Wang Wen is a 4-piece from China who have come along way in their 13 years of making music. Some of their discography is a little out there but with each release the band matured into a full-fledged post-rock butterfly. Their 2010 release L & R was by far the best work in their 7 release catalog. 0.7 Is a 7-track 45 minute that is the band’s latest offering.
The intro song is “2012” and is a very natural sounding and focused track. The track builds in intensity blissfully as cymbals crash in the background behind beautifully textured keyboard and guitar work. The song is ripe with emotion and leads way into “Rain Watcher,” which begins with very sensual piano work as an electronic noise resembling water from a hose pours into the background. The traditional Asian musical influence is prevalent in this track with the likes of string instruments and an interesting sounding chime finding their way into the mix. The song eventually gives way to a more straightforward post-rock finish.
The longest track on the album, “Lonely God” follows the soft-spoken mellow vibe. The sensual soothing parts of this album really sets it a part from the pack. The thing I love about post-rock is that you can’t fake the emotional attachment the musicians have to their music. Listening to an uninspired post-rock track and then listening to a track that has been carefully crafted by an artist who pours everything they have into their music is a night and day experience. One thing I respect about this album is that it’s been crafted to perfection. Every layer has its place and purpose and six of the seven tracks are equally brilliant and complement one another well.
One thing I really like about 0.7 is that the songs don’t really have peaks and valleys. They just continually climb higher and higher in intensity and generally end at their heaviest. They don’t tease you in the least bit and that’s the greatness of this album. I expect slow cymbal rumbles to lead into waves of crashing noise invading my ears, I want the pretty guitar to lead to pure walls of static and the sensual keyboards to transition into full-scale lightning paced and high-pitched segments.
While I give much of the album praise, “Absent Minded Theme” really kills the vibe in the middle of the album and is a 3 minute and 34 second mood killer. The song structure, the wacky bass intro and the strange timbre that sounds like it was created in a cheap iPhone app just don’t do it for me. The band also got a little too creative in some of the funky neo-jazz like keyboarding found in the closing track “Seasons.” Outside of that and the sometimes tight sound staging, there really isn’t much to complain about here. This album is solid inside and out and in my opinion outshines their last release. Wang Wen continue to grow as a band and continue to get better with age. 7-21-12
Available for $6 on bandcamp: http://wearybirdrecords.bandcamp.com/album/07