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White +

Maybe Mars Rec. White + (CN,2012)***

White started as a solo project and appeared first during the No Beijing movement when Shouwang, frontman from pop group Carsick Cars, formed the guitar sextet White Ensemble for a performance at the China avant-garde music festival “Sally Can’t Dance.” Out of this White 2J was formed, a rock duo that further worked out their more experimental ideas. Early 2010, local live venue D-22 started hosting a weekly experimental event called Zooming Night, something which became the inspiration for the further development of a musical underground movement. At this venue one could try out new music and new ways of performance. Shouwang himself remained central to this community from the start. Together with Wang Xu (The Gar), he set up the experimental project White+ (White Plus). They described this latest project as a “hardware electronica band” with Shouwang in charge of vocals and customized keyboards, pedals and loops, while Wang Xu plays drums and a sampler.

Their approach shows elements of electro and rock minimalism, electro-pop and avant-garde but above all showed a deliberate reference to the early Krautrock minimalists, now playing their own style in between Götsching, Kluster, AR & Machines, Neu and Kraftwerk. It is no surprise that they recorded their album in Berlin, I still cannot figure out if Blixa Bargeld, (Einstürzende Neubauten) really participated once in this album or not but his name and reference surely were mentioned.

The album is divided into different colours, with black and white to start and end with and some colours in between with red as a conclusive track.

You can hear how a few voice samples were used in it. The first track is the most modern and experimental one with a tiny world of rhythms and a processed vocal sample composition. After that, the rhythms are more regularly dominating like early sequenced based music (“Silver” sounds a bit like early Kluster, in a slightly more instrumental-electro-pop direction). “Purple” has a marimba improvisation, calm harvest-leaves, like a windy white noise movement, a small sample of the dry voice of William Burroughs followed by a more dominating layer of synth and drum rhythms. “Green” reveals more piano minimalism mixed with synths, and is rather simple in idea. A bit of fuzz sounds and strange effect keep the duo in between electro-pop, krautrock and underground 80s wave music. “Orange” is the track with several guitars and drum machine with piano that sounds closest to AR & Machines. “Yellow” with vocals is a bit like a simplified Kraftwerk with a more stoned effects and with more sequenced and vibrating minimalism. “White” is more like a minimal wave-rocker, still with sequenced hypnotic and cosmic elements. The last and rather rhythmical track, “Red”, keeping the wave rock underground effect in it by using some fuzz guitars, has rather rapping vocals by Bejing singer Han Lei. It also shows a few small noise/distortion effects being added to the music.

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