【本地薑】M.1.3 都市森林的孤魂凄美詩 - 《A Ghost & His Paintings》Olivier Cong
一個下雨天，兩眼放望窗外雨景，耳邊飄來 Olivier Cong 的 《A Ghost and His Paintings》，正合心意。「和 Olivier 算是熟悉吧？」這樣想著。「大概不。」那個軀殼之內，那個孤冷的表情之下，有一個我們不認識的 Olivier，有一個提問、反思與否定不息循環的冷靈魂。
古典弦樂的底子、學生時代的樂隊思潮、英倫的浪遊、對電影與舞台音樂的投入，Olivier Cong 這張《A Ghost and His Paintings》，就像一支被經歷撕劃刻刮的結他，一道又一道深刻的痕，成就了獨樹一幟、渾然天成的藝術品。
Olivier Cong 是一個孤遊都市的詩人。他把自己的靈魂抽離，用那冷峻的眼睛，看著自己的軀殼在都市的森林中漫步。歌曲中，雨點的聲音、筆劃上紙張的聲音、黑膠唱片悄悄地轉的聲音、整理東西的響聲，我們進入了他的觸感世界，感受他的步調；那飄渺虛無的和聲、牽引著氛圍的弦，我們猶如身處他的體內，與他一起在他的腦袋中窺探這個現實世界。
那微電影的配樂與舞台音樂設計的歷練，令 Olivier 成為刻劃的高手；在整張專輯中，Olivier 用聲音去營造了一幅一幅電影般的畫面。
《The Day We Walked into the Woods, Without a Map》中的弦樂，是打在大衣上凜冽的冷鋒；當節奏與旋律響起，我彷彿看到他仰頭張望無邊的天際，迷失於那森途樹影；《Waves》中那 Drum Machine 的 Snare Beat，緊繃、短促、輕盈、迷濛，宛然是漫遊的踱步，思考著那人生中決定的漣漪。
《Brushes》中低沉的弦為氣氛抹上重重的愁緒，再在《A Ghost & His Paintings》的迷離結他調子引領我們看那鬼魅的「他」與「他」對「畫」的執迷，那脫離現實擁抱醉迷幻想的自浪漫。
《Beginners...》那若即若離的木結他從安逸的寂靜中泛起，那喜悅不來的淡，是放得太久的傷痛，是背得太久的疲憊；『Our visions of tomorrow is filled with such sorrows』，斷不了、揮不去。《Seven Steps to Be Happy Again》是《Beginners...》的延續，正是那背負永不療癒的哀慟的人對那一點放下的不斷追尋...『For I have nothing more to give or take so come on out from that cave』。
那八二的插曲，氣氛急轉，從哀痛到那鼓動的氛圍。在弦上零星的鋼琴，在掙脫那猶豫；那噪的味道，在醞釀勇氣的一步，那《Back to the Riverside》中 Roadtripping 的一步。《Back to the Riverside》的口琴與結他，是浪人的浪漫，時間、經歷與情感都成了列車上不斷閃逝的窗邊景緻，既美麗、不捨，又短暫得無從擁有。非常喜歡中段忽然失速的弦樂過場，就像在列車飛快的畫面中時間忽然停頓，就像一生的匆匆歲月，霎眼得到一秒的人生頓悟。十分精彩！
這如詩的旅程，在《Searching for the Raven》裡驟然停下。是疲累？是躊躇？或許更像一種未能回頭的無力感。那人生的漫步裡，既逝於迅亦頓於永恆，每一小不經意的步就如一階音符，在生命中匯聚成歌 - 『Random notes that forms a melody, sounding sweetly in my ears, like the path I chose that day... like a leaf in the wind』。
在 Olivier 的音樂裡，我感受到了 Portishead 和 Radiohead 的孤寂與氛圍，也彷彿重遇音樂詩人 Leonard Cohen 的文字、自省與看透。從日常中平淡的表情與話語間，我們不可能認識 Olivier Cong；因為 Olivier 的自己只活在 Olivier 的音樂裡。
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Melodies of Olivier Cong’s 《A Ghost and His Paintings》flowed through the air in a moody rainy day. The mood fitted in well. “Am I close to Olivier after all?” I asked myself. Guess not. In that body, under his skin, there is a ghost that lives in its eternal cycle of skepticism, uncertainty and reflection.
