This is supposed to be the album sandwiched between Chinese-Korean singer-songwriter Sun Shengxi's debut Girls (2014) and the upcoming Women.
It is no mere placeholder though. There is an au courant R&B vibe to Moving On and a welcome spunk in songs such as He Isn't Worth It.
She works with a wide range of collaborators, from author Four One and photographer Avril Hsiao on the lyrics, to reggae musician Matzka on the duet Lost On The Way. Yet, the record feels cohesive.
A highlight is Don't Panic, which delivers a gentle exhortation over a breezy melody: "Don't panic, please don't panic/Just relax a little/Don't panic, please don't panic/Give yourself a break."
She makes sure listeners are too busy grooving to the track to freak out.
This is a live recording of a concert held at Hong Kong's City Hall Concert Hall on Oct 17, 2013, to commemorate the centenary of Igor Stravinsky's epoch-making The Rite Of Spring, which premiered to a famous riot in Paris.
STRAVINSKY THE RITE OF SPRING
Giuseppe Andaloro & Ilya Rashkovskiy, pianos; Giovanni Sollima & Monika Leskovar, cellos
Alpha Omega Sound 14-01-12
An unusual transcription of the ballet for two pianos and two cellos by Italian pianist-conductor Giuseppe Andaloro was performed for the first time in Asia (and now got its world premiere recording).
Adapted from the orchestral score rather than the four-hands piano version, it possesses a symphonic scope in its conception.
Giovanni Sollima's cello replaces the famous bassoon solo with an otherworldly quality to its timbre. The cellos produce a wiry tone and are also employed percussively, thus extending the range of sonorities on the pianos. This vivid performance truly brings out the music's virility and savage intensity.
Also employed for the same forces is Andaloro's arrangement of Ravel's La Valse, a sweeping performance contrasted with the languid and atmospheric stillness to Sollima's transcription of Debussy's Prelude To The Afternoon Of The Fawn for just two cellos.
The memorable programme is completed by Lutoslawski's witty Paganini Variations for two pianos. Twentieth-century music has never sounded this engaging or enticing.
Chang Tou Liang