As one of the most important avant-garde artists in China, Xiao He’s astonishing creativity doesn’t change or vanish with the passing of time, instead he becomes more distinctive and interesting. He continues playing his solo symphonies and “universal experimental folk”, which has gained him much appreciation and a glowing reputation. Xiao He and his songs have been heard in dozens of countries.
Silly’s Ballad (released 2011) was created while he was instructed to rest at home by doctors, with his feet set in heavy casts. Xiao He wrote all 12 songs with an acoustic guitar, he even recorded them while in bed and on the couch. The new album overflows with beautiful melodies and classic folk arias. Under this scene, all things seemed to return to the original. Like he writes in the album, “While I was recording [the songs], cicadas were tweeting, and sometimes even a plane passed by. I tried to record without any external sounds before by thickening the walls of my studio, but at the same time I was isolating beautiful things outside.” So, when Xiao returned to write love songs again, he was inspired by diverse colors and sounds. Xiao He is pure, and so is his music, and Silly’s Ballad.
Besides the self-deprecating title, natural feelings hide in every sentence of the lyrics, reflecting Xiao’s wisdom and philosophy. The use of narrative poems throughout the album helps Xiao He express his mystical world in sounds and words. More to the point, this folk album is released in a brand new format: not on CD, not on tape, but as a ‘musical artbook’. It is perhaps a first in the domestic indie music market.
This artbook contains 12 different pictures of leaves, drawn by Xiao He in Zurich in 2010. Those leaves lay scattered on the mountain road Xiao He walked along every morning to exercise. 12 songs correspond to 12 different leaves. Highend headphone brand 233621 has generously provided specialized custom-made headphones for this ‘album’. Their unique “INC” technology can reduce surrounding noise, enabling a totally different listening experience. Furthermore, this musical artbook also includes three music videos which were commissioned to three up-and-coming and very talented directors: Yu Liwei, Yang Jin and Zhang Yuedong. Xiao He expressed his wishes for the artbook: “I hope this album will become the glorious road along which a silly person is looking for another silly person.”