Chui Wan (吹万)Beijing experimental psychedelic rock band got their name from Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi and his work Qi Wu Lun (齐物论) on inner sageliness and outer kingliness. In it, Zhuangzi writes, “When the wind blows, every sound may be heard therein.” The band was thus inspired to seek “the infinite from the mundane” according to their press release.
In keeping with this, much of Chui Wan’s sound is formed by improvisational compositions of multi-instrumentalist Yan Yulong and guitarist Liu Xinyu. Their lushly arranged song utilize guitar, keyboard, viola, and other assorted instruments, as well as random sound samples. They often eschew traditional melodies and vocal harmonies, instead composing sections of minimal drone or intense sonic layerings. Bassist Wu Qiong and drummer Li Zichao provide a stable ground from which the band can continually float away, their sound like distant smoke, ephemeral, half-processed, and soon to dissipate.
In 2012, Chui Wan released their debut album, White Night, on Maybe Mars, China’s top indie label. It was a critical success, and gaining Chui Wan recognition and a rabid following throughout China. Soon, foreign interest in the the band started grow and they began touring in Europe as well as their homeland.
When they weren’t performing as Chui Wan, the members kept busy with solo performances and side projects. Chui Wan’s core members are central members of Beijing’s dynamic experimental music scene, and the group is considered “the hardest working band in psychedelia” according to Time Out Beijing. In 2014, the same publication dubbed frontman Yan Yulong among the “ten Beijingers making a mark in the city”, calling him “one of the leading lights of Beijing’s experimental music scene.”
Upon returning to Beijing from another round of touring at the end of last year, Chui Wan hunkered down in the studio to record their sophomore, self-titled release with respected Beijing producer Yang Fan. In an early listening review, SmartBeijing.com called Chui Wan “a more lush, dense, musical offering than their 2012 debut.” The new album drops May 1st. Check out their single, ‘The Sound of Wilderness’ below. Headphone listening is recommended.
Now, with the album due out in less than a month, Chui Wan is gearing up for Spring tours across North America and Asia, and a third Europe in the Fall. Check out the American dates below.
5/1: Berkeley, CA @ Starry Plough
5/2: Los Angeles, CA @ HM157
5/3: Long Beach, CA @ Alex’s Bar
5/4: Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
5/5: Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records
5/6: Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
5/9: Austin, TX @ Elevation Ampitheatre (River Stage)
5/10: Tulsa, OK @ The Fur Shop
5/11: St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
5/12: Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness
5/13: Philadelphia, PA @ Ortlieb’s
5/14: Boston, MA @ Club Bohemia
5/15: New York, NY @ Baby’s Alright
5/16: Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s
5/17: Chicago, IL @ Burlington Bar
5/18: Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club
5/19: Winnipeg,Manitoba, Canada @ West End Cultural Center
5/22: Saskatoon @ Vangelis
5/23: Calgary @ National Music Center
5/24: Edmonton @ Wunderbar
5/26: Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret (Tame Impala After Party)
5/27: Seattle, WA @ Lo-Fi
5/28: Portland, OR @ Foggy Notion
5/29: Nevada City, CA @ Cooper’s
5/30: Los Angeles, CA @ Cafe Nela
5/31: Los Angeles, CA @ Chinatown Human Resources Center
6/1: San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar