China’s Wang Wen have been active since ’99, this being either their ninth or tenth release. That being said, the band have not changed their approach which is still powerfully atmospheric instrumental music, albeit this time with a heavy post-metal influence. Yes, I’m talking modern-era Pelican as a huge influence. The only real difference here, is that the disc offers much more than just a bunch of post-metal riffs and some synths. Actual atmopshere is being built within each of these tracks, allowing for a different flow and vibe to each piece. Sometimes things can get down right melancholy, while at other times things can get a bit psychedelic. It’s almost like a sort of depressive trance, as the melody section seems to deviate between sorrow and wonder almost entwined in such a fashion that it doesn’t even make logical sense. But this is music, and music doesn’t really have to make sense, just so long as it works and sounds pleasing to the ear. This is where Wang Wen succeed, even though it might be a little too chill for some of the Tower denizens. Yet at the same time, it’s also just a little bit grim – you just have to sit down and listen to it for a while. Wang Wen really aren’t making happy music, the violins making quite sure of that. I’ve only known two things a woodwind instrument was best at, which was either turning me into a veritable sobbing mess, or scaring the living shit out of me. So that being said, is there a little bit of fright to the album? Perhaps they may have been influenced by the NES game which seems to be referenced in the title? It’s hard to say so for sure, especially when the mood can change from brooding to ethereal to earth-shattering in a matter of seconds. Though that’s what makes Wang Wen such an interesting little act, because we never really know where this journey will take us as a great sort of mystery seems to unravel itself as we keep our ears peeled to the speakers. The kind of music produced here isn’t overly happy or sad, more or less exploring the rhythm of life itself.
(7 Tracks, 73:00)