Loud Sounds 103
Bagedai – Ya Luo Hei

Bagedai is a traditional piece from the Wa people, an ethnic minority from Yunnan.

The song starts with a dreamy guitar melody, later picked by trumpet. Then the choir takes over. The celebratory melody is undeniably beautiful and its essense is paradoxical: it's undeniably joyful but has a certain sadness, a sort of awareness that life is not just cakes and ale.

The song is arranged as a reggae piece, this genre being "a musical language the Wa have found connects with them, just like metal connects with Mongolian traditional music".

Da Zui
Mostly life hasn't been easy for the Wa people, living in the forest growing what we can and making up the rest through foraging and hunting. A lot of the old songs are lamentations about the toughness of life that our ancestors had to endure. Maybe because of this, when we get together, and we do have something to celebrate, we tend to go absolutely bananas! That is what Yaluohei is about.
Brian Walker – Before the Roof Caves in

It's an extremely energetic and catchy number about the struggles of an independent musician. There are a lot of details that will catch your ear: little repetitions, delay throws and, of course, the pitched up vocal chop and that little high note in the chorus. Read on to learn how the song was written and recorded.

Brian Walker

I came up with the idea of "Before the Roof Caves in" based on my struggles as an independent musician. I often write lyrics and melody simultaneously, so it was the chorus that I came up with first and recorded into my Voicnotes App on my phone, while driving to a show. It sat there for a year, and I found I kept singing it to myself and was relating to the hook even more a year after I wrote it. I decided to just make a beat under it for fun, to see if there was anything there. The plucky synths in the chorus were the first thing I came up with, and I knew immediately that this was a song I was going to finish and release. Sometimes things can sound good in your head, but not as good when you actually put the ideas down, so I was excited when I could immediately see the vision for this production. I recorded and mixed everything myself in my house. I record vocals in my living room, using a Kaotica eyeball around a condenser mic to minimize room reflections, and then I mixed everything in my childhood bedroom, which I've turned into a recording studio. I also reference my mixes on my car speakers, on headphones, and everywhere I can find a different set of speakers, to make sure my mix is translating on all systems. The chipmunk-sounding vocal chop in the drop is my own vocal recorded into my iPhone mic and altered with effects. The song was cathartic for me to write, and I hope that listeners will be able to relate to this song with their own experiences.
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