GOLDEN MELODY AWARDS NOMINEES
Some of the most exciting Chinese music being made now is by bands and the proof is in the nominee list for the Golden Melody Awards' Best Musical Group category.
The contenders are: Trash for Never Die; Accusefive for Somewhere In Time, I Love You; Iruka Porisu for Call Me When Night Go Blue; EggPlantEgg for We Are Gonnna Get Married; Wayne's So Sad for The Art Of Embarrassment; Fire EX. for Stand Up Like A Taiwanese; and ZenKwun for Existing Like God. The results will be announced on Oct 3.
EXISTING LIKE GOD
Contemporary mainstream music is overwhelmingly secular, but a strong sense of religiosity pervades Taiwanese band ZenKwun's mostly Mandarin second album.
The songs invoke the deities and draw on a heady mix of linguistic and musical elements from Hakka culture, Tibet, Mongolia and beyond, including the use of traditional instruments such as the piercing suona. The results sizzle with energy and musicality.
Boundless Sea Of Bitterness weaves in Tibetan musical instruments and the repetition of the Buddhist precept, "The sea of bitterness has no bounds, turn your head to see the shore".
The powerful track Gods Are Watching bemoans the evil that men do. The tone is not exactly worshipful either when it comes to the deities: "The gods are watching, but they are short-sighted/Icy and weak limbs, time to retire."
The hubris on the title track is both scary and sobering: "I exist like a god/You chase like a pig from behind/I exist like a god/I'll see what you can do."
An exhilarating and deeply moral record.
CALL ME WHEN NIGHT GO BLUE
With their colourful get-ups, Taiwanese band Iruka Porisu look like they have sprung forth from some anime. But even if they come across as cosplayers - their name means Dolphin Police in Japanese - there is no denying that they are fully committed to the exercise.
The anime influence extends from the cover art to the songs on their imaginative debut Mandarin album, which bear riotous titles like Chaos Of Donuts and Chocolate Adventure.
There is whimsy and playfulness here. The title track opens with various sounds effects, setting the scene for a futuristic intergalactic space adventure.
Strap in, hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
WE ARE GONNA GET MARRIED
Indie rock band EggPlantEgg won Golden Melody Awards for Best Taiwanese Album and Best New Artist with their debut album Cartoon Character (2017).
They are back with Minnan and Mandarin record We Are Gonna Get Married, where they contemplate love and growing older.
There are sweet numbers like Happy!!! Drivers Love Song and Would You Want To Be My Girlfriend ("Days are hard/How to get through them without you/Would you want to be my girlfriend").
The mood turns darker on Walk With Me If You're One Of The Lonely Ones and the stark Make Money With Love.
Love is, after all, a complicated business.
GIGI LEUNG ONLINE CONCERT
Hong Kong singer Gigi Leung held an online concert on Aug 29 to raise funds for construction workers affected by the pandemic. Dressed in a simple but chic get-up of a sleeveless white top and flowy brown pants, she sang a soothing selection of her Cantonese and Mandarin hits, from early favourite Coward to the more recent Silent Night.
The video has chalked up more than 660,000 views.