From an excellence in classical music in his childhood to a band folk playing Muse in his school age, from a wanderer in Britain to a composer for short films and the theatre scene in recent days, the experiences been through had shaped Olivier Cong’s album《A Ghost and His Paintings》; his music is like a relic guitar that tasted all the tortures and damages from tics and tocs and aged to a one and only masterpiece.
Olivier Cong is a poet and a lone walker. He retreats his soul and observe himself wandering this concrete jungle from a third person perspective. You can hear the percussions of raindrops, the scratches of paper, the white spinning noise of vinyl and the hits and beats of homesearching, we enter his world and walk along with him through the ambience. The absorbing strings create a weightless, floating mood, it brings us to his train of thoughts; through these arrangements, we are trapped in his mind, syncing to his persepctives and views to the reality.
He is playing with his craftmanship in constructing mood and emotions through music, likely from his expertise in music composition for short films and theater scenes. He painted his album with visible melodies; the album is like a collection of snapshots of lives developed from music notes.
The poetic lyrics are not only beautifully crafted, they are the whisperings of his mind. He questions, he reflects, he is being true to himself in lyrics. His emtions dissolved in strings; we sense his highs and lows, his frustration and optimism in the string arrangement, like the blurry color tone painted on a canvas. The melody and his guitar are like his acts and moves, sometimes it sounds like he is reading quietly leaning to the candlelight, and sometimes he is wandering to the noisy, crowded streets... he outreaches with his melody.
The strings in《The Day We Walked into the Woods, Without a Map》is the winter gale that blows on the trembling trench coat; while the rhythm goes, I picture a lost man wandering in the forest looking up to the clear sky with sorrow；while the weightless, blurry snare-beats in the song《Waves》sounds like the footsteps of a troubled man, who walks with his deep thoughts on the decisions and regrets he made for his life.
Mood turns heavy in《Brushes》when the strings ring low, which is followed by the psychedelic guitar that kicks in in《A Ghost & His Paintings》and leads us to the ghost and his addiction to his “paintings”- the surreal, romantic thoughts that carry him away from truth and reality.
The peaceful acoustic guitar brightens up the mood in《Beginners...》, yet you can still feel the blue flowing in the atmosphere. Colors of emotions are whipped out by the tiredness and powerlessness after the long wait. "Our visions of tomorrow is filled with such sorrows", it is a torture by the bond of life and sorrow.《Seven Steps to Be Happy Again》is the sequel of 《Beginners...》, a story about the seeking of happiness from the man who bears the never-healing sorrow... “For I have nothing more to give or take so come on out from that cave.”
The atmosphere changes from tragic to courageous motivating mood through the twinkling piano and the distortion noise in the 《Interlude for the Year 82’》, and it echoes with the road-tripping vibe in《Back to the Riverside》. The harmonica and the groovy guitar reminds me the blushes of romance and freedom in times of hippies - the “Bob Dylan’s vibe”- and time, emotions and pieces of memories all turn into flashes of scenes from the window of the moving train. We will never be able to hold on to the beautiful, the memorable and the once in life journey of time. I love the change of pace in the music-break; it is like a motion-stopping moment when one meets a sudden revelation of life.
This poetic trip ends with《Searching for the Raven》. May it be of tiredness, or hesitations, or simply the sense of powerlessness to get back in time of regrets;“Random notes that forms a melody, sounding sweetly in my ears, like the path I chose that day... like a leaf in the wind”.
The melody, lyrics, sophisticated arrangements and the superb quality of recording are what Olivier offered to and challenged the local music scene. His courage to be himself and to make music that he loves is a far cry from the marketing- and product-oriented commercial music industry. Writer thanks Olivier for his strife for perfection and his integrity to quality music. That should be the principle of any musician.
I see the lonesome and ambience of Portishead and Radiohead as well as the poetry, reflection and revelation of the late poet and musician Leonard Cohen in Olivier’s music. You will never know the true Olivier Cong without listening to his music. You will only find his true emotions in his music.
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