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Hong Kong Dub Station
The third in the series of albums from Celestial, "Hong Kong Dub Station" once again invokes a pan-Asian dubscape of hypnotic rhythms and deep space textures. Another tectonic phase shift from Celestial merges the sounds of 70's Jamaican b-sides with top Asian instrumentalists and digital tech-know-how. Rhythms and sounds from dub plates, collide with melodies and textures through zen temple gates... Trip the light dubtastic in the dancehall of the mind...
Musicians featured again include Hong Kong's number one Erhu Player, Hsin Hsiao Hung; the Musical Ambassadors of Nepal, trio "Sur Sudha"; Hong Kong's very own Shakuhachi Master, Sunny Yeung; Asia's jazz guitar genius, Eugene Pao and flitting between China and France, Dave Packer on Harmonica. Multi-talented vocalist Angelita Li offers vocals in English and Portuguese, though she's just as much at home singing in Cantonese or Mandarin. And rapper/producer Eddie Chung (Co-Founder of Drum Music) supplies some Augustus Pablo style Melodica...
All brought together once again by producer Pete Millward in this the third empyreal collaboration under the name Celestial:
"This year I brought a lot of my old vinyl from the '70's out to Hong Kong, which is mainly Punk and Reggae. And although there's not a lot of Punk influence on this album, I did end up playing a lot more guitar and bass than before. I also worked with Shakuhachi Master Sunny Yeung to create some new tracks from improvisation - and Sur Sudha's new Sitar player (the last one had a bizarre gardening accident), Professor Tara Bir, solos like Jimi Hendrix - in fact it's a bit of a Freestyle Sitar Odyssey..."
With the completion of "Hong Kong Dub Station" some of Hong Kong's outstanding video artistes have created two new videos for tracks from the album - bringing to four the number of Celestial videos now completed. These can be seen at www.hongkongdubstation.com along with all the sleeve artwork, with hi-res downloadable versions, and some other images.
November 2004: Hong Kong Dub Station receives yet another rave review, this time from Phil Guest in the fourth edition of Hong Kong's infamous Robot Magazine:
CELESTIAL - Hong Kong Dub Station
Genre: Downbeat Duberation (...across the nation)
Behold a duberation weapon so mighty it gave Robot Mag a papercut when we removed it from it's sleeve. Hong Kong Dub Station will take you on a smooth, whacked-out, pan-Asian trip that merges the sound of Jamaican b-sides with eminent Asian instruments and digital anarchy. It's an atomic blend of east meets west that quite literally puts the 'A' in Asian and the 'C' Chillout. Millward's 3rd Celestial album packs such a punch you'll be in the ER before the first riddim drops...so get your Bandaids ready, this one's gonna hurt.
November 2004: Hong Kong Dub Station receives again receives 4 out 5 stars, this time from Scott Murphy in the 19/11/04 edition of HK Magazine:
CELESTIAL - Hong Kong Dub Station (Drum Music)
The third time's a charm for Celestial on the consistently engaging East-West hybrid "Hong Kong Dub-Station". The brainchild of Drum Music founder Pete Millward, the opening track "Sea Of Tranquility" begins with the haunting sounds of Sunny Yeung's Shakuhachi - a type of haunting Japanese flute. From there Millward brings in various reggae dub rhythms and cleverly blends them with erhus, sitars, harmonicas and on one track, a blistering Santana-esque Eugene Pao guitar solo. He also rips a few pages from Malcolm McLaren's spoken-word-over-music book on several tracks. Debatably, the best song is "Bandhana Blues", an updated "Indian Vibes", featuring the playful sitar work of the Sur Sudha trio. Whenever Angelita Li gets behind the mic - three times here - it's a highlight, especially when she wails over some serious bass and drum grooves on the final track "Who Knows?" Overall this is serious chill-out music, perfect for the lazy weekend, but with enough grooves to mix in any dance clube set in the city. The appeal of this album should - and most likely will - go far beyond Hong Kong. This release is so strong that, with a little justice, fans and critics overseas will be finding Celestial pleasure of their own.- Scott Murphy
October 2004: Hong Kong Dub Station receives 4 out of 5 stars from David Watkins in Hong Kong's Sunday Morning Post:
Peter Millward's Celestial has been setting the pace for Asian dub for eight years.Folk melodies, chic vocals and a smattering of genre-hopping beats inform this hazy, decidedly upbeat effort created in his penthouse studio overlooking Causeway Bay. His building must be pretty high - there's nothing here that would make you think it was recorded near the maddening crush of Times Square.
Instead, this is a collection of bass-driven soundtracks that side step the clichés of slo-mo music to point to a kind of aural Shangri-La. Into his computer go the slick, hypnotic tabla rhythms of Nepalese group Sur Sudha, Sunny Yeung's shakuhachi (Japanese flute), Hsin Hsiao Hung's Erhu, Dave Packer's harmonica and Eugene Pao's guitar. Out the other end comes the sort of tailored dubscapes favoured by the likes of Thievery Corporation - rich, varied and pan global.
Bandhana Blues and moments where Angelita Li lends her voice to the mix stand out. Best Years of Our Lives even threatens to enter the drum'n'bass territory of 4-Hero. Things even go the way of The Orb with S.P. Mudd's spoken-work odyssey Ponchartrain.
Millward has left few stones unturned in his quest for a truly global, cohesive sound.
September 2004: Hong Kong Dub Station receives a rave review from Maurice Edwards at the Evolution Of Music website - a site dedicated to the best of independent music:
The gurus of Hong Kong's electronica scene Celestial are the answer to Europe's Massive Attack, especially the release of their third cd entitled Hong Kong Dub-Station from the independent label Drum Music.
Producer Peter Millward has once again brought together some of Hong Kong's dopest talent such as Shakuhachi master Sunny Yeung who is featured quite often on Hong Kong Dub-Station, then you have the smooth and angelic vocals of Angelita Li, along with jazz guitarist Eugene Pao, rapper/producer Eddie Chung and Dave Packer on harmonica, each collectively incorporating important styles that help Celestial reach creative levels of electronica profession.
Hong Kong Dub-Station is a blend of lite reggae and punk with heavy accents of asian musical influence which creates a texture of worldly sounds and zen temples trips ranging from down-tempo to drum and bass. More advanced than the american electronica groups it's a surprise that Celestial has not been picked up by a major label or distribution company.
Hot tracks from this set include "Pounding Waves", "Nepal Palace", "Itsuki", "The Best Years Of Our Lives", "She Dragon", and the cover of the bossa nova classic "How Insensitive".
This cd stands high on my list of hot recording for the year of 2004, don't let this one slip by.