This sprinkling of familiar seasoning will serve to make a very exotic musical...
Chris Moss 2005
Guo Yue was born in Beijing during the early years of the Cultural Revolution, when music and other non-Communist arts were proscribed. Relocating to Britain, he became a masterchef and a virtuoso bamboo flautist, with a classical repertoire at his fingertips in both spheres.
This disc gathers together a selection of meditative odes to the Hutongs (Beijing's medieval alleys), the dragonfly, and other staples such as kites, swans and boats, as well as intensely personal reflections on "My First Flute" and birds that pass by and leave.
Guo has worked with Peter Gabriel Sinead O'Connor and Hothouse Flowers, and performed and helped compose the soundtracks to The Last Emperor and The Killing Fields. Some of these songs are backed by a massive orchestra and feel very filmic indeed. For purists, this will seem slightly glutinous, just as the ethereal compositions will appear overly typical of the clichéd version of ancient China. But for non purists, this sprinkling of familiar seasoning will serve to make a very exotic musical tradition accessible and mellifluous. In any case, perhaps the serenity and timelessness of it all is a protest in its own right.