Author: Janelle Koh (Check out her work here)
Guo Ding’s 2016 album, Silent Star Stone飛行器的執行週期 has drawn critical acclaim in the Mandopop markets, and nominated across the board at the Golden Melody Awards this past year. That is an impressive reputation, especially for an album that was inspired by data recorders on aircrafts. Though at first glance it is unclear how a hunk of beeping metal could inspire, the notion of ‘black boxes’ is an intriguing one. What if we had these ‘black boxes’ in our journeys through life? When played back, will it tell our stories the way we would have wanted? Would a black box tell our stories at all? That is the premise upon which Silent Star Stone rests.
Guo Ding ventures forth in the lead single of the album, The Fog Space淒美地. The fog space is described by Guo Ding as a unique dream place that he works hard to reach. The song is adventurous, driven by keyboard, electric guitar, drums and Guo Ding’s voice, all of which struggle against each other, in tension throughout this song. The fluency and versatility of Guo Ding’s voice is the highlight of ‘The Fog Space’ (and some might say the album).
It possesses a timbre lean yet muscly enough to traverse the complex soundscapes that is ‘The Fog Space’. It climbs in the verses, upon sustained keyboard chords that ring out with intent, making its way through the rocky pre-chorus. It soars through the chorus at first, upon a melody line that guarantees release. Long sustained notes replicate a graceless free-fall that haphazardly brings its listener down – into the fog space, or back down to Earth? It’s hard to say. The genre of rock is foregrounded in this song as well as others, where Guo Ding draws on grungy guitar and riffs, notably in Put Your Face Down把你的外套留在深巷 and Rain Falls在雲端.