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

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...

Discipline - Push & Profit – Discipline are a young five-piece band from Detroit, Michigan, whose instrumentation includes the usual bass / drums / keys / guitars with the fifth and front man doing vocals/violin/keys/guitar....  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues