Xiao He – Silly’s Ballad – 19th July 2012

Cat #: 100TZM

It’s been 2 years since Xiao He’s bizarre double CD “The Performance Of identity” (2010) was released thru tenzenmen as catalogue number 050TZM, marking a half-century of releases for the label. As one of the most important avant-garde artists in China, his astonishing creativity doesn’t change or vanish with the passing of time, instead he becomes more distinctive and interesting. He keeps on playing his solo symphonies and “universal experimental folk”, which has gained him much appreciation and a glowing reputation. Xiao He and his songs have been to dozens of countries and whilst performing last autumn he jumped off the stage and broke his feet! This new album, Silly’s Ballad, was created while he was instructed to rest at home by doctors, with his feet set in heavy casts. Xiao He wrote all 12 songs with an acoustic guitar, he even recorded them while in bed and on the couch. The new album overflows with beautiful melodies and classic folk arias.

He writes of the album, “While I was recording [the songs], cicadas were tweeting, and sometimes even a plane passed by. I tried to record without any external sounds before by thickening the walls of my studio, but at the same time I was isolating beautiful things outside.” So, when Xiao He returned to write love songs again, he was inspired by diverse colours and sounds. Besides the self-deprecating title, natural feelings hide in every sentence of the lyrics, reflecting Xiao He’s wisdom and philosophy. The use of narrative poems throughout the album helps Xiao He express his mystical world in sounds and words.

More to the point, this being catalogue number 100TZM, marking the full century for tenzenmen, this folk album will be released in a very special and limited format: not on CD, tape or vinyl, but as a ‘musical artbook’. It is perhaps the first of its kind. This multimedia truly enables Xiao He’s creativity better expression. The artbook contains 12 different pictures of leaves, drawn by Xiao He in Zurich in 2010. Those leaves lay scattered on the mountain road Xiao He walked along every morning to exercise. The 12 songs correspond to 12 different leaves. High-end headphone brand 233621 has generously provided specialized custom-made headphones for this ‘album’. Furthermore, this musical artbook also includes three music videos that were commissioned to three up-and-coming and very talented directors: Yu Liwei, Yang Jin and Zhang Yuedong.

Xiao He expressed his wishes for the artbook: “I hope this album will become the glorious road along which a silly person is looking for another silly person.” 

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