Last year’s release of the Buddha Machine and the subsequent hype surrounding it brought to light the previously almost unheard-of Chinese electronic music scene. If FM3 are anything to go by, it’s surely one that more people need to keep an eye on.
Hou Guan Yin demonstrates that FM3 can hold it together without a gimmicky box to put their music in. Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian teamed up with Chinese rock drummer Dou Wei to make this beautiful live recording.
In a way, the fact that it’s live is one of the most amazing things about this album. It is outrageously laid back and delicate. It sounds as though each little sound ought to have been obsessed over for hours on end.
The music is every bit as unobtrusive as the Buddha Machine, although it is not looping the same short section of music over and over again. Some of the album is pretty standard — albeit pleasant — ambient droning and bleeping. It all comes together, though, with the inclusion of Christiaan Virant’s loose guitar playing and Dou Wei’s restrained drumming. It sounds effortless and beautiful.
My personal favourite track is ‘å’ (most of the tracks are untitled, but Gracenote and Discogs both bring up Chinese numbers for them all — this is track 10), where the gentle drumming and blissful guitar playing are delicately matched with some carefully selected vocal snippets. Just listen to it if you can; it’s a treat.
You had better read the description on the Lona Records website which will bring you much more understanding of what’s going on in this album. I’ll just say that I think it sounds great and I’m certain that this will be a favourite CD for me to zone out to in times to come.