Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jun 23 2007

Recording with Chalaw, part 2

I met up with David at the Yuanshan MRT after work on Friday so we could catch a cab over to the studio for some more recording with Chalaw et al. Fortified with sushi from the shop at the station, we climbed the narrow stairs at the Chongqing North Road location around 8pm. The office seemed busier this time; more people were hanging around. I decided against any alcohol this time around, and had a decent warm up before going in the studio after David’s first song. Chalaw liked the sound of the mute in my black-lacquer pocket trumpet, so I used that for the first one.

Things went more smoothly this time around; I wasn’t as nervous as last time and got a couple of decent riffs in here and there. I also stood up to play, and kept my horn warm between songs, which probably helped. When David was recording I sat on a legless office chair in the mixing room, watching Chalaw and Ho-xin go through packs of cigarettes as they worked the controls. I played along softly into the mute.

During a break, Chalaw invited us to play with his group at the Hohaiyan Music Festival early next month. As he discussed where we’d be on stage I glanced at the program to see that Cui Jian and Zhang Zheng-yue, two of my favorites, will also performing there. Also, the stage looks huge. Apparently hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend.

At one point a young aborigine fellow with long frosted hair came in to record some vocal tracks. David and I stood outside talking with a guy on crutches who turned out to be in a position of some importance at the company. He was writing liner notes or some other promotional material for Chalaw’s upcoming album and wanted to know our takes on his music while the singer belted out rattling, leaping octaves on the other side of the wall. When he was done, we went in for another song.

Even though I kept my instrument warm, I was still tired after only three songs’ recording. I usually just fool around to mp3s on my computer occasionally, which isn’t really practicing. It was after midnight, though, so we packed up and followed Chalaw out to his car, which was parked along the riverside opposite Shilin. As we flashed past the light poles of the Jianguo Expressway, Chalaw wondered if we would mind playing in promotional concerts with him after the album is released, and of course we both said we’d love to.

I can’t but help feel a little out of my depth here; after all, as Chalaw mentioned himself, you can’t throw a small animal without hearing the squeal of it hitting a real professional trumpet player in this town, and they’re all better than I am. But it’s all been a lot of fun so far, and everyone I’ve met has been very cool, so I’m looking forward to seeing how things go with this. The worst that could happen is that I completely embarrass myself and my friends in front of several hundred thousand people as well as on several TV broadcasts. Eh, I’ve see worse odds.

posted by Poagao at 11:32 am  

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