That’s some good news! The solo CD of my good friend and bandmate Song Yuzhe, a seminal figure of the younger Chinese avant-folk generation is out! It is called Collection of Short Broken Songs and it features 12 skilfully-crafted short music poems that push the boundaries of Chinese folk songwriting.
What I found particularly fascinating regarding Yuzhe’s approach is the fact that he expanded the concept of what a folk album should sound like, something relatively uncommon in China where the mainstream music taste tends to be fairly conservative. In this case, what makes a difference is the incorporation of field recordings, meticulously collected over a decade from places with distinctive cultural identities such as Xinjiang and Tibet. These are transformed into structural elements of every song and are strategically placed in-between sections, intros, openings and solos. The result is a rich -and to me, as a Westerner, definitely exotic!- sound collage which I guess you could call a soundtrack, a term that I do not particularly like. For me, it is rather a contemporary version of story-telling that successfully blends tradition with innovation. In any case, I think that Collection of Short Broken Songs could set a very interesting direction that I am very interested to see whether other folk songwriters would follow.
We worked together mixing and mastering the album during December 2014 in Berlin. Currently the CD is only available in China though Tree Music Records (www.treemusic.com.cn) but you can listen to one of the songs here: