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Showing posts from March, 2011

Launch Day For The Solianos' Pusaka - A Biased Review

Today is important to The Solianos and Leslie Loh, we are all so excited to want all Malaysians to listen to the album. Its not about making money or anything superficial, its because we think we have more than just an album. Its an immediate must-have, a classic ... I can say that confidently.

I am not in the music industry even though I have a role as Executive Producer - its a long story but I am so glad to be involved in some minor way for the creation of the album. The launch has been greeted by willing participants once we told them what we were doing. The launch will be emceed by Mahadzhir Lokman. The guest list is nothing short of stunning. We are expecting a strong crowd of close to 300 people, some of whom include Pak Lah (who will officially launch the album) and his wife Jeanne, Ahmad Merican (the composer of Tanah Pusaka), Yong Ming San (The Star's chairman) and many CEOs from various big corporations and many many friends and relatives of the soliano.

My very biased …

Relevance Of Slumdog Millionaire To Asia

Came across the DVD of Slumdog, rewatched it and still thought this was a brilliant movie. However I still remembered how many Asians were deriding the movie as exploitation or showing poverty porn. First and foremost, its a bloody good movie, pass me the papadams. Secondly people, its a movie. Thirdly, its fiction, although it was based on 'real events' and 'real people'.

Why is it that when a movie portrays disturbing images on the screen, there will be citizens and politicians yapping that its a dishonour, a disgrace, a slap in the face to national pride and/or to national dignity. People, its a MOVIE. The only kind of films that you may get offended if they portray your country or its people wrong is IF its a DOCUMENTARY - repeat after me, D-o-c-u-m-e-n-t-a-r-y, now go look it up in the dictionary. If its a documentary, its should be like a snapshot of history, go and refute it if it never happened or did not paint a full picture.

If its not a documentary, then its a…

US Home Prices To Fall Still

Gary Shilling is to be respected, he has a great read on housing market in the US and has been correct for more than 20 years. If its true, basically interest rates will be kept very low for an extended period, which is good for all stocks.

Last October, when everyone was jubilant about the housing "recovery," Gary Shilling of A. Gary Shilling & Co., predicted that house prices would fall another 20%.In the five months since, house prices have resumed their decline. In his most recent research note, Gary sticks by his "20%" decline prediction. We've included a summary and updated charts from his argument below.Housing: Great Expectations vs. RealityLast spring, many believed that not only was the housing collapse over but that a robust rebound was underway. Investors were crowding into foreclosed house sales and bidding up prices in California, often the bellwether state for new trends.The tax credit of up to $8,000 for new homebuyers that expired in April …

Album Review By Hi-Fi Unlimited
March 26, 2011A Tour-De-Force Pusaka

We (a couple of us with a few hifi dealers) just came back from a listening session at ML's house on his latest audiophile project: The Solianos "Pusaka"- remembering Alfonso Soliano.

One word sums up our feelings: Sensational.

Firstly, we would like to let you know that this recording is done at KL's most expensive studio in TTDI, The Ark Studios. It is the same studio used by Jacky Cheung and George Lam in their respective audiophile albums recently. You could detect the same tonal color and airiness, that is the hallmark of this famous studio, except that Pusaka's recording is way better than either Jacky's or George's. We seriously think that is because of ML's expertise here and no other reasons.

Secondly, this is most likely the first Malay audiophile album in the world and the first of its genre in Malaysia that is being mastered by…

How To Buy The Solianos Album Early!

do you want to own a piece of history?
do you want to own the first vocal harmony album by a musical family who sings and plays the instruments?
do you want to own the first malay jazz audiophile album in the world?
do you want to own possibly the best-sounding malaysian album?
presenting to you "pusaka" from the most talented musical family in malaysia!

look at the glorious artwork of pusaka! this is our most elaborate and sophisticated inlay design to date, thanks to the immense talent of our graphic designer, manjii hwang!

manjii has spent weeks to do his research on how to present solianos in their most glorious state. his choice of colours is spot-on and photography from pacino wong (you studio) perfectly complements the artwork. so far, the feedback on the inlay design has been great.

there are two version of pusaka:

1) premium edition: wooden box, with a inlay booklet, velvet lining inside. limited to 1,000 copies only. retailing at RM69.90. this is a fully imported ve…

April 9th - Get Your Tickets Early!!!

