Miya Dodu Cold Fairyland : Seeds On The Ground (CN,2007)****'
If I remember well, Chinese music before recently was not allowed or meant to be exported. And too often certain musical expressions were considered as still being rather provocative by the government. But sooner or later they had to reconsider this part, for art is a money making business which could mean other contracts, so this creative part should be released sooner or later because it could only become a benefit in the growth and evolution plan. This band is in fact the first really interesting band I have heard to come out of Shanghai (the biggest city, of over 20 million citizens). People might easily say it is a perfect mix of Western of Eastern, but perhaps it’s just open minded Chinese music with one Chinese traditional instrument, and singing, and the addition of drums and electric bass, acoustic guitar and cello in a progressive and semi-improvised sense, making it completely compatible with a Western approach while remaining spontaneous and inspired and open to the beauty of its Chinese core melodies, as well as of the joy to arrange (Western typed) improvisations with it. “Puzzle” with funky and even fuzz elements in the guitars sounds as a great example of their progressive fusion/crossover style ability. A very rewarding album.
Miya Dodu Cold Fairyland : Live (CN,rec.2005,pub.2006)****
From my first quick listen I can already confirm that this previous, live album sounds even more like progressive rock. The drum/electric guitars are more dominant in the drive of the music, bringing the energy to certain wilder greatness, while some Chinese instrument brings in different elements. At its best the singer sounds like Lisa from Dead Can Dance with a progressive rock band, at other moments there is a more mellow Asian pop style involved which seems to struggle just a bit with the contradictory tunings before being mixed best. Nice. Mini-LP format.
Mi Music Cold Fairyland : Finland Tour 2008 DVD (CN,2008)*°°
From the sixteen songs recorded live, there are certain performances worth hearing for its hypnotic results or for certain combinations of arrangements and harmonies. The filmic part itself does not necessarily makes that experience better. In general I didn’t like the band better via the videos. They are being filmed from various angles and there are added a few effects here and there, which could have been much better.
I will mention my favourite tracks. First favourite is “Mosul”, which is very much like a pushed up and more psychedelic Dead Can Dance. “Mountain Songs of the highlights” is a Chinese folk song with slightly dub-rock elements. Great to hear is how “The Flood” has a traditional beginning, an acoustic core that becomes inflicted with electric power by bass/drums, and a bit further by thundering drums and guitar, before being calmed down with a bit more keyboards. Also the track “Reawakening” shows an attractive folk-rock style enriched with cello. “Ice Castle” is another very good folk-rock plus cello track as a representative of the band. “Magic Stone” shows a certain variety in their approach, from Chinese folk to heavier rock.
The included documentary is done in a rather amateurish way, and is filmed like a touristic diary; it gives an idea of the tour seen from a witness point of view (or the band’s view mostly), like a tour diary.