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Archive for the ‘china’ Category

Cheng Lin receives Green China award for our song ‘Only One Earth’

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Last December, I completed arranging, programming, production and engineering for a song by Chinese artist Cheng Lin.

The song is about preservation of the environment, as we have ‘Only One Earth’. It was reworked from an old version in partnership with Green China, an organization recognizing philanthropy relating to preservation of the environment in China as they want to use it as a theme song for their TV shows.
We wanted it to have a more progressive feel so it has an urban style groove, and I’m proud of Lin for moving away from typical Chinese pop production with this song. Elika Mahony assisted on background vocals, and Bruce Gremo performed Shakalute and Xun, Chinese clay flute which many feel sounds like an Owl or some natural sound in the second verse amongst the modern production which is nice.
Lin even shot an interview and recording footage in the studio for the song…

A lot happened since then and the song had to be mastered (by Chris Athens, Sterling Sound, New York), but it’s been released as of the end of April, and Lin received an award from Green China during a TV awards ceremony for people who have brought awareness to protection of the environment in China for Earth Day. I really appreciate Lin recognizing our contribution on the song during the show, in English no less so we could understand!

You can listen to the song ‘Only One Earth’ here:
Cheng Lin – Only One Earth

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Check out the awards ceremony here (Warning, it’s long, unedited, but at 2 hours 13 minutes, Lin performs the song, and you can see Elika & I in the audience):

(note: the original clip is unavailable at the moment, so this is a shorter one)

Some of the wealthiest in China are investing in Green China, so no doubt big things are bound to happen quickly. Apparently they will have Al Gore at a ceremony later this year to receive an award for his work.
I’m proud to be a part of such an effort, and it’s great to see within days of releasing a song that it is featured on TV and getting attention already.

New Beijing sound studio nearing completion

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Since I had to abandon my first studio in Beijing due to the building being damaged from electrical fire, I’ve had to build a new studio.
I’ve chosen the location where I originally planned to set up the studio when I first decided to open one in Beijing, Real Life at Hegezhuang village.
It’s an amazing idea that China would do well to support more. They are taking traditional Chinese courtyard homes and modernizing them by renovating the inside. I’ve chosen to add a soundproofed booth and control room to the courtyard area of mine and luckily have found a great acoustic design company in Beijing to help me do it. Thanks Wayne from Snipersounds for the referral.

This studio will be unlike any I’ve ever heard of. It will have a traditional yet modern feel, with lots of light, and glass skylight which would usually be impossible acoustically, but I’m determined to break new ground and do away with the studio in a box idea. This is possible due to the latest in acoustic materials,  software and hardware to tune the control room (no more cheezy egg carton foam!). Maybe I’ll elaborate more in future once it’s all done.
The recording room is a double walled room within a room of course to ensure quiet but comfortable recording of even a full live band.
You can get more of a sense of the space and cool vibe this place has going on from these photos:

 

Studio entrance with courtyard skylight visible

Studio entrance with courtyard skylight visible

Recording room entrance (second sound proof door is missing)

Recording room entrance (second sound proof door is missing)

View of the control room from the adjacent room

View of the control room from the adjacent room

 

first wall goes up inside the recording room

Front door looking into open control room door

Front door looking into open control room door

The place will also have a kitchen and lounge, and a few bedrooms so we can live there and I won’t have to commute. There’s even a little guest room if you want to come visit.

I’ve never built a studio to this level before, but thanks to affordability of Chinese labor and materials, here, it’s possible.
Thanks to the many people assisting me to make it all happen, without them and a few miracles, it would never have been possible.
A few more weeks to go and I think we’ll have one of the coolest sound studios in Beijing!

Chinese folk meets electronic music, latest production

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Despite my lack of updates, I’ve actually been quite busy here since living in Beijing China.
I’ve been working on some cool projects, one of the most interesting being Mikey Dee and Miss Melody’s fusion of western downtempo electronic with poetic traditional Chinese folk music.
The two shouldn’t work well together, yet under the moniker ‘Mobidextrous’ they’ve somehow create something very cool and unique and are breaking new ground here in Beijing and worldwide.
The first track I produced, mixed, and did a lot of the sound design for is called ‘Huan’ which is a poetic account of being lost in the big city, where ‘even the wine glasses are drunk with excess’
They’ve also done a video for it below which has some great footage of Beijing:

You can find more about Huan and their other tracks on the Mobidextrous Soundcloud page, including 2 other songs I’ve produced, Wang Ming Yue, which features the latest and most groundbreaking effects I have used yet, and Woo Yan.

More tracks and videos coming soon, so keep an eye out.

Fire throws our lives into chaos

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

I haven’t written a blog for some time as our lives were thrown into chaos early December when an electrical fire forced us out of our home. Then numerous hacker attacks crippled my website making it hard to post much.

Things have been rough for us in China since we decided to come here. But dealing with an electrical fire like this because of the lousy quality of workmanship here would normally be too much to bear.
Luckily I didn’t lose any of my work, and a lot of the studio equipment was ok, and so was little Evan & all of us, so that made it possible to rebuild our lives.

My Macbook Pro didn't survive

My Macbook Pro computer didn't survive...

But what really gave us the will to go on and feel any interest in being in China was the kindness and assistance of the Chinese people. They are quite different than the more individualistic people in the west. And the Baha’is here really went out of their way to assist us try and rebuild our lives. It was one of the most touching things we’ve experienced.
Thanks so much to all of you, to my mom, who sent Evan a sleeper that arrived the day of the fire so he had something to sleep in, and most of all to the Mahony family, without whom we would be truly destitute.

We are now in the process of getting a new place to live and setting up and building a new studio.

I could  share a lot more, but this experience and everything else that has gone on here has made me weary, and for legal reasons,  I will say no more except that things could have been worse.

Chinese potato chip flavors

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I’ve haven’t been able to blog much lately, even though I’ve never actually had so much to blog about…
That’s because even the simplest things seem to take so long in China and eat up a lot of your time.

Every day here in Beijing I see something that would blow your mind and often I take photos.
Wish I could share it all with you…

All I can leave you with for now is this – Lay’s certainly know how to market their products to a different culture!
One of many very bizarre potato chip flavors in Beijing, China:

Lays 'Intense and Stimulating' hot and sour fish soup potato chips

Crazy Chinese Signs

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff in China, but this is the best one so far:

Beijing Meat Patty Explode sign, Beijing China

Would you eat at this restaurant?

open house for new music production and sound studio in Beijing

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I’ve been living in Beijing for over a month now, trying to figure out how to blog about all that has happened here and what a dramatic shift it’s been living in China. There is simply too much to write about and not enough time!

So I’ll simply share that we’ve moved into our new home, and the new studio is now ready, looking great and sounding fantastic! It’s the best quality studio I’ve had in my 20 years as a music producer and sound engineer.

I’ll blog more about the studio soon. If your in Beijing, come by the open house:
Sunday, September 26th, 2pm to 5pm

Please contact me to rsvp to let me know your coming.

Happy Mid Autumn / Moon festival!

Pro Soul Studio Beijing, China

I’m moving to Beijing, China

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Yes you read that correctly!
In about two months will be moving to Beijing, China where, as anyone who’s been following my blog knows, I’ve been doing a lot of music production work lately.
I can barely believe it myself.

it started with the production of the talented Elika Mahony’s fire and gold album which eventually brought me to Beijing, where she lives, to work with her in April, 2008. Since then, Elika has been an amazing host for my visits and allowed me to use her studio for other music projects we’ve worked on and that I’ve produced for other artists.
Beijing was nothing like what I expected China to be. It completely changed all the perceptions I, and most of us have about China. Not only did I meet new friends, clients and very talented artists, but I really actually appreciated and enjoyed the culture. (but I guess that really started in Vancouver…)  I found that in a city like Beijing one really doesn’t have to go without any of the ‘western comforts of home’.  in fact the quality of life is significantly higher for many reasons.
But what was most strange was how much I missed China when I came home.  The last year sure has been a confusing time in my life…

Over the last two years, I’ve been fighting the calling that I should be there only working occasionally, but to make Beijing my home base.
The idea seemed totally crazy! But for various reasons such as Felisha’s love for China, and my acquisition of a world-class studio, as well as partnerships with top artists in China,  is very clear that I’m not only meant to be in Beijing, but that it is very possible to make that happen. So over the last year that’s what we’ve been doing, researching and planning relocation to Beijing by selling our home, closing my studio in getting rid of things that we will no longer need there.

