elcome to the Digital Meltd0wn Music Blog. The aim of this blog is to introduce the readers to music that is out of print, commercially unavailable, released under a creative commons license, or with approval by the featured artist. The majority of the music posted here would be considered underground. Don't let that fool you into thinking that the music featured here might be any less enjoyable than that of the mainstream artists you hear on the radio, as this couldn't be further from the truth.
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The official story behind this album is that it was a sealed promo score purchased from a Chinese citizen off of e-bay, although some think this might simply be a limited edition score that was released exclusively in China. The album I am presenting to you includes music that was actually performed during the opening and closing ceremonies, "Parade of Nations" and various other ceremonies during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. I should point out that there were several albums released under the title "Official Album for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games". There are at least two other albums released under the title of "Official Album for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games", containing the type of mainstream music that you will never see posted here. These albums have been dubbed as "the gray album" and "the white album" by collectors due to the colors of their album cover. The gray album contains music from Western pop acts, such as Avril Lavigne, Backstreet Boys etc, while the "white album" contains music from mainstream Chinese pop stars. EMI also released an album simply titled "2008 Olympics", which presents songs sung in Mandarin by various Chinese artists. This score certainly surprised me upon first listening to it. I didn't get the opportunity to watch the opening ceremonies in 2008, and I've since discovered that it turned out to be one of the most epic opening ceremonies in the history of the Olympics. I suppose I expected the music to be more traditional and reserved, which it is at times; however, it is also filled with many exciting, heart-pounding performances as well.
The first disc consists of music from the opening ceremonies, performed by thousands of Chinese artists, and directed by a variety of accomplished Chinese composers . It opens up rather weak in my opinion, but at the heart of this disc is some of the best ethnic music that I've had the pleasure of listening to. My favorite tracks from this collection are "Written Character", "Opera" and "The Silk Road", "Nature", which are all unique and exciting pieces that utilize pounding percussion, chants, natural sounds and traditional Chinese instruments, all in a more contemporary fashion. "The Entry of the National Flag", "Scroll Painting", "Ritual Music" "Before the Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron", "Starlight", are all tracks of the more traditional or reserved variety that I mentioned earlier, filled with sweeping and soaring strings, shimmering harp interludes, soft piano segments, traditional Chinese instrumentation, and are often accompanied by dreamlike choral sections. Don't let the fact that I have lumped the majority of the songs into two general categories cause you to come to the conclusion that there isn't much variety to be found on these discs. This was done simply to save time, as I am unable to do a track-by-track review at the moment. In fact, each track is unique in it's own way, as each composer strives to represent China to the best of their ability, incorporating their own distinct style and flavor to each track in the process.
The second disc exhibits the music from "The Athlete's Parade", more commonly known as "The Parade of Nations". It contains a variety of traditional ethnic musical themes to represent the various nations involved. It features three tracks from master djembe drummers Patrick Pobee (Ghana) and Warren Lieberman (South Africa), a trio of tracks featuring Scottish bagpipe, Mexican Mariachi in the form of "El Son De La Negra", "El Son De La Madrugada" and Athlet's Parade #14, traditional Australian Aboriginal music by Brenton Broadstock and William Barton, as well as several traditional and contemporary folk and classical pieces from various Chinese composers. I had hoped that the music would cover a broader range, rather than including three tracks of mariachi and bagpipe music; however, it still remains a well-rounded and solid group of selections.
The third and final disc is my least favorite of the set. The majority of the music contained within consists of pop ballads and anthems. It's just not my cup of tea, nor the type of music that I would share here on DM. Fortunately the quality of the first two discs more than makes up for what the third lacks, and I'm sure there will be a few people that actually enjoy the type of music found on this disc also.
I hope that you all enjoy this gem, which I believe is both an aural delight, as well as culturally and historically significant. If any of you can provide me with more information about this release, please help me out by taking the time to leave a comment.
Year of Release: 2008 Genre: Soundtrack Bitrate: 320kbps