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
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more