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Let me tell you about China…

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

I got back from Beijing China and Hong Kong recently, and I’ve been putting off this post for some time because honestly, I don’t know where to start. It’s an incredible place. Combine that with an unforgettable experience working with the talented Elika Mahony and some other Chinese musicians, and it gets more challenging to summarize, but here is my attempt.

I was working most of the time I was in Beijing, so I only saw so much. It was cool to work with some local chinese musicians, composers, singers for one project. At one point, none of them could understand what I was saying when Elika was out of the room and unable to translate, so I just hit the record button and things worked out! It was really great to work with Elika in person on some exciting new music and help with her studio setup.

I realised China is quite different than what I expected and the ideas about it many have. Sure, some things are more difficult, but otherwise, in many ways, people there can actually have it better than we do. It rained for a couple days and was windy so I got to see the clear sky, otherwise it is a haze. But the pollution isn’t as big a deal as some make it out to be depending on where you are. There are rows and rows of trees in the suburbs as far as the eye can see, just to help with the pollution though. And there are dogs and cats running around everywhere, and people have dogs as pets. Another thing I found unexpected here: Unlike India, There are not only a lot of Caucasians, but people of all races and backgrounds that speak english and a number of other languages. I’ve went to Italian, Indian, and middle eastern resteraunts that are actually better than Canada.

Another thing that is superior China is the service. For every one person serving you in retail or food industry, there are 4 in China waiting on you, and they do it with pride and sincerity unlike ‘the great west’, and the selection is massive and cheap. Quality, well that is another matter, but that is getting better as well… China is the land of the seemingly perfect knockoff. I was fooled. And yes, the great wall is incredible, photos can’t describe how massive it is. You basically have to climb a mountain to get to it as it is at the tops of the mountains, and when you are on it, it is wide enough for a car to drive on it. When you look out from it, it stretches across the mountain tops as far as the eye can see like a dragon across the mountains. China is beautiful in many ways. You can very likely have a higher quality of life there than in North America or even Europe. Yes, that’s right, in a communist country. Another sign of the collapse of the supposed ‘developed world’

Jarome on the Great Wall

And then there’s Hong Kong, the massive mecca, New York of Asia, of excess and the ultimate in selection and diversity from around the world. The buildings are 4 times the size of any you have seen. It is intense, and exhausting, but cool as well. over 7 million people and the streets are spotless. Thanks Ron for giving me a good taste of the ultimate modern city.

Hong Kong Night

So I would go back again, and my view of the world is now forever changed. I have learned some valuable lessons, some that will undoubtedly affect the future of my career as a producer. But I wouldn’t change the experience as I have grown as a person because I no longer have to rely on certain misconceptions.
Now it’s back to my regular life, at least for the moment.

My latest production, ‘Fire And Gold’ by Elika Mahony

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Over the last 3 years I have been producing an album that is quite different than what I usually do by the very talented composer, pianist, and singer, Elika Mahony.
I have blogged last year about some of the challenges of producing an album like this, and about how intense a project like this can become.
With it’s combination of electronic elements with piano, live cello, guitar, and flute and other exotic live instruments such as Persian santur, nay flute, and Chinese erhu, I have to say that this album, called ‘Fire And Gold’ is not only the most diverse and elaborate production I have worked on, but one of the most expensive. But it has done extremely well, selling over a thousand copies shortly after release thanks to Elika’s innovative music promotion techniques worldwide. You can listen here.

For those who are familiar with the musical styles I usually produce, the classical and new age overtones of this spiritually inspired Baha’i album on the theme of tests and difficulties of life may not be your thing. But you will most likely still be able to appreciate Elika’s sweet voice and elegant melodies.

Elika is also using some of the latest online music promotion techniques such as selling electronic versions of her songs online by donation, and offering discounts for multiple CD orders. One of her fan’s have even created a music video for one of the songs, This Is Faith.