white White (CD, £13.75)label: Potomak
'White' is the self-titled debut album from one of the most talked about bands to emerge from the Beijing underground. Produced by Blixa Bargeld at Einstürzende Neubauten's studios in Berlin, White is the starting point for recognition of new music from China. Together, Shenggy (KORG MS-20, drums, percussion, sampler, vocals) and Shou Wang (guitar, organ, pedals, dome theremin, vocals) have conjured a sound that is part electronic shimmer, part cosmic industrialism. The heartbeat of the band, beneath Shou Wang's delicately bowed loops and slashing atonal freak-outs, is Shenggy's MS-20 analogue synthesiser, generating everything from a seismic, murky techno pulse to Gristle-esque waves of distortion and, crucially, her rich, bright vocals that unify and personalise these trips into the Asian ether. As would be expected of an album produced by Blixa Bargeld, beneath the heart-stung melodies and urban anxiety, there are oblique percussive flourishes and an attention to textural detail, as during recording the band had full access to Einstürzende Neubauten's unique collection of rhythmic tools. This is the sound of Beijing in 2009 - hypermodern, Chinese yet defiantly aware of the world beyond.
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