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

2018-02-15
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

2018-02-14
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

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Garmarna - Hildegard von Bingen – When I first heard that Garmarna’s next album was going to consist entirely of music by 12th Century composer Hildegard von Bingen, I was a bit concerned. But I was assured they weren’t going New...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues