Exposé Online banner

Wang Wen — Eight Horses
(Tenzenmen 163tzm, 2014/2015, 2LP/DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-08-15

Eight Horses Cover art

By now it seems kind of pointless to argue that there is no such genre as “post-rock.” There are way too many bands around the world with too many similarities to not be a thing. Maybe that thing should be called something other than “post-rock,” but at this point it’s too well established and understood to change, so we’re stuck with it. But to specifics… Wang Wen hail from the northern China city of Dalian, and have been going for more than ten years now, with Eight Horses following a string of albums defining and refining their style. This is mostly-instrumental music mostly using rock band instrumentation (guitars, bass, drums, keyboards), and their general modus operandi is to start tracks quietly and slowly build to loud, dramatic climaxes. Tempos are never too fast, and transitions are almost never abrupt. So far, so post-rock. Where Wang Wen have always set themselves apart is with some unusual guitar techniques and the quality of their melodies, as well as occasional (and increasing) use of other instruments. Trumpet figures prominently on Eight Horses, and cello appears on several tracks as well, both providing welcome variety in texture and timbre. There are also a couple of departures from the normal structure of Wang Wen pieces. The opening track, “Northern North” (I’d translate the Chinese title as “North of the North,” but I’m not in charge), ends with a brief section where trumpet and keyboards jump into a jerky triplet rhythm, then are joined by a chorus of voices on the same rhythm, almost like the intro to an offbeat RIO tune. But no, it’s just the last 20 seconds of a 10:25 post-rock track. “Ten Thousand Buddhas” similarly ends with a break from the established flow. But those are just a couple of the small moments that make this album work so well. Another departure is the occasional use of very harsh vocals, almost like a refugee from a death metal band had crashed the session. This oddity is less welcome, though considering the whole, it’s not a fatal flaw. The final track, “Welcome to Utopia,” is a real gem, and worth the price of admission on its own.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases, 2014 recordings

Related artist(s): Wang Wen

More info
http://tenzenmen.bandcamp.com/album/eight-horses

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Abiogenesi - Abiogenesi – It's should be pretty clear from the outside what you're in for on the inside. Front cover: is it Dracula walking away from his latest victim? Back cover: a graveyard! And inside the the booklet among...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues