Exposé Online banner

Fang Chia — Above Ground
(Bandcamp no#, 2017, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-08-01

Above Ground Cover art

Fang Chia’s second album exhibited a touch of Canterbury influence in its sound, and with this newest release, that aspect of their style is brought more to the fore — not that they’ve become genre purists after two releases whose main feature was eclecticism. “The Weirds” opens the set with a sound that could easily be a long-lost National Health piece, with quirky parts on guitar and electric piano backed by busy support from bass and drums. “Rondo Tarantella” starts with a rapid arpeggio on a synthesizer, but wanders into several different areas, with a subtle drum part moving at a fast pace while other instruments provide accents at varying times. These are the defining features of the Fang Chia sound: the chords are often stacked with notes beyond the simple; the guitar and keyboards tend to go in opposing directions, one playing chords while the other provides an unpredictable melodic line, then switching it up; the drum parts are busy but not domineering, more Bruford than Peart, favoring cymbals and rims over thundering toms; and the bass parts often feature chords and harmonics, roaming freely from cavernous low notes to high tones. Vocals are only rarely present (one track), and the brass instruments only show up towards the end, with trombone featuring prominently on the final track, “Nothing New under the Fog.” At just over 35 minutes for the six tracks, everything is kept on point, without any of the lengthy digressions heard on Where Would You That We Gather? The downside of this is that another couple pieces of such enjoyable music would be quite welcome. Above Ground is a great listen front to back, and one of the gems from the Pacific Northwest this year.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Fang Chia

More info
http://media.fangchia.com/album/above-ground

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

King's X - Ogre Tones – The career of King’s X has been characterized by consistent riffing in standard rock and roll format. Ogre Tones meets the needs of their zealous fan base by emphasizing crafted pieces such as...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues