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Posts Tagged ‘china’

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:

[audio:T_Journey_edit_Jin_R.mp3]

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New Release: Meditations of the Spirit in Chinese

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

A Chinese CD, ‘Meditations of the Spirit’, which I collaborated on with Elika Mahony, and produced and engineered has just been released and sold out in less than a month!

All the songs are in Chinese with a few bilingual songs.  The lyrics are from the profound and highly spiritual Baha’i writings, and some compositions are translated versions of songs from Elika’s Fire and Gold album.
The project involved highly talented musicians and artists – the very talented Cheng Lin graciously agreed to sing on the CD and Jin R plays her original beautiful Yang Qin compositions.  Phil Morrison and Keith Williams generously added their gift of talent to the CD too and Siria Rutstein, the youngest of the group, contributes her magical voice to the mix.  Jimmy adds a few of his compositions and Flamenco guitar player, Eric Harper, adds to one of  the tracks.  We also have 2 talented ladies singing in Chinese – Zhao Li and Lily, with Elika Mahony singing one of the songs in Chinese and a part in Arabic on another.

You can find more information about the songs here and can order them on that website.
To make orders in North America and other parts of the world, click here.

Chinese CD cover

We’ve been in discussion with the publisher to do another album like this due to the great response, but that is probably a few years off as this was an exhaustive project.

More adventures in China, Happy Chinese New Year!

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

I’ve been in Beijing for the last month doing music projects, having meetings, and researching opening my music company Pro Soul Alliance in China. Now i’m in Hong Kong with my wife Felisha for a while before going back to Beijing.

It’s been an incredible experience, and I’ve learned more than ever before about China, and have done a lot more exploring on my own than before and am getting more confident interacting and doing things in this vastly different and immense culture.
I thought I would share some of my experiences with photos:
I’ve been working with some talented musicians you may know, and some new artists many people haven’t heard yet…

Elika Mahony, Jarome, Siria, Anna

Elika Mahony, Jarome, Siria, Anna

We’ve been working very hard! Elika just released 3 exciting new original songs we worked on last year, and we also launched a new Chinese Spiritual CD, and are working on a music video amongst other things…
Now Elika has a computer dedicated to the studio so she can record ideas right away before they are lost. Here she is with 3 computers:
Elika with 3 computers! (One is her new one)

Elika with 3 computers! (One is her new one)

We have lots of amazing tea to keep us going though, Tea is serious business in China!

Chinese Tea

Food is amazing in China, it is an important part of the culture. In cities like Beijing you can get any kind you want, and the food is amazing along with the presentation:

My $1 salad

My $1 salad

Desert, complete with dry ice. What presentation!

Desert, complete with dry ice. What presentation!

You find the strangest things in the food stores though…

instant mashed potatoes in a cup

instant mashed potatoes in a cup

There are all kinds of cheap and interesting ways to get around:

Man powered rickshaw

Man powered rickshaw

And never ending scenes of guys carrying way more than should be physically possible on a bike:

Man transporting wood on bike

Man transporting sticks on bike

Public pay phones sure look funny, they have very short domed covers, so if your tall, you’ll have trouble:

Public phones in Beijing

Public phones in Beijing

There are beautiful lanterns everywhere here, especially during Chinese New Year (which is today!):

Lanterns in street, Beijing

Lanterns in street, Beijing

During Chinese New Year, companies give Mandarin Orange Trees as gifts and they’re everywhere, it’s so cool:

    Mandarin Orange tree

Mandarin Orange tree

They have some fancy malls with all you can eat Vegetarian buffets with over 100 items, and movie theater (where we saw new Confucius movie with Chow Yun Fat, our first film in China), they have fancy lighted stairs:

Lighted steps at the mall in Beijing

Lighted steps at the mall in Beijing

There are so many amazing things to see and experiences to have, kind and warm hearted Chinese people. It can be very mysterious too when the fog rolls in and wind blows like it did in Hong Kong when we visited the giant Bhudda & temple nearby:

Felisha at a beautiful Buddhist temple in Hong Kong

Felisha at a beautiful Buddhist temple in Hong Kong

Felisha at the giant Buddha in Hong Kong

Felisha at the giant Buddha in Hong Kong

Hope to share more soon when I have a chance.
Happy Chinese New Year! gōng xǐ fā cái, Gung hee fatt choi! 新年快樂

Music production in Beijing

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I just got back last week from another trip to Beijing, my longest one yet as I had 3 projects to work on and a number of meetings…

I was working with artist Elika Mahony as usual, she has just released a new album on the theme of Love, ‘Birds of Love’ that we were consulting about the promotion for, and developing a limited edition version of. We were also recording new material for an upcoming new age style progressive pop album as well as her instrumental album.

Those alone were very exciting projects and it was amazing to work in person with Elika, she accomplished what I feel are her best vocal performances yet on this trip… But I was also working on a Chinese spiritual CD with some local Chinese artists including Chinese pop music legend, Cheng Lin that I will talk more about in the future.

A new project I was working on there, and one of my most unique and culturally diverse was an ambient instrumental relaxation album for Green T. Living owner, Jin R, who is also a very talented artist and performer of the beautiful Yang Qin, which I think is my new favorite instrument.
There are so many talented artists in China playing traditional instruments in new ways, You can have all the experience in the world, or a degree from a music production school, but finding and working with undiscovered talent like this is one of the most rewarding things for a producer.

Jin R had quite an ambitious and creative concept for her new album, one that would provide a soundtrack for guests of her new bath house. The concept was ‘A journey with a cup of tea’, one that you would take without leaving the relaxing confines of the bath house, so I helped her develop the album so that it went from traditional ancient Chinese roots using such ancient instruments as the Gu Qin (over 2000 years old, to the Yang Qin, to the flute and synthesizer with various sound ambiances and real world elements.

I used a Rode NT-4 stereo mic to capture the natural ambience of some of these instruments.
It’s really quite something, you may have to take a trip to Beijing to get a copy though…

For the first time, brought the mobile equivalent of my entire studio setup to work on these projects, but ran into a few challenges when I forgot that China is on 220 power! Luckily, some of my equipment such as an external hard drive with all my sound libraries, and USB hub with all my software licenses were able to run on 220 without a converter. A very good thing, as I plugged them in without thinking about it in my excitement… Not a good thing for the preamp I wanted to add to Elika’s studio. We got it fixed very quickly there, but it never quite sounded the same.

www.flickr.com/photos/jaromematthew/sets/72157615008213764/

More about the music industry related aspects of my trip are on the Pro Soul Alliance blog.

My top five moments from 2008

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Well, it’s the new year and 2008 has been a truly incredible one for me, with more traveling than I’ve done in a long time, so I thought I’d go through my top five moments from 2008 as well as my one most memorable moment of the year.

  1. Completing production and release of Elika Mahony’s Fire and Gold CD
  2. Traveling to China for the first time and then getting to go again the same year
  3. Getting to experience the most amazing and modern city on the planet, Hong Kong
  4. North American Theatrical release of feature film I was sound designer for, Sweet Amerika
  5. Launch of my new, innovative record label, Pro Soul Alliance

It was hard to pick just five amongst all the incredible things that happened this year, like the exciting new music I produced for Heather Dore, my trip to Las Vegas with Felisha, the collaborative music promotional project with talented artist, Laura Harley, ‘enjoy the cylons‘ which was viewed by over 16,000 people, the california Baha’i music weekend, Working with the talented Phil Morrison & Keith Williams, Jing R, and Cheng LIn in Beijing, and the completion of various other video and music projects…

If I had to pick one most exciting and incredible moment though, It would probably have to be getting stuck in the middle of a raging Nahatlatch river with my nephew Aaron while Whitewater rafting and getting out of it with barely a scratch!

I had a really tough year in 2007, so I had decided this would be an amazing year of travel and exciting things, and it sure was! Amazing how when you really set your mind on something, it happens.

As for last years resolutions unfortunately things didn’t go so well with them. In fact I actually managed to offend some people I truly care about with some of my blog posts and other casual blunt remarks…  So this year no resolutions, except a determination to improve balance in my life, and drastically simplify things over the next 2 years so I don’t have to work so damn hard all the time.

This first blog post of 2009 is particularly exciting for me because it’s the first one I’ve done using speech recognition software, Dragon MacSpeech Dictate, the best in the world. My typing is terrible ever since I quit that pre-widespread computer use high school typing class (because why on earth would I need to type people letters?)
So yes I actually spoke everything you just read, which I feel gives things a little more personal touch don’t you?

Enjoy 2009, and all the best to you!

Emphasis on music education in China

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Every time I go to China, despite stereotypes, misconceptions and communism, I see great advantages to the culture there, especially in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. But I didn’t realise how important the arts really were until reading this article form Asia Times:

www.atimes.com/atimes/China/JL02Ad01.html

Warning, if your american, this may likely offend you, because the truth hurts!

Key point mentioned is that “American musical education remains the best in the world, the legacy of the European refugees who staffed the great conservatories, and the best Asian musicians come to America to study. [However] According to the head of one conservatory, Americans simply don’t have the discipline to practice eight hours a day.”

