"Tiān Dì Bù Rén" takes its title from an idiom in the Tao Te Ching, a foundational Daoist text credited to the sage Laozi, where heaven and earth ("Tiān Dì") are merciless, leaving humanity to fend for itself. If Mù Chè Shān Chū was youthful vigour and idealism, Tiān Dì Bù Rén is clear-eyed maturity. A gaze back into the indifferent heavens.
Over 13 songs, Howie’s signature mix of traditional Chinese instrumentation and experimental soundscapes reflect on human will and human destruction. The interplay between capitalist greed and environment degradation, the conflict between human morality and scientific ethics, the tension between global movement and local pushback. Howie’s songs are conversations in dialectic, a synthesis of opposing positions, emotions and reactions. Tiān Dì Bù Rén tackles parochial nationalism and populist anger in China, observing both Howie’s homeland and the wider world as a dispassionate sage would analyze " tiānxià" (‘all under heaven’).
Taken as a whole, the album is nothing less than a new musical language, one that combines the ancient and the modern, the Chinese and the global. Starting from, but not restrained by geography, Tiān Dì Bù Rén circles constantly around the troubled relationship between people and nature. There’s no cynicism here – just a determination to break on through to somewhere new. The Dao urges us to "Wù Wǒ Liǎng Wàng" (forget everything including oneself), and Howie Lee’s new album is the soundtrack to forgetting – a meditative apocalypse.
01. Tomorrow Cannot Be Waited / 明日不可待 / 明日不可待
02. Enter The Tigerwoods / 入老虎林 / 入老虎林
03. Mountain Song In A Jar / 瓮中山歌 / 甕中山歌
04. Taihe Blues / 太和布鲁斯 / 太和布魯斯
05. 21th Century Suicide / 二十一世纪自杀 / 二十一世紀自殺
06. The Jungle of Escaping the Evil / 弃恶丛林 / 棄惡叢林
07. A Drowning Horse / 溺水的马 / 溺水的馬
08. Sino-African Friendship Bridge / 中非友谊大桥 / 中非友誼大橋
09. Double Kings / 双王 / 雙王
10. Bird's Self-Awareness / 鸟的自知 / 鳥的自知
11. Edward's Resort / 爱德华度假村 / 愛德華度假村
12. One Water Of Red Trees / 一水红树 / 一水紅樹
13. Rejuvenation / 还童 / 還童
14. Black Clouds Unfold / 拨云 / 撥雲