51 mins (CD/Digital downloads)

1. Walk at Dawn

2. Cotton Tree

3. Fog

4. A Few Showers

5. 12 Hours Behind

6. Tropic of No Return

7. Telescope

8. Imperfect

9. Spring & Autumn

49 mins (Vinyl*/Streaming)

Side A

1. Walk at Dawn

2. Cotton Tree

3. Fog

4. A Few Showers

Side B

1. Tropic of No Return

2. Telescope

3. Imperfect

4. Spring & Autumn

*9-song download included

Since the release of their debut album Crossings in 2018, Sea Island & Ferry has gathered considerable attention in the Hong Kong independent music scene as a neochamber ensemble. The past year, marked by social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic, did not stop them from working hard in the studio. Despite difficult times, the group decided to roll out their second album Telescope in May 2020.

This album sees Lawrence Man (saxophone) recording for the first time with Arnold Fang (piano), Tim Tong (cello) and Kayne Ho (xiao Chinese flute), after joining the group in 2018. These four instruments continue to be featured in the 9 songs of the projects, but the quartet also varied their work by adding electronic elements and pre-recorded loops. Also a step up from their debut, all members contributed by writing music for the new album.

"We had wanted to write about the things between human and nature in this album, for we made many irreversible changes to the planet for our own selfish gains. While making the album, we experienced a chain of social upheavals in our city. These too have brought irreversible changes to the place where we live." said Arnold Fang, pianist of the group.

Many works in the album were inspired by the nature. For example, Cotton Tree is a narrative of climate change, which has prevented normal flowering of these trees. Tropic of No Return uses the metaphor of migratory birds going south to explore the out-migration trend that reappeared recently in Hong Kong. Fog and A Few Showers are precisely the type of weather seen our city during springtime, and describes the current social climate.

Much of the previous works from Sea Island & Ferry were long pieces of more than 7 minutes, but this album included several short works of 4 minutes or less, such as Walk at Dawn and Spring & Autumn. On the one hand, this allow ideas to be expressed more succinctly, while allowing listeners to have a breathing space between the longer pieces.

Telescope, the title of one of the longer pieces, became also the name given to this album. "In this world of absurdity, we still hope for the truth and the way towards a better future to be shown. This title is like a qualifier of our limited and imperfect tools, with which we would make a record of the imperfect present and show it to the next generation, as we brave the journey ahead," explained Arnold. 

Continuing from the last album, Telescope is co-produced by Arnold Fang and Jeremy Cheng. The piano and cello parts were recorded in the Avon Recording Studios, one of the best in Hong Kong. Mixes were sent to Berlin to be mastered by sound engineer Zino Mikorey. With the works of new classical units such as Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds and Penguin Café among his discography, Mikorey added a definitive finishing touch  to this album.

In addition to digital distribution and CDs, Telescope will be released on vinyl, a first for the group. Pressing will be done on clear vinyl, which mimics the lens of a telescope. The CD version has nine songs (total length 51 minutes), while the vinyl and streaming versions will have eight (total length 49 minutes). Downloads of the 51-minute version will be included free with the vinyl record. 

© Sea Island & Ferry 2024