“Electric Road 電器道” is the fourth album from Hong Kong collective, Celestial 天上, in which they dive deeper into the underwater world of dub electronica. Although Electric Road is the name of a real street in Hong Kong, the album is not really about that street, but rather the name serves as a descriptor for an imagined sound-scape, or subterranean mind-space, somewhere nearer the bottom of Hong Kong's harbour. Ten years after the Handover, and ten years on from the first Celestial album, Electric Road celebrates the vibrancy of 21st Century Hong Kong, as exemplified by the life on the streets. But the album also reflects on the emptiness of modern day life, and the way in which culture and heritage in Hong Kong are often swept aside in the name of 'progress', and profit:
"Some of this album might seem dark" says producer Pete Millward, "but I've been disappointed this past year; disappointed and confused the Hong Kong government’s complete disregard for heritage, as evidenced by by the tearing down of the Central Star Ferry Pier and its replacement with a Stalinist Mausoleum, the fated demise of Queen’s Pier, the inexorable filling in of the harbour, the seemingly inevitable trashing of the Soco Islands for an LPG terminal, and this administration’s indifference to the environment in general – in short, the Hong Kong that we live in. Amongst other things..."
The artwork (a photo-montage created from scratch by Pete – hence the schoolboy errors) shows a surreal Hong Kong street - but don't bother looking for it in Hong Kong - it doesn't really exist, perhaps like the false memory of a perfect chimerical past that is reflected in the fluid ripples of the dubscape.
Several of the tracks started life as instrumentals that Pete wrote for The Bass Cadets, the live dub band that he performed with at Rockit (the Hong Kong music festival) a few years back. Musically, “Electric Road” pushes the envelope already stretched in the previous three Celestial CDs, that of deep textural dub-electronica, flavoured with Asian instrumentalists, occasional vocals and other-worldly samples. The album once again features Asia's guitar giant, Eugene Pao (包以正), HK's number one Erhu player Hsin Hsiao Hung (辛小紅), and Shakuhachi master Sunny Yeung (陽光). Newcomers are Koto virtuoso Fukuhara Sawako (福原 左和子), plus vocalists May Chan, well known in Hong Kong for her session work as "細 May", Adrian Da Silva, leader of Hong Kong’s AudioTraffic (winner of the Hong Kong leg of Battle Of The Bands), and visiting from New York, Mariella Gonzalez. There is also a reunion of Mandarin and Welsh Rappers, Antonius Chen and John Griffiths, who both first contributed to the second Celestial album, "Happy Valley". And Pete supplies all the other guitar, bass, melodica, keyboards, production, programming and mixing.
For info, quotes and more, please visit: