Beijing duo White – keyboardist/percussionist Shenggy and keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Shou Wang – create stirring post-rock experiments on their self-titled debut recording. Indeed, the duo has been championed by no less than Blixa Bargeld, best known for his work with Einstürzende Neubauten, who produced the recording.
One can hear why Bargeld is enamored with White. In places, their use of synthesized drones, spoken word chanting, and bristly percussive interjections recalls Einstürzende Neubauten. The influence is particularly palpable on the muscularly scored “Build a Link” and “Space Decay.” But there’s a spaciousness and penchant for gradually unraveling formal designs that sets White apart from mere mimicry.
On “Conch Crunch,” their soundscaping moves into a haunting, ethereal ambience. On the other hand, “Roswitha Strunk” is fueled by distorted guitars and avant-rock gestures. On “Bai” and “Spring House,” the drones are tinged with a more Eastern sensibility, replete with bell-like timbres, plucked strings, and Shenggy’s supple vocals. One wishes that a translation of the texts employed were provided, but White’s music-making communicates eloquently by itself. Recommended.