While I am sooo excited with the upcoming release of The Solianos' Pusaka album, which I think will take the whole country like a storm (in a good way), I am also very keen to attend the upcoming concert featuring JZ8 (Lydia), Zyan and WVC Trio. It should be a wonderful night of classic Chinese oldies and Chinese bossanova music.

Book early people!!!

testing out vivitek projector in bentley music auditorium

The evening will be centered on classic Chinese oldies and the artistes will only do very few songs from their albums. The repertoire will include those songs below (plus a few from their own albums):

夜來香  (Ye Lai Xiang : Fragrant Flower) Original Singer: Unknown

秋夜 【原唱:白光】 (Qiu Ye : Autumnal Night) Original Singer: Bai Guang

魂縈舊夢 【原唱:白光】 (Hun Ying Jiu Meng: Recurring Old Dreams) Original Singer: Bai Guang

永遠的微笑 【原唱:周璇】 (Yong Yuan De Wei Xiao: Forever Smile) Original Singer: Zhou Xuan

花樣年華【原唱:周璇】 (Hua Yang Nian Hua: My Glorious Years) Original Singer: Zhou Xuan

忘不了的你 (Wang Bu Liao De…

The Solianos' Album Launch

Readers will know that I am quite involved with The Solianos' album. Its been featured in Daily Chilli. My role was as Executive Producer of the album, remember to get your copy.

The Solianos launch new album By Rizal JohanThe Solianos have a new album on the horizon called Pusaka (translated as Legacy) and it will be officially launched this Tuesday (March 29), 6pm at Bentley Music, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.The vocal harmony group, consisting of Irene Soliano, Isabella Soliano, Velantino Soliano, Rizal Soliano, Coni Soliano, Tristano Soliano, Tricia D'Cruz and Salvador Guerzo, have been a mainstay live act for almost 30 years known for their seven-part harmonies and a repertoire which includes jazz and popular standards.The album is produced by local audiophile label, Pop Pop Music, and is dedicated to the memory of their late father and local jazz giant, Al…

A Country Song You Should Listen To

Seriously, I am not a big fan of country songs. Somehow the really good ones can tell a good long story in a song. About 10 years ago there was this guy who took the country charts by storm called Collins Raye. Great country voice, and he had this big hit "Love, Me", which had everyone in tears. If you haven't heard it before, bring out the tissues.

I read a note my Grandma wrote back in 1923
Grandpa kept it in his coat, and he showed it once to me
He said, "Boy, you might not understand, but a long, long time ago,
Grandma's daddy didn't like me none, but I love your Grandma so.

We had this crazy plan to meet and run away together
Get married in the first town we came to and live forever
But nailed to the tree where we were supposed to meet instead
I found this letter, and this is what it said :

"If you get there before I do
Don't give up on me
I'll meet you when my chores are through
I don't know how long I'll be

But I'm not gonna let you dow…

Most Reliable Car Study, Mini Is Last

Source: J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study SM Reliability survey ranks Mini last, with Porsche pipped from the top spot. Mini is the least reliable brand of car you can buy, according to a new US long-term dependability report.The 2011 JD Power survey reveals the BMW-owned British brand experienced more problems with its vehicles than any other manufacturer in the US during the past 12 months.The US-based report measures the number of problems per 100 cars that owners experience during the first three years of ownership – meaning the lower the number, the better the reliability.Mini ranked last with 221 issues per 100 cars despite an overall increase in dependability rankings - more than double the issues of the Ford-owned Lincoln (101 per 100 cars) that became the first American luxury brand to top the list in more than a decade.Mini’s parent company improved marginally from 165 to 164 issues, b…

