MoShang – Chinese Chill
Journal of a sound jeweler.

Kou Chou Ching – Black Heart (Soft Center Mix)

Kou Chou Ching

 

Not long ago, I met a Taiwanese hip-hop band on MySpace called Kou Chou Ching. Kou graciously bought both my albums and I offered to do a remix for them. Well, I’m right in the middle of a remix for their track Black Heart and I thought I’d share my excitement about it. On the one hand it’s really exciting to be collaborating with Taiwanese artists again (I collaborated with singer Sonja V. from Taipei on Chill Dynasty – whom I incidentally also met on MySpace) – besides rapping in a combination of Mandarin, Taiwanese and the aboriginal language Hakka, Kou Chou Ching also incorporate traditional Chinese instrumentation in their music. Since I only understand a little of the Mandarin (and nothing of the rest), I’m kinda reduced to looking at the vocals as percussion – emotional percussion; I don’t really see this as an impediment. On the other hand, I’m really excited about the way the track is coming along; it had me bopping around in the studio a bit yesterday (!) – always cool when that happens!

Return to Innocence

Speaking of Taiwanese aboriginal music, Mark Forman phoned on the weekend asking if I remembered who the band was that got sued by a Taiwanese aboriginal singer. First I’d heard of it, so I looked it up on the net and it turned out to be German group Enigma. They had a huge hit with a track called Return to Innocence (that’s the album cover of the single above) in 1994. It was later used to promote the 1998 Olympics and was also used in Virgin Atlantic’s advertising. Difang, a traditional singer of the Ami people of Taiwan was watching TV one day and was shocked to hear himself singing a traditional song on a world-wide hit. There’s more on the story here. I had no idea those vocals were from Taiwan… live and learn.

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4 Responses to “Kou Chou Ching – Black Heart (Soft Center Mix)”

  1. pretty interesting story. does it make you nervous at all using found sounds in your work? đŸ˜‰

    i find it sort of ironic that a song about innocence induced a lawsuit. didn’t it even occur to enigma that they should seek permission from the singer??? i mean, if the guy was on tour at the time they made the recording, he’s obviously a professional…

    i’m still imagining how it must have felt to be watching tv and going, “wait a minute — that’s me!”

  2. Hmmm, well yeah – it does make me think twice about what I use and how I use it. There’s that gray area where nobody is sure what is allowed and what is infringing on another artists rights.

    As far as I know, though, Enigma grabbed that vocal off a recording. Taking someone’s recorded performance and basically making an arrangement of it is just begging for trouble. Especially in the rare event that your track sells millions of copies and gets the amount of attention “Return to Innocence” did…

    In fact, I’ve been thinking about this a fair bit and would love to come up with a hard and fast rule for myself that feels morally right. If anyone knows one – do let me know. Isn’t it the same deal with with artists using found objects in their art? Did Andy Warhol ever get sued for using the Campbell’s soup can design in his famous reproductions? (Somebody asked the same question in an unrelated  blog comment here – apparently Warhol was not sued). Wait we’re talking about found sounds here, not sampling…

  3. Hi Jean,
    FYI-Hakka is not an aboriginal language but a Chinese dialect.Hakka people were original from Henan central China. Good posting though and am very excited about hearing this mix.

    It’s all good brother.

  4. Oops – thanks for setting me straight, Mark! The Kou Chou Ching remix is coming along really nicely; though Kou hasn’t heard it yet, they think it might be included on their first label release next year (they do have an independent CD for sale). Cool! Remember to check out Deep Forest – they trod a similar path to Enigma in the 90s, incorporating world music sounds. I listened to quite a bit of both these bands long before I was making music as MoShang. Though I don’t usually site them as influences, they’re definitely somewhere in the mix.


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