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COLD FAIRYLAND

Neo-Prog • China


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Cold Fairyland picture
Cold Fairyland biography
Chinese act COLD FAIRYLAND was established in 2001, when Lin Di (vocals, keyboards, pipa, ruan) hooked up with Su Yong (bass, vocals). The two of them decided to create an album, issued as Flying Over the City the same year.

While the debut album first and foremost consisted of material previously written by the two founding members prior to meeting, their next effort was the first true band release by the outfit; now a quintet after Zhou Shengan (cello, vocals), Li Jia (drums, vocals) and Song Jian Feng (guitars, vocals). In 2003 this first true band effort saw the light off day, named Kingdom of Benevolent Strangers.

By this time COLD FAIRYLAND had started getting a name for themselves in their native country, their mix of symphonic progressive rock and Eastern folk music elements gaining popularity. And with two studio efforts under their belt, the time had come for a live album; and in 2006 2005 Live was issued.

For their next, and so far most recent studio release; Cold Fairyand did something completely different. As forewarned on their live effort, this latest excursion is an all out acoustic affair; in many ways similar to Green Carnation's The Acoustic Verses but with a distinct influence in compositional structure and overall sound from Chinese folk music. It's called Seeds on the Ground, and was issued in 2007.

The latest developments in the band are a few line-up changes; founding member Yong has left, while Xi JinE (keyboards) and Seppo M. Lehto (bass) have been added.

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COLD FAIRYLAND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

COLD FAIRYLAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 5 ratings
Flying Over the City
2001
3.57 | 7 ratings
Kingdom of Benevolent Strangers
2003
3.62 | 20 ratings
Seeds on the Ground
2007

COLD FAIRYLAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 8 ratings
2005 Live
2006

COLD FAIRYLAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

COLD FAIRYLAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Cold Fairyland 2001-2015
2016

COLD FAIRYLAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

COLD FAIRYLAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Seeds on the Ground by COLD FAIRYLAND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.62 | 20 ratings

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Seeds on the Ground
Cold Fairyland Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars This 2007 studio album was the third from Chinese band Cold Fairyland, and apart from a 2016 re-recording of material is their most recent, although Lin Di (vocals, keyboards, pipa, ruan) has been releasing solo albums since then. The line-up is completed by Su Yong (bass, vocals), Zhou Shengan (cello, vocals), Li Jia (drums, vocals) and Song Jian Feng (guitars, vocals) and this is much more of an acoustic album than the live one (the only other album of theirs I have heard), with little in the way of drums. It is far more folk oriented, with a higher emphasis on traditional instruments, yet the contrast of plucked pipa/ruan against a bowed cello is simply lush.

Lin Di's vocals are clear, emotional, and very much to the fore (although there are also many instrumentals) and the overall feeling is of a complex blending together of different styles and traditions which is both complex and simplistic at the same time. There is a real strength in the arrangements, and one is never quite sure where the music is going to go next. It is an incredibly light and refreshing album, recorded at a time when the band was quite settled and working well as a unit. I know that since this release there have been some tours and line-up changes, with Li Din also working as a solo artist, but their website (thankfully available in English as well as Chinese) gives the impression that this is still a working band and one can only hope that means we will be hearing more from these guys at some point. The live album is far more dynamic and punchier than this one, yet this has a beauty from the performances and stylings, and it is hard to pick a favourite. Both albums are worthy of further investigation and I can see I need to search out the earlier releases as well as Lin Di's solo work. With all their albums now easily available through Bandcamp, there is nothing to stop anyone discovering the melding together of Chinese traditional music and progressive rock which is Cold Fairyland.

 2005 Live by COLD FAIRYLAND album cover Live, 2006
3.93 | 8 ratings

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2005 Live
Cold Fairyland Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars A conversation one day with Olav Bj'rnsen somehow led onto a discussion about progressive rock music from China. This is an area I know virtually nothing about, as while I used to be sent material from Japan, China is a country where I have had no musical connections whatsoever. I have decided to correct that and am now playing a live album from one of that country's top progressive bands, Cold Fairyland. It was initially formed as a project between Lin Di (vocals, keyboards, pipa, ruan) and Su Yong (bass, vocals), but they soon expanded and by the time of this release they also included Zhou Shengan (cello, vocals), Li Jia (drums, vocals) and Song Jian Feng (guitars, vocals). Later in their career they were joined by a keyboard player, and interestingly the six-person band have recently been made up of three married couples.

This album was recorded live in Shanghai at the ARK Music Club in 2005, and in many ways is the perfect introduction to the band as the songs included are taken from all of their studio releases, as well as including material from Lin Di's solo albums which were available at the time. Musically, the album is almost broken in two, as there are songs which are powerful and very much in keeping with the neo-progressive symphonic sound with crunching guitars and driving drums, and then there are others which feel more traditional and folky in style. Piano and cello are also very important elements of the overall musical sound, and when they bring in the pipa and ruan (traditional Chinese 4-string plucked instruments) they totally change the overall sound.

All vocals are in Chinese, and Lin Di has a powerful and melodic voice which is totally in keeping with the music being played, and one cannot help but be enthralled and entranced by what is being performed. I am not sure if this was all recorded at the same gig, as the sound does seem to change somewhat between songs, and there are some rather weird cuts with clapping being cut off, or even not appearing at all. In many ways it feels more like a band in a studio playing live as opposed to a concert setting, and that is somewhat of a shame. That being put to one side I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed this introduction into a different form of progressive rock, and progheads ought to seek this out (all albums are now available through Bandcamp).

