From Music-China Wiki
Translation (c) Julia Gao
How do we dream today?
——Comments on《Dream Countryside》
As China is experiencing the transformation from the agricultural society to post industrial society, idylles are disappearing as well. However, the threat that material civilization has posted to the mind can’t be ignored, so finding dreams in anxiety and temptation for people has become the job of many artists. The problem is whether to find an antique dream and comfort us old fogies and young diehards or to create a real new dream that exists in the current background and purify those modernized bodies?
Should it be the latter, we would have to adventure, explore, create, and tread a path where there is no path. Because the morality today, the value today, and the emotions today are new; the technology today, the information today, and the experience today are new; the world today is new. 《Dream Countryside》 happened to touch this cutter point. It’s no big deal to play new with the same purity, while the important thing is how to use new languages to express this same purity. 《Dream Countryside》 is from Jin Dezhe, but it first came from Chen Zhe and Hou Muren. Chen zhe dreamed of creating the new music of China, while Hou Muren was famous for his “Cultural music” in Beijing. Both of them devoted themselves to reviving the national music – from 《Black Moon》 until now, this work has always been drowned in commerce and difference. Although the practice of 《Dream Countryside》 was not thorough enough, it was brave and carried the huge problem of the new music of China.
We say that it wasn’t thorough because the composer wasn’t aware of, or didn’t feel, the challenge from reality. Jin Dezhe and Fan Bo, just as two vegetarians or two Platos, composed songs that are simple, thin，and like solemn pledges of eternal love. They showed deep piety and even belief of the faraway and antiquated fantasy. Such conviction has great power and such distant peacefulness is beautiful, but the few sounds made by horse-headed fiddle in 《In The Place Faraway》was enough to point out the pain of helplessness – today, no matter “Honey”, “First Kiss”, or others, they all show deep sorrow and – escapism.
Had there been no Chen Zhe’s Studio, this album would have been a lost paradise and Jin Dezhe would have been a young writer born out of time. Determined by a brand new musical idea, 《Dream Countryside》 has a strong scent of experiment. It contains classical guitar, jazz piano, and faint vocals; “Julia” has a pretty avant-guard blank period; 《Half Dream • Ocarina》 has reached a area of absolute music, where humanity is placed in an abstract background as cold as mathematics – doubtless no one would treat it as a pop song. Every song is as simple as possible, but the production method is not what typical pop music uses, which can be easily recognized from the classical – but not folk – guitar; moreover, MIDI has employed a new experience of electronic music; reminiscent harmonicas and whistles and emotional horse-headed fiddle all appear in a new environment; as for recording, technology has greatly helped the singer create the ambience.
Chen Zhe said, “I like doing constructive things.” So he chose a language that all of us are not familiar with. The meaning of《Dream Countryside》 lies not only on the “peacefulness and emotion”, but also in the high-minded loneliness. This is an album that can’t be classified, for it is nothing but music – using their limited talent and experience, they tried to return to the very beginning of sound while making a dream different from before.