Boundary- pushing acts

Sodagreen (above), Khalil Fong and Faye Wong.
Sodagreen (above), Khalil Fong and Faye Wong.PHOTO: AMC GROUP CHINA
Sodagreen, Khalil Fong (above) and Faye Wong.
Sodagreen, Khalil Fong (above) and Faye Wong.PHOTO: AC MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Sodagreen, Khalil Fong and Faye Wong (above).
Sodagreen, Khalil Fong and Faye Wong (above).PHOTO: APPLE DAILY PUBLICATION


Taiwanese indie band sodagreen are reportedly the first indie band to play at the iconic Taipei Arena. They are also now signed to a major label, but there is an unmistakeable devil-may-care, indie spirit that remains key to their music.

Lead vocalist Wu Ching-feng, 33, is known for his unique, high-pitched voice and poetic lyrics that can be hard to grapple with. He once told The Straits Times: "That's what I want to write and whether people get it or not is secondary. When people don't get it, it doesn't matter how simple you make it, they still won't get it."

Their songs cover a gamut of topics, from urban discontent to love and relationships in all their vicissitudes.

The new Winter Endless album marks the conclusion of their ambitious Vivaldi Project, a meditation on the seasons of life.


Soul Boy (2005) was the title of the Hawaii-born, Hong Kong-based singer-songwriter's debut album. It was also the perfect monicker for Khalil Fong as his music-making had soul to spare.

It was not the mere fact that he melded diverse music genres such as R&B, jazz, rock and funk together that made him stand out - it was the way he did it so effortlessly. His last album, Dangerous World (2014), added orchestral strings, hip-hop and disco to the mix and still sounded seamless and cohesive. His last single, Listen (2015), is yet another slice of sophisticated pop that proves his touch is as sure as ever.


One of Chinese pop's biggest stars was also one of its most adventurous. At the height of her popularity in the mid-1990s, Faye Wong took a gamble with the release of Restless (1996), with its experimental electronica and instrumental numbers. The title track contained 22 words and largely featured her scatting her way through.

She had to juggle popularity and creativity and the bifurcated Fable (2000) spells that out clearly. The first five songs by Wong formed a meditative song cycle filled with allusions to Buddhism, while the rest of the album was more unabashedly commercial fare.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2015, with the headline 'Boundary- pushing acts'. Subscribe