Wang Wen

Sweet Home, Go!

Written by: LL on 17/01/2018 14:11:29

The Chinese post-rockers in Wang Wen have been around for a while, since 1999 in fact, and thus "Sweet Home, Go!" that came out in 2016 is the work of a seasoned group of musicians. They have toured around these parts of Europe a couple of times and in celebration of their ongoing European tour in support of this very album, I have gone back to revisit it for a review. It represents their ninth full-length release and it is a work of beauty with a very clear sound - an essential listen for anyone who prefers their post-rock to paint atmospheres that allow for deep, almost meditative listens.

Wang Wen's music is purely instrumental (with the exception of the layered acapella effort of the final track "Reset") and features synth sweeps, strings and brass sections that mingle in select places with the guitars that are mostly in front melodically. This means that there's more than enough elements to balance out on a recording but "Sweet Home, Go!" beautifully captures both the serene moments and the crushing weight all these instruments can also produce. The first track, "Netherworld Water", encapsulates both with its melancholic staccato figure and slow march forward before the single "Red Wall and Black Wall" reels in the sound a little bit for a tighter, darker and busier track. Arguably the most noteworthy track is the piano-focused third song "Heart of Ocean" that strikes a reverberating, meditative mood and serves as an excellent example of the joy there is in listening to the plethora of unusual sounds that are part of this group's post-rock compositions, somewhat akin to Mono's or GY!BE's approaches.

The album overall is balanced well with the individual tracks changing between very open, mellow ones and more tightly wound, rhythmic ones. "Children's Palace" for instance stands out in this way with its firm rhythm and looping structure as it moves along carefree as a kind of free space in the middle of the record. My quirky personal favorite, however, appears with the odd intro riff of "Lost in the 21st Century" that builds kind of sideways into some thereminesque uncertain notes that linger underneath the more aggressive guitar up front for the duration of the song. This track as well as pretty much everything on the album has some dominating ominous layers and gives the listener a somewhat uneasy vibe but at the same time, the richness of the soundscapes makes room for this darkness to exist ambiguously side by side with pleasant or even comforting layers of music.

This is especially true when the songs open up wide as on "Heart of Ocean" and the later glockenspiel- and flute-induced title track "Sweet Home, Go!" that really serve to make this album one of those releases that slowly opens up a whole world that may seem different on separate listens for the ones that take time to dive into it. Some tracks do stand out as a bit more overwhelming than others over time, but in total, this album is well worth checking out if you have not done so already.

8

Download: Netherworld Water, Heart of Ocean, Lost In The 21st Century
For The Fans Of: Mono, Explosions In The Sky, Red Red Meat, pg.lost, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Listen: facebook.com/wangwencn

Release date 19.10.2016
Pelagic Records

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