Monday, November 12, 2007

“新”新谣精选 -NEW Xinyao collection

Finally ... Ocean Butterfly has released yet another Xinyao (新謠-Singapore Folk Songs) CD collection, "remastered in 24bit and in HDCD format with 88.2Khz sampling" to provide the best quality so far (at least on paper) of these songs from the past. Being an avid Xinyao fan myself, this is pretty exciting, as I had missed the boat on a previous excellent collection (6 Ocean butterflies CD set xinyao collection with 64 songs) that they released a few years back that is totally out of print. The new one promises 300 songs to be in total, with 5 collections of 4CDs each. Now read this carefully, 5 box sets, with 60 songs on 4 CDs in each box totalling 300 songs. Clear?

Ok ... Now the 1st box set is released and this is its review. Mind you the price is not cheap. $69.90 at Sembawang. Gramophone is selling it for $79.90, so becareful :). From what I can see, this set is going to eventually include the 64 songs from the previous 6 CD set, and include more from the later works of Eric Moo from Fame (since Fame is now involved in this compilation) and the 思菘偉菘 (Song brothers). Since I have been collecting Eric Moo's re-released CDs from a while back, and also some xinyao collection CDs here and there, I am able to compare the quality of this latest release to see if they are really "improved and enhanced". And guess what I found out? There are some hits and misses. Now please note I am comparing many of these tracks from different sources. For instance, Eric Moo's songs from Fame will be compared with the last released CDs collection and as for some tracks like 邂逅, I actually have 4 sources to compare to.
So let's begin with the good points.

The hits:
- The songs from the old 6 CD collection from Ocean butterfly are generally enhanced at least in the noise suppression area. I could tell very slight expansiveness in those tracks, but you wouldn't be able to tell unless you play them side by side. But they all had went through some sort of noise reduction process that's for sure. In the result, some tracks might sound like the high frequencies were clipped, but it is not too damaging in my opinion.
- The most impressive tracks are the ones by 顏黎明, I could definitely tell the tracks were remarkably improved. For instance 水的話 from this new HDCD collection is the best compared to the one from "新謠精典之冠珍藏版 - Disc One" and "Obcd-9602 - 海蝶逐日". (Obcd - Ocean Butterflies CD collection) Improved clarity, less noise, and much better mastered.
- Even 地下鐵's tracks were improved. So generally, if you want better quality versions of the 64 songs from the OBCD collection, you will find them here. Though not all the 64 songs from collection are here in this Box set 1, I expect the rest of the 4 sets will contain the rest of them all.
- Eric Moo's 姐姐走的那一個下午 is contained here, finally. This track has been kept out of even Fame's own original collection of Eric Moo's works and this is the original studio recording (not the unplugged versions from the 太傻 CD). This is probably the 1st time this version has ever been published on CD. Just for this track alone I think, is worth the ticket of admission.
- There are some tracks that are very important in the history of xinyao, and I think this time, ocean butterfly is able to join forces with a few other companies to release a definitive collection and I think this is really commendable. For instance Eric Moo's later works with Fame, Song brother's works, and some 吴佳明's works etc. are all included here.

The misses:
- Now this is a big one. The 邂逅 contained in this CD set is "faulty". What I mean by that? A 1/2 a millisecond of the track at the very beginning is "chopped" off. I was soooo bloody disappointed. This is like the song that started it all!!! This song is the 1st xinyao ever to make to the "Dragon Tiger Charts" (龍虎榜)and here, it is flawed!!! Very simtiah .. very simtiah .... And not just that, somehow, this version seems to be boosted in its volume to the extent that there are some distortion in the track. Very very odd.
- Why are there no track listing on the cover?? Given the freaking high price of the set, (and it is obvious that they know hard core people like us will snap it u) what's the deal with withholding that info? We only know there are 60 songs in the set, but how many CDs? No indication. What songs? Not indicated too. Damn it is not even on their website. I almost feel like I am being taken advantaged here (dok! 菜頭). But anyways, here I am kena doked already. And here's the list of the tracks courtesy of yours truly :)
- The version of 我的朋友我的同學我最愛的一切 here is some bastardized remixed choral+R&B Hip Hop version. What the hell isit doing here?
- Eric Moo's tracks from Fame are not improved in any manner from the previous CD collection. Not to say that they are not good. But I was expecting some HDCD treatment, but well ... better than not having any at all.
- 遺忘過去 here is the version which was from his 作品集 which is a 2nd studio version ever recorded. The 1st version was a studio version made for the TV series "咖啡烏" and it had a slightly different ending. The new one ended "泡杯咖啡請聽我告訴你" while the later version went "漫漫長夜請聽我告訴你". Personally, I preferred the later version, the arrangement was better, he sang much better (under the guidance of 劉文正), sounded much more mature and had better lyrics for the ending. Now what's odd, is that on this CD collection, the lyrics booklet printed the lyrics for the older version while the CD included the later recorded version. Very odd indeed. .... In this case, I'd say having the newer version her versus the older one is a tossup. Maybe because I managed to find a "咖啡烏" CD soundtrack and already owned the older version so I am not making a fuss. But some purist might be annoyed.
- 梁文褔 is sorely missed. What a pity ... Will he appear in the other 4 boxsets? Pleeease!!! and 姜鄠? 黄宏墨?

