Exposé Online banner

Wang Wen — Sweet Home, Go
(Space Circle SCCD01, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-11-28

Sweet Home, Go Cover art

Just like a typical post-rock track which starts simply and builds gradually to an epic climax, the band Wang Wen started with a few albums of fairly standard (but well done) instrumental music, and has gradually built up their sonic palette to increasingly diverse instrumentation. Their latest is Sweet Home, Go — the Chinese title actually means Years of Divide or Gulf of Time, and the English was chosen because of a phonetic similarity with the Chinese pronunciation rather than meaning. On it, the guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards are augmented by strings and brass to provide an expansive sound. The group is a seven-piece now, with a horn player and cellist added and the keyboard player picking up the violin he learned in childhood. The result is somewhat like other post-rock bands with extended lineups (Godspeed You Black Emperor, for example), though it maintains continuity with the band’s history. Continuity, if not uniformity — there are some notable expansions of the band’s style in the increasing complexity of the arrangements, which sometimes approach chamber rock. Leader Xie Yugang has said that the music on this album is explores a more linear style than their previous work, and one of the ways that manifests is that the different instruments operate a little more independently, with increased polyphony. Rather than just playing along with the chords or the melody, the cello and trumpet have distinct parts of their own, and different sections use different combinations. In one respect, this interrupts the strict progression of the pieces from their quiet beginnings to their climaxes, though it serves to make the music more of a journey from one place to another rather than standing still and just increasing the intensity. The rhythm section also changes up their contribution, straying from standard rock beats into more cinematic, symphonic territory. The whole thing is superbly captured by Belgian producer Wouter Vlaeminck, and the result is a moving plea to pause the rush of time, slow down and reflect on life, soak in the depth of unfolding sound.

Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Wang Wen

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

John Surman - Way Back When – John Surman (saxes), John Marshall (drums), John Taylor (electric piano), Brian Odgers (bass guitar). For many readers, that list alone puts this on the must-have list. Throw in the recording date of...  (2006) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues