A guzheng slowly transforming from natural to mechanical.
“Phoenix Rising” is an album rooted deeply in meditative hues. Mindy has often created abstract and curious Chinese music before but this album is possibly her most contemplative to date.
Wang’s music always showcases the guzheng and alongside this beautiful instrument sits lots of jangly percussion, Chinese flutes and keyboard synths. Only occasional vocals appear and they rarely speak. It is as if the album is charting the birth of a spirit and whilst the Phoenix often means fire, this album feels like water. From the cosmic synths that bubble and drone with “Undercurrent” to the plucked bends of “Ferrofluid” the album is always in motion. It isn’t often the music really chars you or blazes in fury or grandeur. Instead, Mindy is happy to twist metallics and bows into obscure sounds to sound like a claw is unfurling.
Having said all that, the album does grow more technological and industrial over its runtime. As you move into “Activation”, electronic beats and bleeps kick us towards a futronica vibe. Deep bass ploughs through modem noises and celestial synths. It is more like a stirring of a beast though, as the mood returns back to the mysterious calm with closer “Stirring Flower”. It matches the beauty of the early tracks on the album. My personal favourite “Mother River” features vocals from Claire Edwardes, giving the track an eerie vibe too. All of the tracks have collaboration involved too, both in writing and recording. It gives each track its own unique character which I appreciated.
If you are interested in music that creates moods over instant melodies, Mindy Meng Wang will be up your street. Whilst the music rarely hits you with big catchy hooks, it nails an ominous mood. Yes, it’s calm, but there is a powerful stream of tension running underneath that keeps you on your toes. File under interesting and experimental.
Recommended track: Frosty Mountain
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