dear readers and music lovers,

now, the 2v1g's blog and jz8's blog have been merged into one and housed under the pop pop music's blog.

click here from now on to read about all the artistes under the musictoxin and pop pop music label.

there won't be anymore updates to this blog.

there's no doubt that the whole hk cantopop industry is pivoted on mark lui [雷颂德], and mark lui alone. i can't imagine 90s and the new milennium cantopop without him. if mark lui were to die today then the whole cantopop music industry in hk will collapse overnight.

as much as he is a godfather of modern cantopop in hk, he has his fair share of critics and detractors. those who are not discerning may not know why he is criticised all these years but i shall count his sins here.

he is not the most talented producer that hk has ever seen but definitely he is the smartest and most wicked producer of all. he has the ability to plagiarize from western music without people knowing (at least not to the majority of undemanding cantopop followers) and make it into his own. it is like a jigsaw puzzle; he steals a bit from here and a bit from there, and voila! he forms a new piece of art!

from his early days with kelly chen [陈慧琳] , he has been heavily influenced (to use a polite term) by stock-aitken-waterman (SAW), the ace producer trio from UK in the 80s, who was responsible for dance pop darlings such as rick astley, bananarama and kylie minogue. kelly hit the charts with her "unique" brand of dance music but very few know that it is totally unoriginal!

mark lui is the chief culprit responsible for creating this genre of trashy cantopop called "K- songs", which stands for karaoke-friendly songs. this brand of music is shallow, repeatedly and annoyingly catchy and most importantly, forgettable after a few rounds. many cantopop superstars today benefitted from his k-songs. many industry people in hk have told me that "k-songs" are living in dying breath. it won't be long before people realize how cheap it is. just look at the career doldrums of miriam yeung [杨千桦] and leo ku [古巨基] now. they are passe, over the prime already.

having said that, mark lui does have some talents. his is single-handedly responsible for the mega success of leon lai, miriam yeung, leo ku and many others. i am not here to take away his glory from making hk pop music industy sustainable over the last two decades.

4 years ago, he created janice vidal [wai lan, 卫兰], which to me is the most promising singer hk has seen for a while. the debut album "day and night", with its cool mix of jazz and bossa, was such a breath of fresh air to my ears. i still love that album after all these years. i thought i found hope in mark lui again. and i regard janice as the saving grace for hk cantopop.

4 albums later, i picked up this latest album called "serving you". guess what? mark lui copied all over the places! so many familiar tunes in so many places. it is as if mark lui used all his collective best tricks over the years and cooked up this album. there are so many sure-fire ingredients of "k-songs" in this album that it can guarantee a certain degree of success in the market. already, i am told that this album is the top-grossing album in hk in 2008. i have never ever suspected mark's cleverness but he can't fool us over and over again. no doubt, some of the songs sound annoyingly catchy but it could have been done for miriam yeung or leo ku or justin lo [侧田] with the same resutls. if not because of janice's angelic voice, the songs would have been relegated to those despicable "k-songs" again.

to me, all mark lui's releases this year have been bad but janice's album is the best of the worst. i leave you to figure out if that is a compliment or insult.

some singers are destined for greatest but because of certain factors like age and luck, they couldn't make it in the commercial pop scene. it is then for some really sharp-eyed producers to pick them up and make them into audiophile singers. i have been waiting for years for bondy chiu hock-e (赵学而) to release an audiophile album. my wish has come true. i believe i am the first one to pick up this album.

this has the making of the best canto audiophile album of 2008. you can throw away your mimo lo, susan wong, le mon and all those canto audiophile singers in the past.

review to come.

review to come next week!

MTX (musictoxin xpress) is an initiative from musictoxin to promote indie, lifestyle-oriented and non-mainstream music in malaysia. musictoxin aims to produce good music which caters to discerning music lovers and our magazine is our voice. we will leave the mainstream media to do their gossips and sensationalistic news; MTX only talks about music and nothing else.

the key contents would be review articles on jazz music, pop/rock, indie, audiophile and chinese pop. we are going to have an audiophile music chart as well. there will be contests every issue giving away free CDs. there is also be an event calendar from performing venues such as no black tie.

