Exposé Online banner

Buyiyang — Zaochun de Yusan (Early Spring Umbrella)
(Dou Wei Music 9787880977028, 2010, CD)

Buyiyang — Ru Qiu (Entering Autumn)
(Jiuzhou Audio 9787881011721, 2010, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Zaochun de Yusan (Early Spring Umbrella) Cover artRu Qiu (Entering Autumn) Cover art

Chinese multi-instrumentalist / singer / composer Dou Wei first came to public notice as a member of Heibao (Black Panther), one of the country’s earliest prominent rock bands, back in the early 90s. Quickly becoming disillusioned with the shallow fame-seeking of commercial rock music, he left the band and has pursued a career full of variety, experimentation, and a complete lack of compromise to fashion or financial concerns. These latest releases combine traditional Chinese music, Western classical, and jazz influences with electronics in compelling and beautiful meditations on nature, or weather, or something: the 17 pieces on these two CDs are named only by their durations (“1’58”,” “3’36”,” and so on), so the listener’s imagination has to provide meaning (which, of course, is always true of instrumental music, but more so given the lack of descriptive titles). The ensemble (named Buyiyang, which means “Not the Same” or “Unequal” and is probably also a play on the name of one of his other groups, Buyiding or “Uncertain”) consists of four players in the spring, covering clarinet, flute, keyboards, percussion, and “shouji” – which is Chinese for “mobile phone.” I don’t see acoustic guitar listed in the credits, but there seems to be a little here and there. The clarinet generally takes lead in the arrangements, dancing gingerly through wistful melodies, often with very subtle keyboards and other electronics backing it. Bamboo flute is used more for fills and mood than as a lead instrument on its own. The percussion is mostly coloration, not propulsion, with only a couple of tracks developing easy grooves. In the autumn, the group expands to six and consists of guitar, keyboards, bamboo flute, drums, and a variety of Chinese stringed instruments, but the overall sound is quite similar. Plucked strings rather than clarinet dominate, and the electronics are more prominent. I’ll give the autumn a slight advantage in interest, but both present lovely alternatives to sappy Asian pop drivel.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Dou Wei

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Anekdoten - Vemod – Anekdoten are a new four piece from Sweden. This album was recorded early this year, and from what I've heard, they have been highly revered by, among others, their countrymen Änglagård. What do...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues