Music Revie: Jiang-Hu, The Rhapsody

ASIAN POP

JIANG-HU, THE RHAPSODY

Wakin Chau (Rock Records)

Rating: 4/5

At some point, a pop singer can no longer continue to churn out the same kind of music he has always done. At that point, he has to ask himself: What next?

Hong Kong-born Wakin Chau's answer is to go big and go deep.

He made his name with ballads about love, such as I Truly Gave My Love To You and You Make Me Happy And Sad, in a career spanning more than 40 albums.

In his groundbreaking new record - the most ambitious thing he has ever done - he works with celebrated Taiwanese writer and lyricist Chang Ta-chun, drawing on Chinese history and literature to create a compelling musical tapestry. On the album itself, the lyrics are cohesively presented as a piece of calligraphic art.

Lead single Po Mo (Splash Ink) namechecks poet Li Bai and frequently references historical events and characters, while Shen Zai Liang Shan (Here On Mount Liang) draws on the classic novel, Water Margin, for inspiration.

The lyrical denseness can be challenging and even Chau acknowledges this in a largely spoken track titled Postscript: Ta-chun.

It helps that the music is equally rich, mixing elements of traditional Chinese music with modern rock instrumentation and sensibility.

A fruitful and rewarding adventure for Chau.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.