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Language Barrier

by Late Troubles

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Slow Day 03:14
It’s a slow day today so slow so slow It’s barely noon  I’m a decade old I’d stop thinking To get off the noise From my aching skin I start drinking It’s a slow day today so slow so slow 
Will you tell me how to call your name Oh it makes me thirsty for whiskey I want to learn the language I don’t know To read the narrative in parallel Babe it’s so easy Come join me The buyo dance Daruma face The murmurs and taxi and still figures in the rain Babe it's so empty Come join me Fill it with marbles Illusion made  bubbles  The glasses and fracture aided sound then fold Do you mind I plant my eyes on you Oh it feels like drunk a summer day I want to learn the language that you speak To understand what you whispered in my ears 
A Fan Letter 02:57
I had to write it down In this foreign language Rather than my mother tongue To cope with the Friday evening  feeling feeling I swim in it again over and over again over and over again Drowning in your tear from my eyes  over and over again over and over again I am scared of speaking the words that carry subtleties  Cause they will grow legs and walk away And never come back Leaving pieces missing permanently from the body I keep calling your name over and over again over and over again as it’s a circling spell carrying me back to be with you carrying me back to be with you again
Headache 03:04
Is this a headache  fluid burning dry under the skull Is this the side to take Or it's the move I have to make Is this a headache boiling like the night sits next to morning Are these recurring images reminder of forgetting Or they're illustrated fiction We are finally through Running out of magic tricks Wish time travel was real We are finally worn Losing capabilities of  delivering the words With relentless attempt to stay awake Somebody calling from distance  I want to be sent to sleep 


Late Troubles is Snapline lead singer Chen Xi’s solo project. It started as a bedroom pop affair, where he used ukulele and electronics to write Chinese songs with a latent pop quality. However after migrating to the suburbs of Seattle and an ensuing busy work and family life, Late Troubles gradually became his main musical outlet. In 2018 Late Troubles released his first album, Moon People, and since then he has already been working on his second album. However before this second album is released he decided to first gather together a few songs in the EP Language Barrier.

Language Barrier is a completely English language work, to some degree a deviation from Late Troubles’ inception as a Chinese songs project. Chen Xi wants to seize upon the witting or unwitting sense of dislocation and alienation of a newly arrived Chinese immigrant in America - to this purpose, non-native English an apposite tool. Interestingly, before starting Late Troubles, Chen Xi had written numerous English songs for Snapline. Does then Language Barrier mark a departure or a return?

Language Barrier consists of four songs: Slow Day and Language Barrier are both love songs made in offering to two cities, the former to the Seattle of Chen Xi’s working life and its incomparably slow summer weekends, the latter to New York, which he has not visited before, and yet like many others a city which fills his imagination with a wealth of images. Headache is an ode to indescribable headaches, and A Fan Letter, a letter to an idol of his. In these songs the lyrics “We are finally worn, / Losing Capabilities of, / delivering the words” and “I am scared of speaking the words that carry subtleties” speak to the theme of the album, language barriers.

Language Barrier is the result of a long distance collaboration with another Chinese immigrant in North America, Toronto producer Zuo Wei, also known as WISEFAKE. Although they have yet to meet face to face, there has been a constant back and forth of sending audio files and discussing details. Mixing and mastering was completed by Luo Keju in Los Angeles, and the album design is by Seattle designer Zhou Bailiang, a friend of Xi’s.

Chen Xi is currently writing songs for Late Troubles’ second full length album. In my conversations with Xi I’ve gathered that it will be an ambitious work concerning historical fragments from the last 200 years of Chinese immigration in North America. Just as an ink and water painting approaches a complicated subject with elegance and simplicity, so too is Xi approaching this grand theme by way of song making. Moreover, to tell this story he will return to the Chinese language. Without a doubt, it’s shaping up to be an exhausting effort, so we could be waiting quite some time before seeing it come to fruition. Until then, we might as well immerse ourselves a little while in the ‘language barrier’.

On May 18, 2020, Language Barrier comes out on Merrie Records, and cassettes will be available for sale on the same day.

Late Troubles 是 Snapline 乐队的主唱陈曦的个人计划,这曾是他私人卧室音乐项目,使用尤克里里与电子乐器,创作一些更具流行音乐潜质的中文歌曲。在搬家到美国成为西雅图郊区的新移民之后,在繁忙的工作与琐碎的家庭生活之间,Late Troubles 逐渐成为陈曦更为主要的音乐出口——2018 年,Late Troubles 发行了第一张全长专辑《月亮人》,第二张全长专辑也早已开始着手准备。不过在新的专辑发行前,他决定先行带来一些不一样的作品: EP 《Language Barrier(语言障碍)》。 
《Language Barrier》是一张全英文作品,某种程度上这是一次对于 Late Troubles 这个“中文歌曲项目”的刻意背离。陈曦希望捕捉到一个初到美国的中国移民在新的环境里有意无意中感受到的错位与疏离,非母语的英语是很好的工具。有趣的是,在 Late Troubles 这个中文歌曲项目之前,陈曦早已为 Snapline 写下了几十首英文歌词。在《Language Barrier》里,陈曦究竟是出走还是回乡?这真的有些微妙。
《Language Barrier》包括四首歌曲:《Slow Day》和《Language Barrier》是献给城市的情歌,前者是陈曦工作生活的西雅图,每个夏日的周末它都是无比的缓慢;后者是纽约,陈曦从未去过,但他像很多人一样对这座城市有着丰富的想象。《Headache》是关于自己的莫名头痛,《A Fan Letter》是一封写给偶像的信,“我们终于累了,失去传达语言的能力”“我害怕讲出含蓄的语言”,关于“语言障碍”对主题在这些歌词中一再呈现。
《Language Barrier》也是一次北美中国新移民的远程合作产物。制作人左玮(WISEFAKE)住在多伦多,他和陈曦来来回回的发送音频文件讨论细节,却从未有机会见面;混音和母带则是由住在洛杉矶的罗可居完成,唱片设计来自西雅图市里的设计师朋友周百谅。
陈曦也在为 Late Troubles 的第二张专辑创作歌曲。从只言片语中透露出的信息显示,似乎这会是一张颇具野心的作品:关于近一两百年来北美中国移民的历史碎屑,宏大的主题却会是水墨画一般化繁为简的歌曲制作,此外他也会回归到中文歌曲创作主线中。毫无疑问,这会是一个极度耗费心力的项目,我们还需要为此等待很长的时间。所以在此之前,我们不妨在“语言障碍”中,多沉浸一会儿。
2020 年 5 月 18 日,《Language Barrier》由美丽唱片发行,实体磁带同日开售。


released May 6, 2020

编曲/制作:陈曦 左玮(WISEFAKE)

Music by Chen Xi
Performed and produced by Chen Xi and Zuo Wei (WISEFAKE)
Additional vocal by Layla Chen
Mixed and mastered by Luo Keju
Cover art by Zhou Bailiang


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Merrie Records 美丽唱片 Beijing, China

Merrie Records was established in 2019 by DForce Records/Douban Music team, one of China’s most forward-thinking music labels. Merrie Records hope to discover and promote the most creative forces in contemporary China.

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