Chui Wan — Bai Ye (White Night)
(Tenzenmen 128TZM, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-04-01Seems like most of the bands coming out of China these days fall into one of two camps: they're either noisy art-punk or post-rock. There are also straight-edge punk bands, metal bands, and others, but I seem to encounter them less often. Chui Wan is a relatively new entity, formed in 2010, and they fit only very loosely into the post-rock bin. There's a heavy dose of psychedelia in their sound, and lots of influences from around the world, particularly the Middle East (as on this CD's title track). The guitar is sometimes very noisy, with that Sonic Youth inspired wall of sound so many Chinese bands favor, but more often, it is keyboards and electronic sounds that dominate. I haven't heard much from this corner of the globe that could be called space rock, but at times Chui Wan qualifies, with trippy synthesizers echoing off into the ether. I think the vocals are in Chinese and English at various times, though they're so buried in the mix that it's hard to tell — this band is about sounds, and words are of interest only insofar as they are sounds. "Another Kind of Love" is a perfect example, with its sunny psychedelic mood and chiming guitar arpeggios; a catchy melody is sung, but wrapped in so much reverb only an occasional word is discernable. The CD finishes off with "Mingri Weizhi," at over ten minutes by far the longest track. The name could be translated "Tomorrow Never Knows," but it doesn't seem to be related to the Beatles tune (other than having a a droning background and similar tempo). The band has the good sense to break up the track with lulls in the rhythm. With its guitar feedback, echoing keyboard, and chanted vocals, it's a little trip on the road paved by Acid Mothers Temple, though without sounding derivative. My only real complaint is that at a mere 37 minutes, there's just too little of it!
Related artist(s): Chui Wan
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.