Elysian Fields — Transience Of Life (May 7, 2020)US flag  Elysian Fields — Transience Of Life (May 7, 2020)
Elysian Fields — Transience Of Life (May 7, 2020)
Location: New York, NY, United States of America
Album release: May 7, 2020
Record Label: Ojet (US) / Microcultures (France)
Duration:     51:17
01. Prologue To A Dream Of Red Mansions
02. Transience Of Life   4:28
03. Vain Longing
04. Spurned By The World
05. Separation From Dear Ones
06. An Outsider Undeserving Of Love
07. Sorrow Amidst Joy
08. A Life Misspent
09. Union Of Enemies
10. The Indifference Of Heaven
11. The Birds Scatter To The Wood Elysian Fields ©Photo credit: Edwina Hay
✹   Vocals: Jennifer Charles
✹   Guitars, Bass: Oren Bloedow
✹   Keyboards: Thomas Bartlett
✹   Drums: Sam Levin
✹   Violin: Dana Lyn
✹   Piri: Gamin Kang
✹   Background Vocals: Ella Hunt
•   Produced by Thomas Bartlett
•   Drum Recording/Mixing: Sam Levin
•   Additional Engineering: James Yost
•   Lyrics: Cáo Xuěqín
•   Except “An Outsider Undeserving Of Love” (Bloedow/Charles/Chen/Bartlett) and “Indifference Of Heaven” by Warren Zevon
•   Cover Image by Michael Keum
•   Design by Ojet Studios
✹   Cáo Xuěqín’s 18th century novel, Dream of the Red Chamber, little known in the West, is a Chinese national epic, occupying a role in the literature of China roughly akin to that of Shakespeare in English. With its principal plot arc of two beautiful, sensitive and aristocratic young people whose love affair is doomed, the play it most resembles is Romeo and Juliet. Despite this resemblance, the fabric from which Dream of the Red Chamber is woven is shot through with many unfamiliar and unsettling threads. Punishment and power relations, sexuality and servitude, the supernatural and the insuperable decrees of fate speak of a milieu doubly alien. Looking in Cáo’s crystal we not only peer through the walls of strange and distant mansions, but backwards through the ages, to a China in the waning days of the Qing dynasty, still rapt in dreams of antiquity, as yet unruffled by the western winds of modernity and mercantilism soon to buffet its shores.
✹   We were asked to set some of Cáo Xuěqín’s poems, in translation by Yang Hsien~Yi and Gladys Yang, to music. The unworldly mood and motifs of love, disillusionment, concern and grief fit perfectly with our own sensibility. The idea of the impermanence of all things has long been a central one for Elysian Fields; in the author of these ancient lines we found a kindred spirit. Another fellow traveler, cross~cultural storyteller Lu Chen, joined us to co~write a song to go alongside these poems. A final song was found surprisingly in the catalog of the late Warren Zevon, whose “Indifference Of Heaven” seemed almost to have sprung from the same pages.