Chui Wan (吹万) is a four-piece experimental psychedelic rock band from Beijing, China. They get their name from Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi’s Qi Wu Lun (齐物论), a mystical work on inner sageliness and outer kingliness. Zhuangzi writes: “谓风吹万窍，发出各种音响” – “When the wind blows, every sound may be heard therein.”
Inspired by this concept of seeking the infinite from the mundane, the core of Chui Wan’s sound is formed by the improvisational compositions of multi-instrumentalist Yan Yulong and guitarist Liu Xinyu. Their lush arrangements for guitar, keyboard, viola, other assorted instruments, and random sound samples often eschew reliable melodies and vocal harmonies in favor of occasional passages of minimal drone or maximal sonic layerings. Bassist Wu Qiong and drummer Li Zichao provide a stable ground floor from which the band can continually float away, like a sound half-heard and soon gone on a gust of wind.
Alpine Decline is a guitar+drums duo that relocated from Los Angeles to Beijing in 2010, attracted by the city’s brimming underground music scene. The band’s sound touches the nostalgic sweet spot for fans of psych, shoegaze, noise rock and ‘90s indie, without sounding too much like any of those. Their 2016 album Life’s a Gasp was recorded with longtime band confidante and producer Yang Haisong (PK14) joining on bass, conceived from its inception as a collaborative studio and live performance project.
Over the last few years, Alpine Decline has spawned a side project (under the same name), in which the core duo explores sound design/destruction via their ever-growing Eurorack modular synth system. Performing live as a duo on nothing besides their humming, haunting synths, Alpine Decline explores a totally different sonic terrain, swapping melody and beat for a deep-scrub gray matter massage better experienced while seated.
The Long Goodnight