (2, 9)
Congas: Johnny Kember (2, 6)
Harmonica: Dave Packer (2)
Vocals: Adrian Da Silva (8)
Vocals: Sur Sudha (6)
Vocals: Yoki Yip (2)
Vocals: LiYa (6)
All tracks composed, performed and recorded by Peter Millward at Drum Music Hong Kong
Sleeve by anothermountainman www.84000.com.hk
Thanks to Jay FC for the English Title and anothermountainman for the Chinese title
Get a copy here.