MTX is going to be distributed free-of-charge at all major record stores in the klang valley. those who are from other states, rest assured, we will have pdf download facility at this blog.

this is roughly how it is gonna looks like for our first inaugural issue!

this is the first time an indie label produces its own magazine.

the moment i stepped into esplanade's dome, i knew i was in for a treat. this is a different hall from the one where sheila majid held her concert last year. the dome is smaller but gorgeously built. i sat in the 6th row, exactly the same row and distance from the stage as my last DFP concert where nah youn sun performed.

it was such a treat to listen to emi fujita in this kind of acoustic environment. i really have to thank my lucky stars that i got so many chances like this in my life to listen to world-class performances in a world-class halls.

emi's peformance was good, steady and sweet, without the technical supremacy of nah youn sun. it just goes to show all you need is a good song and a good voice; technicality may not be everything. you would never expect emi to do vocal acrobatics; she is the kind of singer who will sing a good song in a down-to-earth way. all the songs she chose for the night are golden classics - the rose, tears in heaven, annie's song, all my loving, daydream believer, somewhere over the rainbow etc etc. at times, emi's voice is just too flat to carry the song, like in the chirpy "daydream believer" but the audience just lapped it up. emi even did "singapura, singapura" much to the delight of singaporean fans.

to be absolutely frank, the dome's acoustics are not as great as DFP. the bass, from where i sat, is slightly boomy and a lot of details and nuances were lost in emi's voice, unlike my experience with nah youn sun where i could even hear her breathing. and the big speakers flanking the stage were too directional; one could not feel the sound coming from the centrestage. my anti-audiophile friend was complaining "see, there's no soundstage in live performance?? all the sound was coming from the two speakers!" i just couldn't rebutt him.

a little bird to me that emi's cds sold a whopping 30,000 copies in singapore alone. that's an incredible figure considering that most best-selling audiophile cds sold an average of 2,000 copies. (note: 2v1g sold close to 1,000 copies in sg) it speaks volume of emi's popularity in tiny dot.

the autograph session is overwhelming (as can be seen from the photo), the queue was building up fast as soon as the concert finished. the sales of emi's cds was brisk too with another long queue forming at a different counter. poor me had to wait for the autograph session to be over before i got to talk to emi.

i finally got to meet with emi at around 11:00pm at the backstage and all her crew were rushing to get out of esplanade by then. apparently, esplanade has to be closed by 11:00pm. emi looked tired and but nevertheless she is nice and sweet. her event organizer, ms shirleen jong, actually invited us for supper but we felt that we were intruding so we turned down their invitation.

this ranks as my best singapore trip in recent years.

how lucky can one get?

some kind soul is flying me to SG this weekend to cover the emi fujita acoustic live concert in esplanade!

not only will i get the best seat, i also get to interview her!

the interview article will appear in the first issue of MTX (musictoxin xpress), slated to be out in mid-jan 2009.

btw, the january gig at NBT has been postponed due to exhaustion on the part of the two voices, who are going to finish their first musical (magic mirror) stint at genting this sunday. months of preparation has taken a toll on their health. we apologize to those who have made reservations. rest assured, we will be back stronger and better!

i have been waiting for this for the last ten years!

finally, evelyn hii, the boss of NBT, got it done in time too for 2v1g's gig in jan 2009.

hooray, the best performing platform in kl has finally got a home!

please guys, if you call yourself a music lover, you owe it to yourself to visit this place.

starting january 2009, we are converting our hifi magazine av xpress into a music bulletin called MTX (musictoxin xpress)!

av xpress has been in the market for 2 years now. it is distributed for free in all the record shops in kl, mainly victoria music and rock corners. while it concentrates mainly on hifi, the music review section is very popular with the record stores' buyers and their customers.

our intentions to launch musictoxin xpress are two-fold:
1) to promote musictoxin label and its artistes (2v1g, jz8 and more)
2) to promote good music thru album reviews and good articles on music.

musictoxin xpress is a bilingual, once-in-2-month bulletin which covers topics like album reviews (chinese pop, english pop/rock, audiophile and jazz), music industry updates and up-to-date info on musictoxin's stable of artistes like 2v1g and jz8.

our artistes like roger wang, tay cher siang and chow kam leong are going to contribute articles on music.

since mainstream media doesn't quite bother with indie label like us, it is high time we take matters into our own hands.

trust me, MTX is going to be really cool bulletin for the discerning music lovers!

watch out for it in january 2009 at a record store near you!