I’ve received many confirmations that I’m supposed to be in Beijing as I’ve mentioned. A big one is that in China there is simply a high demand for an experienced foreign professional music producer/engineer like myself, and a lot less competition than a place like Vancouver, which has limited opportunities, lots of competition in the music industry, and extremely high, exponentially increasing costs of living.
China being a huge developing country has all kinds of exciting things happening. This combined with thousands of years of rich culture and yet rapid progress into the future makes it a very exciting place to be.

During our most recent trip to Beijing in January, the purpose was not only to do some work with existing and new clients, but explore the possibilities of living and working there, looking at home and studio options, visa, and other considerations. One of the many great confirmations that I received during that trip was the acquisition of an incredible world-class studio likes of which I could never afford in Vancouver. Everything fell into place that can only be described as divine confirmation that this was the right path.

I’ll blog more about my new studio  and residence very soon. For now, here’s the entrance:
Front Door studio & residence, Beijing

in officially announcing these plans I want to assure all my friends and clients in that I will be back to Vancouver about every 10 months or so to visit and work. If you want to work on projects outside of this, our studio in Beijing has a guest room, so you’re welcome to stay, and I’m happy to fly you to Beijing at no charge to work together if you’re doing a full album or other significant project.

That being said I will sincerely miss all of you and my family, but as most of you have experienced, in Vancouver I’ve been too busy constantly working 6 or 7 days a week to ever really see much of my friends or family anyway. I’m really ready for a huge change in that regard, a change that will bring more desperately needed balance in my life!

This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but I’ve taken enough time to know it’s the right one.

New China only music release ‘T. Journey’

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Last year, i had the pleasure of working on quite an incredible Chinese project with the renowned Beijing artist Jin R (pronounced Jing R).
It has recently been released in China, it’s called ‘T. Journey’

T Journey Bath House CD coverJin R is a known world class Chinese chef, restaurant owner, and sublime improvisational Yang Qin performer and artist.
Best known for her Hong Kong and Beijing restaurants ‘Green T House‘, Jin R was recently flown to Vancouver to cook her incredible culinary creations for the VIP guests of the 2010 winter Olympics.
Many attempt to copy hear ideas all over Beijing if not the world, and she truly represents a new era of China.

Last year Jin R developed a new bath house called Green T House Living Bath House & Residence which has already won the Wallpaper* Design Award 2010 – “Best Spa” and “AsiaSPA Magazine Awards 2009 – “Best New Spa Design” and “Best Day Spa”. Jin R wanted to create a unique soundtrack for this spa experience that took you on a journey through ancient to modern China and beyond. She asked me to produce and engineer the album as well as do some sound design.
Jin R playing Yang QinWe discussed what the album would sound like, I played Jin R some sound effect ambiances, chanting, and other musical elements and she eventually became inspired to envision the entire album, with all the performers and instruments she wanted to be a part of the project.
It was quite a diverse selection! I told Jin R, “not only is this not going to be relaxing, but it will be very challenging to make it work musically!”
But she was determined to make it more of a journey, and felt the spa treatments would be relaxing enough, So we proceeded.

Yang Qin, Gu Qin, Chinese traditional opera, Shao, and Chinese percussion, it was an amazing journey for me into Chinese music and instruments unlike anything else I have done before. I blogged more about the production here.
I was amazed at how quickly she rounded up some of the most amazing talent in Beijing, many of which had never been recorded!

Amazingly, it all worked out and it’s an diverse and unique album, another product of the original and creative mind of Jin R.
I owe much thanks to the talented and lovely Elika Mahony for not only introducing us, but assisting us with this project and allowing us to generously use her studio.

You can’t buy this album though, only receive it as a guest of the Green T House Living Bath House & Residence! So make sure you visit when your in Beijing, China.

Jin R’s ‘ancient meets futuristic’ Yang Qin performances on this project reaffirmed that the Yang Qin is one of my favorite instruments in the world.
It’s hard to get a sense of the album from a small part, but you can hear an excerpt of the album below:

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