Tucked away under a noisy overpass in Shanghai is Yuyintang, one of the city’s best-known livehouses, and it’s where we met up with musician Gao Jiafeng on his latest tour. His live shows are unlike other musical acts, with parts of his performance dedicated to stand-up comedy and reciting poems. Instead of a VJ, he uses a Keynote presentation as stage visuals. At one point in the show, he even receives a mini bouquet of vegetables onstage as a gift from his fans. There’s an effortless playfulness to both his music and live performances that feels immensely refreshing.
隐藏在上海嘈杂立交桥下的小角落下的“育音堂”，是这座城市最著名的 livehouse 之一，而我们也在这里见到了音乐人高嘉丰的最新巡演。他的现场演出与其他音乐人不同，一部分表演专门用于脱口秀和朗诵诗词。他没有用 VJ，而是用 Keynote 演示作为舞台视觉效果。在演出中，他甚至有一次在舞台上收到了粉丝送的一束迷你蔬菜。他的音乐和现场表演都有一种毫不费力的俏皮感，让人感觉非常新鲜。
Throughout the years, Gao has experimented with a wide variety of genres: noise music, jazz, classical, hip-hop, not to mention pop and electronic music. The expansive range of influences and sounds makes his body of work particularly hard to define. “I don’t want to be tied down by the idea of genres,” he says. “I just want to make music and I feel that ‘genres’ are something that I can use and pull inspiration from. . . I’ve learned that it’s important to embrace things that are new and different and I’ve come to embrace all kinds of genres of music.”
Listen to selects track from the album Emotional Dance Music below:
It’s a philosophy that Gao clearly demonstrates throughout Emotional Dance Music, an album that sees the talented artist tapping into disparate influences, with the most prominent being the early 2000’s electro & Japanese pop sounds, which are underlined by Eurobeat rhythms that harken back to the videogames of that era, such as Dance Dance Revolution. Not limited to only the sound design of the album, the video-game thematics also extends to the album art, lyrical content, and even a DDR-like dance game that can be purchased on his website. Together, the LP feels like the sonic equivalent of Wreck-It Ralph.
在《Emotional Dance》中，高嘉丰清晰地展现了不同流派的风格影响，最突出的是 2000 年早期的电音和日本流行音乐，而欧洲节拍（Eurobeat）的节奏则让人联想到那个时代的电子游戏，比如《劲舞革命》。不仅仅是专辑的声音设计，电子游戏的主题也延伸到专辑的艺术、歌词内容，甚至可以在他的网站上购买类似《劲舞革命》那样的舞蹈游戏。所以听这张 LP 的感觉，犹如步入《无敌破坏王》里的卡通世界一样。
The LP is Gao’s contemporary take on the sounds of the Y2K era, yet its jubilant and hurried melodies can be deceptive. As the album name suggests, Gao looks to convey different emotions with this project, with melancholy as one that sits at the forefront. “My past work was more flamboyant and gimmicky,” he notes. “But with my more recent work, I wanted to create music that was more personal, music that people could connect with.” He says he was inspired by music that uses “fake and cheesy pop sounds in an intentional way, like someone made it sounds like that on purpose for some reason… Stuff built of cliches… Beautiful, trashy cliches. Compared to [other artists], I tend to different grab cliches of a different time, like the 80s, 90s, 2000s and from a different context, to make a different end product.”
这张专辑是高嘉丰对千禧时代声音的当代演绎，那些欢快而匆忙的旋律，却显得极具欺骗性。正如专辑名字所暗示的那样，高嘉丰希望通过这个项目传达不同的情绪，而忧郁在其中位列前茅。“我以前的音乐比较张扬一点，比较有噱头一点， 然后近期的音乐会做一些比较内心的东西吧。”他说，他的灵感来自于那些“造假的、俗气的流行音效，就像有人出于某种原因故意让它听起来像那样……这些建立在‘陈腔滥调’上的东西，美丽、廉价而老套。与其他艺术家相比，我倾向于不同的抓取不同时代的老套内容，比如 80 年代、90 年代、00 年代都有，从不同的背景下，做出不同的最终产品。”
Throughout the album’s 10 tracks, Gao explores how technology has made our relationships surface level, contradictory, and ultimately complicated. The album takes the listener on a journey through Gao’s relationship with a romantic partner. It begins with elation, but as their relationship becomes more convoluted, the story takes a depressing turn. In “Everyday With You”, Gao proclaims that love is ultimately a game with no clear prize, a sad reality in today’s world. It’s a sharp contrast with “Facetime Love,” a song where their affection peaks before the eventual decline. As the LP progresses, Gao dives deeper into his meditations on heartbreak and inner conflict as well as the superficiality of love today.
在整张专辑的 10 首歌曲中，高嘉丰探讨了科技如何让我们的关系变得流于表面且矛盾重重，最终变得复杂不已。这张专辑带着听众踏上了高嘉丰与他伴侣的浪漫关系之旅。一开始是欣喜若狂，但随着他们的关系变得越来越复杂，故事的走向也越来越压抑。在《和你的每一天》中，高嘉丰宣称爱情终究是一场没有明确奖品的游戏，这是当今世界的悲哀。这与《Facetime Love》形成了鲜明的对比，在这首歌中，他们的感情先达到顶峰，再最终走向衰落。随着 LP 的进展，高嘉丰更深入地思考了心碎和内心的冲突，以及当今时代爱情的肤浅。
For Gao, it’s been a long journey to his debut album. Throughout his career, he’s experimented with music from every possible angle, from studying classical and modern composers to auditioning for the reality TV show The Rap of China. He’s also faced his share of controversy, whether it’s from Taiwanese pop star Yoga Lin performing one of his songs at a festival without Gao’s permission to criticism of Gao buying lyrics from Taobao.
Through it all, Gao has managed to carry himself with a carefree and fearless spirit, which perhaps is his greatest asset, one that’s allowed him to experiment at the intersection of so many genres and enabled him and his newest album to truly exist in a lane of his own.