China trip and the launch of Pro Soul Alliance

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

I’m back from an amazing and productive trip to Beijing where I got to meet and work with some fantastic new artists as well as the immensely talented Elika Mahony. I blogged all about it on the new Pro Soul site, where I will be posting a lot of my music business entries from now on: www.prosoul.com

Yes, that’s right, Pro Soul Alliance, the new innovative 21st century record label is now live and ready to take on the artists of a new music industry! It’s a very exciting accomplishment, and we’ve put countless hours of research and effort into creating a truly ground breaking solution for artists everywhere.
We’ve assembled an amazing international team that is consistently expanding to provide an incredible range of services and research to assist artists of all genres from all over the world to connect with their audience and monetize their music in new ways that reflect the changes in the way people want to hear music.
There is really nothing like Pro Soul out there for artists and you will undoubtedly be hearing more about it in the near future! Would love to hear your comments and feedback.

It sure has been an exciting year, and things are just getting going! Hard to beleive it’s almost December.

New video production: Medieval Times In China and Beyond

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

A DVD production I’ve been working on for some time has just been completed for a company Teaching For Thinking, that provides multimedia resources primarily for high school instructors, .

It’s called ‘Medieval Times In China and Beyond’ and is part of a 2 DVD series about Medieval History. Here’s a trailer:


Medieval Times In China and Beyond on Vimeo.

We found some fantastic resources for this video online in the way of images and video. I included some of my own photos from travel to India!

I appreciated how instructors now wanted content that represented not only North American and European History, but from around the world, particularly in China who was creating many inventions the world heavily uses and relies on while Europe was engaged in progress stifling religious conflict…

eWaste: Ever wonder what happens to your electronic devices when your done with them?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Ever wonder what happens to your electronic devices when your done with them, and they no longer work, and it costs too much to fix them? Well, I did, and was excited that someone finally did a documentary about it to expose the secret life of dead electronics!

Michael Zhao is a graduate from the Berkley school of journalism, and for his thesis did a documentary about what happens to all our computers, mobile phones, audio visual components, and gadgets,when they either break down, or become obsolete, and we replace them with the latest hottest technology. It’s called ‘eDump’, and it’s pretty shocking. Here is a preview, watch the full 20 min. version from his website.

Here’s an article about it as well:
Time Magazine: Your laptop’s dirty little secret

I love technology and the latest gadgets, because I love the future, and progress, and efficiency, in fact, in my field of audio visual work, ideally computers should be upgraded every two years. But when materialism and excess leads to environmental disaster, and illness and suffering for human beings, something has to change. I always imagined the ton of electronic components we get rid of, and wondered what happened to them, I didn’t realise how neglegent and serious the situation was.

I remember the time I could finally unload my pockets from a phone, a PDA, and a music player by combining them with one Treo Palm phone! Awesome! I got such a mobile phone that was working fine and meeting my needs a couple years ago, I figured I would get another few more years out of it, then upgrade, and I could wait until then for the latest greatest technology. But it started malfunctioning years before it should have, becoming useless last year, and now i have had it in a bag, waiting to somehow recycle it.
After seeing the movie, I looked into it and found that enCorp now recycles a lot more than bottles in Canada and may be able to do something with it. There are also other companies that recycle electronics, fixing them so others worldwide who don’t need the latest technology can use them.

The eDump documentary really illustrated strongly for me how everything we do affects others, and how we should be responsible for our every action and understand the implications and consequences.
I encourage you to make some effort to sell, use, or recycle your electronic components as much as possible because there are literally tons of this stuff out there, and companies keep making more!

the future of eWaste? From the awesome Speilberg/Kubrick movie, ‘A.I.

Asia: 60 percent of global music market

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Read that headline and ponder, if your serious about music, how can you ignore Asia?

That’s what most labels and artists have done. “Bootlegging”, or “They don’t speak english” might be one of the excuses, but not anymore, and even if they don’t, that doesn’t mean they can’t memorize words to your song and sing along, it happens all the time.

When I went to Asia, I got bitten by some kind of bug. I didn’t get sick, I just got the fever – for Asia.
You could argue this is attributable to many things, and you would be right, but I think my instincts were sensing what this article is eluding to: That you can’t ignore Asia if your serious about music.

Asia Pacific Market Grows – radioandmusic.com

Oh, and if that article isn’t enough to boggle your mind, this WILL.
From my sources in China working in the industry: the Chinese internet base is the largest in the world with 221 million users. At 16% penetration, this still leaves huge room for growth. That’s right, that stat represents 16% of China. You do the math.

Keep your eye here for more about my plans for music in Asia through Pro Soul.

Jarome in Beijing, China 2008