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Zhongyu biography
ZHONGYU (Mandarin Chinese for "finally") is a quintet formed in 2012 by Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Jon Davis. This prevalently studio project also includes three members of fellow Seattle outfit MORAINE - Dennis Rea (guitar), Jim DeJoie (flute, baritone sax, bass clarinet) and Alicia DeJoie (electric violin) - as well as drummer Randy Doak.

Zhongyu's music is influenced by the time spent by Jon Davis in China; other prominent sources of inspiration are free jazz, RIO/Avant-Prog and KING CRIMSON. Their self-titled debut album was released in September 2016 on New York-based label Moonjune Records

Raffaella Berry (Raff)

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4.00 | 3 ratings

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 Zhongyu by ZHONGYU album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 3 ratings

Zhongyu Eclectic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally published at:

This is a gem!

I have to thank Leonardo from Moonjune Records for introducing me to amazing bands / musicians / projects that nowadays are creating wonderful things. One of them is Zhongyu, this US project in which members of Moraine (a band I like a lot) team up with Jon Davis and Randy Doak in order to create an experimental and instrumental album that gives only satisfactory results, gathering the talent of its members and the cultural backgroun they have, in an album that has inherent Chinese motifs (such as the band's name or the cover art) and mandatory progressive arrangements in which bands such as King Crimson cannot go unnoticed.

Here we can enjoy 12 tracks and nearly an hour of experimental music made by veterans that have a lot to say and offer. It opens with "Apple of My Mind's Eye 2" a short and weird introduction that leads to "Tourture Chambers of Commerce" which since the first seconds shows a tense and dark atmosphere that later opens the road to a new journey, a journey full of colors and nuances that will bring to our memory the mighty King Crimson due to the stick and strings, including the amazing violin that puts even a more delicious condiment to an already incredible dish.

The oriental reminiscences come next with "Iron Rice Bowl Has Rusted", in which a quite different sound appears, giving us calmer atmospheres and folkish passages created by typical oriental instruments and the exquisite use of wind instruments such as flute. One can easily enjoy the music and dive into the Chinese culture. "Hydraulic Fracas" is hypnotic, relaxing and mesmerizing at the same time. First it brings us a kind of chaotic flute introduction and then little by little other instruments joins and together build up a new structure that put some tension to the atmosphere. Some minutes later violin appear, and flute, guitar, bass and drums make together a solid experimental track for the likes of progressive rock lovers. "Tunnel at the End of Light" is a great exampe of what progressive and experimental rock are, taking in one hand some Crimsonian elements and in the other hand some RIO nuances

The Chinese motifs comeback with "Apple of My Mind's Eye 1" which is as short as its second (but first) part. "Half Remembered Drowning Dream" is a difficult song, I mean, it could be one of the weirdest tracks here due to its difference from the previous ones; here it has a soft sound and countless atmospheres that you either notice or unnotice, I must be honest but I did not catch it the first times I listened to it, in fact I don't really remember it sound, but I remember that it caused me some strange feelings. But well, the slow atmosphere continues in the first moments of "Sleepwalking the Dog", but later it becomes more interesting and spacey, reminding me of some Gong tunes.

"Wanderland Wonderlust" returns with oriental / Chinese reminiscences; folk passages beautifully created by violin, flute, strings and percussion, all the instruments, all the musicians have a crucial role in this song and in the whole album, all are equally important. This song is wonderful, in fact. "Cat Hair All Over It" is a short track in which stick speaks with guitar, creating an experimental dialogue in which later other instruments join. "MBBL" has a jazzy feeling which is almost mandatory due to the addition of a trumpet, howeverm, the word "experimental" is always present in Zhongyu's music, giving us vivid moments of avant-garde. The album finishes with "All Food Comes From China", which as you can imagine, bring back the traditional Chinese instruments and sound. Atmospheric, relaxing and introspective, a nice way to finish a pretty original and wonderful album, highly recommendable without a doubt.

Enjoy it!

Thanks to raff for the artist addition.

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