Friday, June 10, 2005

I bought a Beyond cd, but all I got was a lousy recording and a bunch of cards...


'beyond forever' cards. everything looks cheesier as a trading card.

Mention the name Leslie Chan Kinn Tim to a longtime Beyond fan, and they will probably scowl at you. While he was the first to believe in Beyond enough to release records on his own label with his own money, and was instrumental in setting up their later commercial success with Cinepoly, his relationship with the band in more recent times has been sour.

He was the one who spotted the band at a concert, and promptly signed them up on the spot. He saw their potential commercially, signalling an end to their independent days. He also helped to have Cinepoly Records (a subsidiary of Polygram) sign them, which one could say was a fruitful partnership, under which they produced platinum and gold selling albums. The band's signing to Warner Music in 1992 signalled the end of their association. In the Beyond mythology, Leslie Chan himself probably makes a fair representation of the human form of ideals and musical purity vs commericalism and a wider audience.

To Beyond fans such as myself, he remains an enigmatic figure. What are his motivations? What lead Beyond to split with him? What does he value in music, if anything at all past commercialism? There are brief mentions by Beyond in articles to their ex-manager, but as far as I have read (not a lot, mind you, because of my lack of Chinese ability) not much more than denouncements.

I would believe that most of the earlier songs released by Kinn's Music are still owned by him, which leads to periodic re-releases of these otherwise hard to find records. CD, DSD, MD, HDCD - the re-releases have appeared on any number of these formats over the years.

Beyond in the past has asked fans not to purchase these cds, as the band had no rights to these recordings, and seeing them as just yet another attempt by Chan to make money.

Fans lament over the moral dilemma - do I deny this money grubbing manager his profit, or do I deny myself the opportunity to listen to these early recordings unavailable elsewhere?


'beijing concert' and 'the real beyond I' cds.

I am a bit of a sucker for completism, even if my conscience says no, so I have two cds, plus an old cassette. The Beijing concert, dating back to 1988, is probably equivalent to a bootleg, sounding suspiciously mono. It also comes with a packet of "Beyond Forever" cards, with pictures from the time of the Africa charity visit. Somewhere on the sleeve, it suggests if you want more cards, to write to a certain address...

The other cd is one from "The Real Beyond" series from sometime in 1998. There were also CD+VCD versions of these later, in a shrewd but annoying marketing move. But more importantly, these contained unheard early demos with ubiquitous titles like "Southern All Star" (had they been listening to the Japanese band?). Sometimes they were just Ka Kui recording ideas with his acoustic guitar; other times they documented the band playing around with arrangement and suitable vocalists for the song.

The cassette consists of a 1988 concert (simply titled "88 Concert") and a version of the 'Forever Waiting' EP. The title track from the EP is eighteen years old already, but the punk ethos and youthful fervour hasn't changed. One of my favourite tracks is 'Metal Maniac', where double kick bass drums made an appearance before their rehashing in the uber-metal grunge period.

What happened to Leslie Chan after Beyond?

As of 1997, Leslie Chan was running a record label, Red Star, in China. The reportedly successful singer/songwriter Zheng Jun was signed on, but later broke his contract by simply leaving. Chan attempted to sue Zhang. According to Chan, "these practices would never happen in the West, but they can happen in China". As to whether the label is still running, it probably died out a while ago, but I can't discern from the information on the internet.

Recently Beyond secured a publishing deal with Universal, and Kinn's Music is also under the same label, suggesting that the two are closely associated. There may be a process in which Beyond slowly buys back rights to their earlier work. In fact the anniversary song, 'Crossing Twenty Years', originally written by Ka Kui many years ago as a demo without lyrics, had to be bought back before they could use it in the final recording by the band, and in the 20th anniversary concert.

But there continues to be releases of the old Beyond recordings, suggesting Chan may still have the rights for a while yet (and perhaps this might be his only musically related income). Last one I saw was a DSD cd combining the 88 concert plus the soundtrack to the film 'Black Wall', typically characterised by ugly artwork.

If this is the only way to listen to these recordings, what other choice do we have? I would suggest that anybody in posession of these cds group together and offer to bootleg them for other fans, thereby bypassing Leslie Chan altogether. Please leave a message in the comments section! Because after all, it's their music that should live on, not his bank balance.

11 Comments:

At June 12, 2005 9:34 PM, Blogger Artkruger Letchmi said...

Woh hoh~ Scary entry on Leslie Chan, he should be boycotted.

 
At June 12, 2005 9:40 PM, Blogger Artkruger Letchmi said...

Its very difficult to get Beyond related cd and vcd in Singapore...
I'm looking for their concert vcds/mv vcds/movies but its almost impossible~

Is there any version of their concert vcd ( esp 91') available in the market?

 
At June 13, 2005 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The '91 concert CD was re-issued last year and should be available in some CD shops, if not through yesasia.com.

The difference between the re-issue and the original - the dialogue bits are no longer separate tracks but rather, mixed in with the song performances. Rather than a double CD jewel case, the CDs are now contained in a flimsy package. But still worth having this great concert.

 
At June 22, 2005 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good stuff. it's nice to see someone write about beyond in english.

 
At June 24, 2005 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey rachael, it's really nice to see someone doing a blog on beyond, especially in english (cuz i duno how to read much chinese either, and im a huge beyond fan). well i guess there has to be a reason for leslie and beyond to split up all their connections and stuff...don't think that leslie guy will be successful without beyond tho, but without leslie i don't think there'll be beyond...so....*shrug*
keep up the good work! =) i'll be back checking for updates..keke

 
At June 24, 2005 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know this is an inappropriate place and i'm very sorry, but are there english forums for beyond anywhere?

 
At June 24, 2005 11:38 AM, Blogger rachael said...

ah it's okay to ask :)

i don't really know of any, but the beyondmusic forums have an english news translation one -
http://www.beyondforum.com/viewforum.php?f=32

the rest of the forum seems to be in chinese though...

haven't come across any real english boards though. perhaps someone should set one up :p

you're welcome to join the mailing list if you like - the link is on the right hand bar.

 
At June 24, 2005 11:42 AM, Blogger rachael said...

http://www.beyondforum.com/viewforum.php?f=28

oh and the north american contingent of the board might be helpful.

(where's the australian? hahaha probably not enough of us)

 
At June 25, 2005 12:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah i'm always in the BMC north american thread, its really helpful cuz the ppl there are really nice and they translate a lot of stuff for us =)

 
At January 06, 2008 5:51 AM, Blogger Jen F said...

hey man can u copy me a copy of the beijing concerts and demo!? contact me on jenfungpang@gmail.com I dont want LChan to benefit! but i can pay u for ur cd costs and postage?

 
At September 22, 2008 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can get the 25th anniversary cd which has 3 cd's from megaupload. There's a link to the mega upload site for this cd. Am I going to get in trouble for postin this link? I just want all beyond fans to appreciate all the work ka kui has done.

http://www.essex-cssa.net/viewthread.php?tid=16531

I wish there were more but I cant find anymore. If any of you find them, can you post them? Or email where I can download other ones to
Ailin419@yahoo.com? Thanks.

 

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