 Flying Over the City by COLD FAIRYLAND album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.00 | 5 ratings

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Flying Over the City
Cold Fairyland Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars COLD FAIRYLAND or 冷酷仙境 in its native Chinese language is a band from Shanghai that has received attention for combining Eastern, particularly Chinese ethnic melodies with Western symphonic prog and classical music with influences from many disparate bands ranging from Portishead to Genesis, Jethro Tull and even Radiohead however this band which was officially formed in 2001 started simply as a collaborative effort of two members: Lin Di (vocals, keyboards, pipa, ruan) and Su Yong (bass, vocals).

This debut album FLYING OVER THE CITY is somewhat of an anomaly in the band's discography because this isn't really a band at all but just these two founders recording the music they wrote together before starting the band however the start of this dark and dreamy music of the Shanghai underground has taken flight and allows the project to unfold into a more dynamic mix of influences. For this one they released an album of seven tracks that just misses the 28 minute mark so in effect this is more like an EP than a full-length album but do these things mean anything these days?

The title COLD FAIRYLAND comes from a Chinese translation of one of Haruki Murakami's books called 'Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World' and supposedly reflects the tones of the music. Many of the songs on FLYING OVER THE CITY date back to Lin Di's childhood who is the primary composer of this band's compositions over the years. The native instruments played are the pipa which is a four-stringed instrument similar to a European lute and the ruan which is a traditional Chinese plucked string instrument with a fretted neck, circular body and four strings.

At this point there is really nothing prog except some of the tracks have a post-rock sort of feel to them but the Portishead influences are much more prevalent as this is very much in the vein of dream pop oriented downtempo chill music with catchy pop melodies only in the Chinese ethnic variety. This is actually a nice pleasant mix of electronica, Chinese pop, post-rock, dream pop and a bit of crossover prog albeit on the light side of the equation. This isn't an amazing album by any means but it's not that bad either. It hosts a nice series of pleasant ethnic infused pop melodies with exotic instruments and electronica. The vocals are pretty good as well. Not representative of the band's work after this debut but a decent collection of tracks that had been in the works for years.

 Seeds on the Ground by COLD FAIRYLAND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.62 | 20 ratings

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Seeds on the Ground
Cold Fairyland Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars COLD FAIRYLAND is a band I became acquanted with on MySpace last year, and at the time I was shocked that there was a band in China that played progressive music. It was good too, at least the songs I heard. I was very glad to see them added here by Windhawk. 8 of the 11 tracks here are instrumental, and the vocals on the other three are female, and in her native language.

This album is very much an acoustic one with guitar, cello, percussion and pipa leading the way.The pipa almost sounds like a banjo to my ears but when you hear it you think China.This instrument is way to dominant for my tastes and besides i'm not really a fan of acoustic albums anyway.

I like the press release for this album that describes it as: "It's countryside is cruel and beautiful, filled with legend, rivers and forests, ghost towns and battlefields." It is an album you can get lost in with the pipa and cello dominating the soundscapes.

I think this album is more Folk then Neo-Prog, and if your into Folk you should check it out, it's quite beautiful. It's just not my style.

 Seeds on the Ground by COLD FAIRYLAND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.62 | 20 ratings

BUY
Seeds on the Ground
Cold Fairyland Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars China hasn't been the home to many well known progressive rock artists so far, for many reasons. Different cultural traditions, as well as a society that was pretty closed to the outside world for many years, means that I'm not even sure if rock music as such is popular there. Enter Cold Fairyland, a Chinese band proudly announcing themselves to be a progressive rock act, with a handful of releases to their name.

"Seeds on the Ground" is a release somewhat similar in style to Norwegian act Green Carnation and their album "The Acoustic Verses". The songs are all dominated by acoustic or acoustic sounding instruments, the bass provides a basic melody line, the guitars adds a slightly more complicated melody line harmonizing with the bass. Unlike aforementioned Green Carnation release vocals aren't a central element here though, instead violins and the traditional Chinese instruments Pipa and Ruan shares the dominating spot on these tunes, both of them adding a distinct folk-inspired and Chinese expression to compositions predominantly rock in style - although mellow in expression.

Good songs too, a few outstanding and the rest very good. Fans of mellow, progressive rock with influences from traditional Chinese music - or those who find this description interesting - have a release to check out here.

 2005 Live by COLD FAIRYLAND album cover Live, 2006
3.93 | 8 ratings

BUY
2005 Live
Cold Fairyland Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This third album by Chinese band Cold Fairyland contains a few surprises; with tunes from the past, present and the future.

There's a mix of tunes here with great variety in style and manner. Haunting, atmospheric and at times gritty tunes in a distinct neo-progressive vein is the first of two dominating kinds of tunes here, with the only elements revealing their origin being the Chinese vocals. More folk inspired compositions, with ruan and pipa included in the instrumentation, makes up for the other style having a dominating place on this CD. A few numbers mixing these styles can be found as well, and there's also songs with funk and jazz influences in here. Rather eclectic in other words.

Cello and synths are both given prominent roles in these tunes, especially the cello - as this instrument is used throughout the album. The synths aren't everpresent; but when used they paint emotional, often majestic sonic tapestries. The drum sound is big, the bass probably sounds more dominant than it's supposed to in this live recording, and the guitar is used in acoustic, clean electric and distorted electric style - depending on style.

Good songs with good drive in these live recordings - the recording quality is so and so though, not extremely raw but fuzzy and indistinct in places. Which is probably the only negative aspect of this one.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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