Sometimes the only way to discover new places is to let someone else led the way. That's basically what happened with this new album.

Early last year I got a call from my friend Leslie Loh. Leslie is an avid audiophile who owns a local Hi-Fi publication, AV Xpress, and a very popular blog, Desirable Audio Boutique. I have known Leslie for a number of years. He has been a supporter of my music ever since my early gigs at No Black Tie. He told me that he wanted to produce an audiophile standard Chinese acoustic album featuring just the voice and an acoustic guitar. It would be a minimalist approach to Chinese classic love songs of the 80s and 90s with high resolution recording. If successful it would be the first Chinese audiophile pop album produced in Malaysia. He had me in mind for this project from the very beginning and wanted to find out if I was interested. I liked the idea and told him to count me in.

Leslie also recruited producer Chow Kam Leong as well as Winnie Ho and Regine Tai on vocals. He named the project 2V1G which stood for 2 voices 1 guitar. It was supposed to be a temporary name, but since no one was able to come up with something better, it eventually became the name of the group and album.

Once the songs were selected, I began work on the arrangements which turned out to be harder than expected. You see I have never taken much interest in Chinese pop music, so all this was new to me. Ironically this was one of the reasons that I has chosen for this project. Coming for a different musical background, Leslie felt that I should be able to look at these songs with a fresh perspective. Winnie and Regine on the other hand come from a strong background in singing Chinese pop songs. Winnie is the winner of Astro Talent Quest 2000 (an annual Chinese singing competition in Malaysia organized by ASTRO Wah Lai Toi. While Regine was already an established Chinese recording artiste and actress.

This meant that I needed to bring my guitar arrangement closer to what Winnie and Regine were used to and at the same time give it a fresh interpretation!! ..... I had to rethink a lot of my approach to this project. A lot of my usual playing style just didn't work in this context. I had to bring myself out of my musical boundaries and get closer to what would work better with the singers, the songs and the vision of the producer.

The guitar recording took a total of 12 days that was split into 3 separate trips to KL. It was a bit of a struggle at the beginning, but towards the end I began to get the hang of it. We managed to come up with a nice selection of 12 songs. Besides the standard heartfelt Chinese ballads, there are also a few songs that were arranged in a style that was closer to home for me. There should be enough variety without being too safe.

I just received the album a week ago and heard the final product for the first time. I must say the whole production team did a great job. Not many singers have the guts to expose themselves and sing with so little musical instruments to hide behind. Winnie and Regine not only managed to pull it off, but their vocal performance really stood out. My guitar playing came out really different from anything that I have done before. It felt refreshing, familiar and a bit foreign all at the same time ... but in a good way.

All in all, I enjoyed the whole experience. I got to discover new musical territories, tried things I normally will not do on my own, worked with a wonderful team and gained a deeper understanding of Chinese pop music as well as a few kilos from all the pork they fed me!!

Thanks for listening

[roger wang]

3 comments:

J.Lindenberg said...

Roger u r a fantastic guitar player!

Francis said...

I'm IN LOVE! It sounds fantastic. The whole album is put together very well. Love the song selection. Love the guitar, love the vocal. Love the arrangement. Love it all.

When is 2v1g volume 2? maybe this time a jazz-ier chinese album? GOOD LUCK!

2V1G said...

francis,

** shy *
we are not used to outright flattery ;-)

thanks!