Publishing this before the actual album is out because I’m scared the album won’t live up to the teasers.
pipa X hard dance ✓
kunqu opera X future bass ✓
Triple pun and triple entendre ✓
my favorite ancient Chinese novel ✓
Every detail of 耀乐团 Yaoband’s new album teasers is tuned to perfection. Reflections in a Garden 镜花园 is an upcoming concept album inspired by Flowers in the Mirror 镜花缘, a nineteenth century fantasy novel known for its explorations of various dystopias.
The first teaser opens in a garden. The music opens with future bass, then goes to guzheng as the teaser reads “Disturb the waves by washing one’s clothes in the milky way, clean oneself of star dust.” The metaphor uses several wordplays. Disturb (波动) can also refer to the plucking of a zither instrument such as the guzheng, clothes can also mean baggage, the characters for the milky way literally mean silver river, and dust is often used to indicate mortality in Chinese.
The song then samples a line from The Peony Pavilion segment A Walk in the Garden, “Without visiting the garden, how could I have known such beauty ? 不到园林,怎知春色如许. ” The opera’s protagonist then falls asleep in the garden and meets and falls in love with her otp in a dream. The teaser reads “Searching for a dream of the past to meet oneself in parallel universes.”
As the camera walks through the garden the door is made more visible. Outside, one sees the clouds and shiny light. The narration is a long metaphor about washing off star dusts (dust is often used to represent mortality) in the silver river (Chinese name for milky way), then ends with the line, “To find light, or to be found by the light.”
Also note that both trailers use a circle frame since circle ( 圆 ) is a homophone to the last character of both the book ( 缘 ) and the album (园 ). The original novel’s title itself is also a triple entendre, referring to the reincarnated hundred flower fairies that are the novel’s protagonists, reflections of the world, and also the idiom 镜里观花 that refers to things that can be seen but not held ( i.e. flowers in a mirror).
The second trailers with a line from the novel – 宁可湿衣，不可乱步 “I’d rather get my clothes wet than change my pacing.” In the novel, the phrase was used to describe some fishermen so restrained by rules that they won’t move to avoid getting wet from the waves. Oh, and those fishermen were described to look like square boxes, aka the opposite of a circle.
As the music leaves the pipa, the “rather” and “won’t” are crossed out, changing the motto to “Can get wet (pun probably intended), can lose pace.” The cross out effect is then applied to “Style”, “Length”, and “Soundwave”. Finally, the teaser reads “Music has no rules” followed by an announcement of the album.
The first track of the album drops on September 5th, and the other nine tracks will be released over the next 22 days.