Exposé Online banner

Ourself Beside Me — Ourself Beside Me
(Tenzenmen 020 TZM, 2009, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01

Ourself Beside Me Cover art

This oddly named band is a mainstay of the Beijing avant rock scene. They take their name (an old song title), and one of their members (guitarist Yang Fan), from Hang on the Box, a pioneering Chinese band. The bad English of the name captures part of their esthetic, a punkish carelessness that belies the craft involved in this deceptively simple music. Solid drum parts courtesy of Japanese transplant Emi back Xie Han’s bass parts, which are rhythmic and imaginative but rarely difficult. Yang Fan’s guitar provides a real wild card, however. Often she plays individual notes that interlock with the bass lines in unexpected ways; at other times her parts consist of bent notes and noises. About the only time she plays chords is on their cover of Lou Reed’s “Oh, Jim” which she attacks in in an appropriately noisy fashion. (In a live setting they’ve been known to play “Interstellar Overdrive” but it doesn’t appear on the CD.) Other instruments, like melodica and toy xylophone, are used for accents, and Zhang Shouwang of Carsick Cars provides keyboards on one track. The vocals (all in English) tend to be low-key, almost chanting, with lackadaisical harmonies. These three women seem to shrink from the spotlight, but it’s not insecurity – they just don’t care about the ego-driven aspects of rock, contenting themselves by insinuating their music into your head and defeating your expectations of what a Chinese “girl band” should sound like.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Ourself Beside Me

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Hodgkinson - Pragma – This is a disc of difficult music since the listener must have the discipline to hear the "big picture" and not get caught in a scattering of perceived dissonant ideas. In the composer's own words:...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues