Exotic Species –Simon C.F. Yu 余俊鋒
Simon C.F. Yu’s 2nd album “Exotic Species”
Contemporary Jazz Experimental +
Traditional Eastern Music +
Sequenced Electronics +
Top New York Musicians:
David “Fuze” Fiuczynski (Hiromi’s Sonicbloom, Me’Shell Ndghcello)
On Fretless Guitar and Quartertone Guitar
Dodo Toru 百々徹 (Kenny Garret, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller)
Top class Traditional Instrumentalists from China:
Guo Yazhi 郭雅志 (China’s First Class Traditional Chinese Woodwind Instrumentalist, member of Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra)
On Souna嗩吶, Guan管 and Xun塤(correction for CD booklet labeled as "Yu")
Choi Ngar Si 蔡雅絲 (Renowned Gu Zheng player, she is listed in the “Who's Who of China's Contemporary Music Circles” “中國當代音樂界名人大辭典”)
On Guzheng 古箏
Jason Lau 劉瑞中 (Award winning Gu Zheng Pioneer in Hong Kong)
On Guzheng 古箏
Theresa Wong 王曉南 (Erhu Virtuoso in Beijing)
On Erhu 二胡
Hara Rio 原里緒 (Background singer of tracks from “Metal Gear Solid” game series music)
1: Introduction: Entering the Forbidden City
2: The Emperor’s backyard
9: Simon Tells you a Bed Time story
12: Ending Theme
Composer/Guitars: Simon C.F. Yu
Fretless/Quarter Tone Guitar: David “FUZE” Fiuczynski 8, 9
Piano: Dodo Toru 4, 5, 6
Keys/Piano: Takeshi Ohbayashi 3, 8, 11
Bass: Evan Marien 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11
Drums: Jeffrey Villanueva 3, 4, 6, 8, 9
Violin: Tomoko Omura 12
Traditional Chinese Instruments:
Suona: Yazhi Guo 1, 2, 4
Gu Zheng: Choi Ngar Si 1
Gu Zheng: Jason Lau 3
Erhu: Theresa Wong 10
Oriental Vocal Tunes:
Vocal: Rio Hara 10, 11
Drums: Jovol Bell 11
Guitar: Adam Tressler 10
Piano: Ayako Higuchi 10
Bass: Miho Sung 10
Drums: Takuma Anzai 10
About the Album:
Introducing the sound of Traditional Chinese Instruments in an Exotic, Electronic, and Organic way.
Featuring some of the greatest Instrumentalists from China;
Track1 has featured 2 of the oldest instruments in Chinese History;
Gu-Zheng and Xun.
The guzheng has existed since the Warring States Period and became especially popular during the Qin dynasty. The number of strings on the guzheng has always fluctuated, as we have as few as 6 to as many as 23 strings during the Tang dynasty. The earliest record of the guzheng in Shi Ji is attributed to the historian Sima Qian in 91 BC.
The xun (simplified: 埙; traditional: 塤; pinyin: xūn) is a Chinese vessel flute made of clay or ceramic, similar to an ocarina but without a fipple. It is one of the oldest Chinese instruments. The xun is made in several sizes and is in the shape of an egg. It has a blowing hole on top and generally eight smaller finger holes (three each for the index, middle, and ring fingers of each hand, and one for each thumb).
Featuring 2 top renowned players in China; Choi Ngar Si 蔡雅絲 (Which is Simon Yu’s mother) and Guo Yazhi 郭雅志
Track 2 featured another famous traditional instrument; Souna with and modern Electronica style sequenced loops and effects.
The suona (simplified Chinese: 唢呐; traditional Chinese: 嗩吶; pinyin: suǒnà); also called laba (Chinese: 喇叭; pinyin: lǎbā) or haidi (Chinese: 海笛; pinyin: hǎidí) is a Han Chinese shawm (oboe). It has a distinctively loud and high-pitched sound, and is used frequently in Chinese traditional music ensembles, particularly those that perform outdoors. It is an important instrument in the folk music of northern China, particularly the provinces of Shandong and Henan, where it has long been used for festival and military purposes. It is still used, in combination with sheng mouth organs, gongs, drums, and sometimes other instruments, in wedding and funeral processions. Such wind and percussion ensembles are called chuida or guchui.
Track 3 also featured the Gu-Zheng, but instead of the traditional stye of playing it challenged the limit of what can be played on a gu zheng.
Featuring Choi Ngar Si’s student; Jason Lau, one of the most talented Gu Zheng player in Hong Kong.
The song is also emphasizing the modern Jazz/Fusion sound too, you can hear influences from John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, Steve Coleman’s 5 element…etc
Track 4 has featured another old history instrument; Guan (管; pinyin: guǎn; literally "pipe" or "tube") with an acoustic jazz quartet. Emphasizing the mix of pentatonic style melody with Modern modal Jazz Harmonies.
The guan (管; pinyin: guǎn; literally "pipe" or "tube") is a Chinese double reed wind instrument. The earliest use of the word guan can be traced back to Zhou Dynasty records, where it refers to end-blown bamboo flutes such as the xiao or paixiao. The earliest double-reed instrument appears in the late Zhou Dynasty and is referred as hujia (胡笳; literally "foreign reed pipe") because it had been introduced from the northwestern region of China. During that time, the hujia was used as the primarily military instrument for signaling, and is depicted in early Chinese poetry as raucous and barbaric.
Track 5 and 6 has featured another big component of the CD, the Eastern sound modal Harmony. Instead of using big partial of pentatonic melodies, these tunes generates their Eastern sound by the structure of the harmony and also Articulation impressions of other Chinese Instruments. On Track 5, the semi-acoustic guitar was doing some impressions of Gu Zheng and Ruan by adding similar articulations to the playing. These tracks also featured one of the best jazz pianist in New York; Dodo Toru.
Track 8 and 9 featured one of the best-known pioneers of Cutting Edge Experimental Eastern/Western Hybrid Music; David “Fuze” Fiuczynski on fretless guitar and quartertone guitar.
Fiuczynski is the mentor of Simon Yu. They have been working on Extraordinary Outrages music/Instruments together such as Fretless Guitar (simply no frets on the guitar!) and Quartertone guitar (which has 24 notes per octave), which they have been using these instruments to play a.k.a. “out of tune”-microtonal music.
These tunes mixed Turkish/Indian/Chinese microtonal system to the music and added some Western style Grooves (Timbaland, Funk, Ska, Drum&Bass..etc).
Track 8 is a fusion of Chinese Opera with Timbaland Groove/Drum&Bass/Ska and Track 9 is an Icebreaker for listeners who never heard these “Alien” harmonies.
Track 10 and 11 are oriental style vocal tunes featuring Hara Rio 原里緒 (Background singer of tracks from “Metal Gear Solid” game series music).
Fans of the game series may recognize her voice from one of the all time favorite theme song- “Snake Eater”. Also featuring Erhu Virtuoso-Theresa Wong 王曉南 on track 10.
The erhu (Chinese: 二胡; pinyin: èrhú), also called nanhu (南胡, "southern fiddle"), and sometimes known in the West as the "Chinese violin" or "Chinese two-string fiddle," is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, used as a solo instrument as well as in small ensembles and large orchestras. The erhu can be traced back to instruments introduced into China more than a thousand years ago. It is believed to have evolved from the xiqin (奚琴).
The last track is the Ending Theme for the whole CD; you can hear themes from other songs in a modern Electronic sequence music way. Adding sequenced Chinese Percussions and chemical beats together with influences by Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Series/ Ninja Blade sound tracks) and Yoko Kanno (Ghost in the Shell series sound tracks)
Instrument descriptions from Wikipedia.