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Zhongyu: Zhongyu

Zhongyu is a project led by American musician Jon Davis who has been involved with music since the '70s. After spending three years in Beijing, China and returning to Seattle he decided to form a band of like-minded musicians, realizing his dream of making music not conforming to any specific boundary. The players include Jon Davis (Chapman stick, guzheng, Mellotron, ARP 260), three members of the eclectic prog band Moraine: Dennis Rea (electric and resonator guitar), Alicia Dejoie (electric violin), James Dejoie (baritone saxophone, flute, bass clarinet) as well as Randy Doak (drums, percussion).

The name Zhongyu means 'finally' and according to the liner notes refers to Davis finally finding the right players that suit his musical vision. This is very diverse and eclectic music mixing jazz, world, fusion, eclectic progressive rock and Chinese music into one big melting pot of sound. The first track "Apple of My Mind's Eye 2" is an eerie and dark sound collage of drones, distorted guitar and Chapman stick. Heavily distorted bass begins "Torture Chamber of Commerce" where fuzzy toned guitar riffs meet tantalizing flute lines making for a clearer presentation of avant-garde progressive rock. For a more Chinese influence try the oriental flavoured "Iron Rice Bowl Has Rusted" and "Apple of My Mind's Eye 1" , both featuring a nice guitar melody. The jazzy prog of "Tunnel at the End of the Light" features an extra fat bass line, wonderful flute trills and psyche inspired guitar laced with reverb. The music certainly travels down various paths and nowhere is it more fully realized than in the proggy jazz of "Hydraulic Fracas" where the tribal sounding drums and Middle Eastern motifs meld together seamlessly.

Zhongyu is certainly one of the more adventurous albums I have heard this year and fits well within the confines of Moonjune Records. Recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Apple of My Mind's Eye 2 (2:06)
2. Torture Chamber Of Commerce (4:42)
3. Iron Rice Bowl Has Rusted (3:45)
4. Hydraulic Fracas (8:03)
5. Tunnel at the End of the Light (4:05)
6. Apple of My Mind's Eye 1 (2:02)
7. Half Remembered Drowning Dream (5:20)
8. Sleepwalking the Dog (6:41)
9. Wanderland Wonderlust (5:31)
10. Cat Hair All Over It (2:10)
11. MBBL (4:51)
12. All Food Comes from China (6:27)

Added: August 24th 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 477
Language: english

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