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Aural Analysis

'CompilAsian' showcases eclectic talents
Born In Chinese president Eugene Song's latest project displays diverse aural pleasures
Joe Nguyen, editor
May 11, 2007

CompilAsian: A Collection Of Asian American Music

Various artists
(Born In Chinese, 2007)

What exactly is “Asian-American music”?

When Eugene Song launched his Born In Chinese record label, his mission was to help promote Asian-American artists. Using his connections to the Asian-American music scene, he produced a compilation album featuring 12 unique artists and bands.

The songs on CompilAsian: A Collection Of Asian American Music span a number of different genres, from jazz-infused folk to ambient rock to power pop. The album showcases the eclectic talents of independent Asian-American artists across the country. Despite its egregious combination of the words “compilation” and “Asian,” the CD offers a number of aurally pleasing tracks.

The Ides’ “Two Separate Pictures” features haunting electric guitar plucks, an airy bell loop and deep percussion. Lead singer Andrew Choi’s soothing, bright vocals convey meaningful lyrics about the band’s feelings toward Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK. It is the most politically charged song on the album.

Isul Kim’s intricate lyrics against being treated like an object come alive in “This Fever.” A rich ensemble of guitars set a bluesy tone to the song, complementing Kim’s full vocals.

Unfortunately some songs fail to distinguish themselves from the generic mainstream sound. Blip Blip Bleep’s “A Little While Longer” gets lost in the shuffle with its lack of composition and dull vocals.

Simplicity does not necessarily mean substandard as Cynthia Lin proves in “Skipping in NYC.” Lin’s sweet, lucid vocals are accompanied by a plain guitar melody. The octave changes on every other guitar pluck create a lighthearted bouncing rhythm.

CompilAsian offers a taste of different artists, each with their own distinct musical flavor. Although a few songs detract from the overall quality of the album, there is enough substance that warrants this CD to be a welcome addition to one’s collection.

For more information about CompilAsian: A Collection Of Asian American Music, visit http://www.borninchinese.com.

Joe Nguyen is the editor in chief for asiaXpress.com. You can contact Joe via e-mail at joe@asiaxpress.com.

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