Gimme A Long Black Please

I love my coffee, be it from Starbucks, Illy's, Ipoh white coffee, Vietnam's drip style... they are all good. According to Mercer's 2010 cost of living survey, a cup of coffee is about $8 in Moscow, $7 in Tokyo or Paris and $4 in New York. Cash-strapped caffeine lovers should head to Buenos Aires or Johannesburg for a cheaper cup, where it is about $2.20. Here in Malaysia, its about $2.00 on average (we are using USD for all prices here). In Australia its about $3.00. You can say that coffee at these western establishments are really a ripoff. That's why your grandma knows better. Ever try bringing your grandma for a cuppa at Starbucks, she would vomit blood at the prices. Can't blame her cause her cuppa is only $0.50 ... how in hell do we end up paying 6x. Even white coffee cost only $0.60-0.70 and thats pretty good latte already.
But, its not easy to operate a coffee place really. The diagram beloiw depicts where the money goes to for every $3.00 cup o…

Musicals To See Before You Die

Here is my list in order of preference, the musicals one should see before they die. Its a good list to take with you when you retire or have the time and money to indulge. At any one time, I think Broadway would have at least 1/3 of the shows below still running or reprised.

My Fair Lady
Les Miserables
Phantom of The Opera
La Cage aux Folles
West Side Story
The Sound of Music
The King & I
Sunday In The Park With George
Sweeney Todd
South Pacific
A Little Night Music
Funny Girl
The Lion King
Mamma Mia
The Jersey Boys
The Producers
Guys & Dolls
Porgy & Bess
Finian's Rainbow
Little Shop of Horrors
Fiddler on The Roof
Into The Woods
A Chorus Line
Young Frankenstein
The Music Man
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
Hello, Dolly!

Musicals are know for their showstopper tunes. I have included a few that stuck:

The showstopper in Les Miserables, Do You Hear …

Who The Heck Is Stephen Sondheim?

If you read my interest in my bio, I list musicals as one of them, actually I love musicals so much I might be a bit gay. Its unfortunate we do not get much of that sub-culture being in Asia because musicals are so much fun. The storylines and songs are better because they all have a backdrop. When conversing with friends who also said they love musicals, when I mention Stephen Sondheim, not many would know what he had done.

The first layer of musical 101 would be loving to bits The Sound of Music, The King & I , West Side Story (Bernstein / Laurents) and My Fair Lady. If you did not dig beyond that, you have a whole treasure trove to unearth. The ones behind some of the greatest musicals had to be

Rodgers & Hammerstein:
The King & I
The Sound of Music
Flower Drum Song
South Pacific

Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe:
My Fair Lady

Stephen Sondheim basically was the musical force in the 1970s-2000s, though many would not have the chance to view a…

Five Millionth Readership

Well, reached the first milestone of five millionth page views. It was slow in the first year, to think I was so happy 5 years back to even see just 200 readers a day. Now its 4,500-6,000 visitors or 5,500-8,000 page views a day depending on the markets, lol, its a real sign, if its down the markets are down, and vice versa.

Something to celebrate I think. Considering its just Malaysia mainly. Sigh ... if it was an American blog, I guess I could be multiplying that 10x, then maybe can really monetise it.

So, anyone wants to buy this site for RM5m???

Facebook, Groupon and now Zynga

How to sell nothing and get people to buy nothing for a lot of money? Can you call it nothing. We are talking of Farmville and their creators. Its Zynga and its now worth $7bn-9bn thanks to all you game addicts. ... "oohh, see my lovely crops ... I have baked a pie ... I need a shovel" ... yea, shovel this.

Farmville ... where you buy a little piece of make believe.
Sydney Morning Herald:Mark Pincus has amassed a $US1 billion fortune selling bits and bytes that have no intrinsic value to an army of virtual farmers and city planners. Every month, 275 million people sign on to one of Pincus's addictive games, paying real money to buy virtual seeds and crops in Farmville, to construct fake buildings in CityVille or to expand their criminal empires in Mafia Wars. Pioneers of the "virtual goods" market, Pincus's company Zynga - just three years old - earned $850 million in revenue last year and is now valued at between $US7 billion and $US9 billion, accordi…