In September 2009, Beijing based label Modern Sky took three of their bands on a road trip across the US of A. You can read all about it HERE. It was the subject of some fierce debate.
The tour was actually a precursor for Modern Sky’s ambitious Sing for China album, which was in the making for a couple of years, and was released in January this year. It was a Herculean effort: 44 tracks spanning 3 CDs, featuring artists from all over the world, with a predominance understandably to Modern Sky artists. Independent record labels Kill Rock Stars, DFA, Vice and 4AD are represented, alongside a single banner name: Yoko Ono.
Huge props to Modern Sky for finally pulling this off. It is, of course, for a worthy cause (the strapline is “fight AIDS with Art”), at a time that AIDS ravaging China, particularly the South West.
We found an English language review for you on Douban, and we would like to share it with you, as it is the only commentary that we have found. It highlights the ambition of the album, but also the inherent weakness of making the album almost too big and too varied to be digestible. The words come from Chasez of 5Kao.
It’s a good idea to collect a bunch of famous artists to do a charity album, but it’s not a good idea to simply and irresponsibly put them into an album, especially into a 3-CD ALBUM.
Let’s face it, album is not merely about addition. To be a fine art, it must be arranged wisely.
This Modern-Sky-made “Sing For China” boasts of a strong point, the STARS. Ranging from international big names such as Yoko Ono、Deerhoof、Cold Cut and Ratatat to home-made superbands such as Carsick Cars and Hedgehog.
Whew. It surely can make mouth water.
Yes, it does. People run for “Sing For China” because of its star-studded content.It has a good start, winning the attention, but it fails thereafter. The most obvious weakness is the time span. “Sing For China” is too long to appreciate. 44 songs! who has that patience to listen every single song? No one does,I bet it. It’s not a wise choice to do such a long time running album, it’s not practical and out of control. It’s a economical world, the creed for doing things is “less is more”.Spending less,achieving more. So the best way is to keep the album within 13 or 14 songs, 15 to be maximum. Only in this way “Sing For China” can be truely enjoyable and then powerful.
What is the intention of a charity album? To arose people’s attention and sympathy, only a well-orgnized ablum can do that right! Strolling down the name list of “Sing For China” I only get the impression that it’s a compilation album. I can’t get any information about “charity”. Who is to blame? not me,not the artists, it’s the records company who made it.
Modern Sky has a good intention, and they have resources to put it into reality, so do not waste that resources, please do a good thing and do it wisely.