world music

Leaf Yeh 葉穎: Birth & Death 生滅

Leaf Yeh Birth and Death Album Review. Music Press Asia

Leaf Yeh has deliberated rather subserviently a subject anathema to many of us. While Birth itself observes the regeneration of new life, Death is directly the pragmatic conviction of all things mysterious and haunting. And since this celestial ultimatum cannot escape our mortal world, therefore, after-life itself takes precedence in Leaf’s expression of the present.

If there’s one way how life and death as a subject could be discussed, reverentially, it would be here. Leaf Yeh’s album ‘Birth & Death’ creative approach is reservedly poignant if not enrapturing at the same time. Although this mini-album has nine songs bundled within only half of an hour, it presents the unknown in a thoughtfully astute manner.

The first two songs are seemly introductions before more vigorous material is presented. Songs of goodbyes are generally just initiations to more complicated reactions to death. Followed with gradual tempos portraying a dreamy feeling not fully comprehending the realities, Leaf is not only being respectful but as if she discerns the anguish of loss.

Five minutes into the album, the single ‘Birth & Death’ is staidly introduced. Stumbling near to death isn’t what we’d be comfortable with. But this song is all about acknowledging, dully, the very last moments the bodily vigour can exert.

“When you do not regret losing anyone, when you not afraid of changing”

“When we stop missing anything, everything will not be embarrassing”

Admonishing the veracity of the human-to-human relationship, Leaf’s rectitude and candor highlight the few principles dealing with death as nothing too complicated for us all. And yet, no less intimidating passage towards the after-life, wouldn’t you say so?

“Strolling around, seeing the end
Sticking with the beginning without seeing any difference”
Sticking together at the moment, narrating tomorrow”
“Birth and Death only takes a blink ..…”

Click here for ‘Birth&Death’ original lyrics in Chinese.

Leaf Yeh

Perhaps the most invigorating song in the album 取巧 “Clever” comes to grips with the finality of the subsistent world. She delights in nature’s abundance, an assuredness not many can accept in “等你去再等你回, 再消失人間”, followed by “等你進又等你退我推開”. Mustering the power in nature’s ability to rectify the unequaled aftermath of life itself, the song is beautifully counterbalanced with the great sonority of the sitar and Australian wood pipe.

The song resembles Sleeping At Last’s ‘Saturn’ – an ode to the chasm that sometimes takes space in our very desolations. Similar to the vastness in space – the hollowness we stare at and often wonder about the very existence of the universe.

Contemplative as well as otherworldly, Leaf Yeh brings the inhibited self out into the open. This deluge is equally courageous in every sense as it is literally imposing. Harmoniously tranquil, Leaf’s voice demands intent contemplation in a world so void of calm stoicism.

“Birth&Death” Album (2019)
Recording engineer:周翰@Lights Up Studio、徐振程@玉成戲院錄音室、陳以霖@大小眼錄音室
Mixing engineer: Andy Baker@玉成戲院錄音室
Post-mastering engineer: Joel August Hatstat@Joel Hatstat Audio, USA

Listen to the album here. Purchase Leaf Yeh’s Birth & Death digital album here.

Reference links:

Related music recommendation: “Saturn” by Sleeping At Last.

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