Ok ... so this are some things that stood out for me in reviewing this collection. I am looking forward to the rest of the sets to come out and grab them all. Knowing how rare these CDs are, I highly recommend lovers of Xinyao to quickly grab them while they last. We all know they get 絕版 pretty quickly. :D ....Usually their 頭版 is their 唯一版. :)

Funny how I noticed a trend in these old songs, how they keep talking about 忙碌的過去 and how they keep "looking back" on 那一段日子. And these songs were written when Singapore Pop culture was still very much in its infancy. I think now they look back, the songs seems more appropriate now than back then when it was written, cos they didn't have as much to look back to then. In 星空下 and 遺忘過去, they both have a line that are very very similar - 美麗的明天需要自己去努力 and 生命(生命)還要靠自己去努力. Looking at the Stephanie Sun, JJ Lin, Ah Du, Tanya Chua of today, I can't help thinking how we could have arrived here without the Xinyao of the 80s. If not for those pioneers and all that they have gone through, they wouldn't have paved the way, nor be able to groom and write songs for the successful local singers of today. 沒有這些前輩的努力來打造他們的明天,我們根本不會有這美麗的今天。And it is really all about dreams :)

In a way the film industry is what xinyao was in the 80s. And I can't wait to contribute and see where we will be in 20 years. :)

Disc 1
沙漠足跡 - 劉瑞政+巫啓賢
邂逅 - 巫啟賢+黃譓禎
如何對你說 - 顏黎明
水的話 - 顏黎明
東東的故事 - 水草三重唱
晨的腳踨 - 地下鐵
信的告白 - 清泉小組
思夜 - 劉瑞政
星空下 - 巫啟賢
船長 - 巫啟賢
日月落昇 - 地下鐵
初涉 - 黃譓禎
走過年少 - 巫啟賢
阿Ben阿Ben - 水草三重唱
新衣哪有舊衣好 - 梁文褔+顏黎明

Disc 2
我們這一班 - 顏黎明
青春123 - 顏黎明
看一場週末電影 - 顏黎明
我的朋友我的同學我最愛的一切 - 吴慶康
今天我的心情還不錯 - 吴慶康
Then Hor Then Hor - 吴慶康
我們是最好的朋友 - 巫啟賢
手足情 - 巫啟賢+巫啟雄
遺忘過去 - 巫啟賢
只有你這樣一個朋友 - 李偉菘+李思菘
我的搖籃 - 李偉菘
家和萬事興 - 李偉菘
鄉愁 - 李偉菘
朋友你好嗎? - 洪劭軒
歲月的另一張臉 - 洪劭軒

Disc 3
情感聯絡站(咖啡烏) - 巫啟賢
那一段日子 - 巫啟賢
何必孤獨 - 巫啟賢
姐姐走的一個下午 - 巫啟賢
畢業以後 - 顏黎明
黎明的心 - 顏黎明
小人物的心聲 - 吴佳明
我的生活在這裡 - 吴佳明
陋巷童謠 - 吴佳明
心宇寂星 - 洪劭軒
給父親的話 - 洪劭軒
賣花老婦 - 洪劭軒
啤酒周圍的故事 - 巫啟賢
太陽眼鏡 - 巫啟賢
年輕的心 - 巫啟賢+合唱

Disc 4
你是我的唯一 - 巫啟賢
輕輕的說聲愛你 - 巫啟賢
擁抱你 - 巫啟賢
我的男人你的嘴唇他的吻 - 吴慶康
我+你≠愛情 - 吴慶康+馬毓芬
深愛著你 - 李偉菘
一千個傷心的理由 - 李偉菘+李思菘
情話 - 李思菘
月色同行 - 顏黎明
你的倒影 - 洪劭軒+顏黎明
我還在世界的背後想你 - 洪劭軒
从你回眸那天開始 - 洪劭軒
我想說的是 - 巫啟賢
可否從頭來過 - 巫啟賢
再一次戀愛 - 巫啟賢


James Chia said...

So nostalgic. Anyway I saw 郑展伦 and 梁文福 at IMM's 茶餐厅 few weeks ago. They have grown old.

Anonymous said...

Hi hi. I saw your facebook comments and came here...thanks a lot for the detailed review. I will go and hunt for the collection at lunch!

Ya, for sure 郑展伦 and 梁文福 have aged lah, even we have grown up and aged. 郑展伦has put on so much weight too.

thats me in the corner said...

im still contemplating whether or not to get this boxset. its kinda on the high-side - wonder if theres a possibility of a budget side :P

i think the 颜黎明's tracks are worth the admission alone though. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I bought the CD set at Visma CD shop (near Outram mrt), only $62.50. Likely to be cheapest in Singapore. Very worth it, the music just bring back those good memories.

Anonymous said...

Volume 2 is out!! 5 Discs this time!

Xinyao Fans said...

what are the songs in volume 2? can share? TQ

Yee-wei Chai said...

Ok ... here's the review for the 2nd volume :)

Paul said...

Can anyone guide me out where to find this album now?