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Post Rock/Math rock • China

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WhyOceans biography
Chinese band WHYOCEANS have been around in one form or another since 2005. The 2009 version, consisting of Luís Carvalhais (vocals, guitar), Chu Man Wai (guitars), Lam Chi Kin (bass), Tam Chi Chong (piano, keyboards, synthesizer) and Lau Chi Keong (drums, percussion) recorded their debut album "At Land", which was officially released in 2011.

WhyOceans is among those bands whose brand of post rock is recommended to fans of artists like Mogwai and Mono.

WhyOceans official website

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WHYOCEANS discography

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4.00 | 3 ratings
At Land

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 At Land by WHYOCEANS album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 3 ratings

At Land
WhyOceans Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Post-rock from the bustling streets of Macau

I'm always searching quite haphazardly to hear unique little bands from all over the globe, like a kid in a candy store. That element of buried treasures and sonic travel is one of the few things about the Web that interest me. Aside from music and history hobbies I'd rather be outside or reading a book. WhyOceans was one of those lovely moments finding a band with much to give and who've had little buzz at PA.

WhyOceans are from Macau which is a small peninsula of China near Hong Kong. The band began in or after high school in 2005 and are still together over a decade later, a testament to their friendships and work ethic. They initially were influenced by 60-70s psych and Pink Floyd before drifting into some soundtrack work, and finally the natural progression to post-rock. The fact that they must finish their day jobs before plugging in has not stopped them from growing their talents and fan base. While we may know little of them at PA they have been successful regionally and performed some decent sized gigs in Macau and mainland China, and their CD is well into a second pressing.

Their debut "At Land" was named after a 1944 film by avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren, an evocative stream-of-consciousness experience. I decided to watch "At Land" and some of Deren's other short films while listening to WhyOceans. Fantastic! One can see why they love Deren and I wonder if she didn't influence Kate Bush and even one of my favorite directors, Antonioni. In any case, the experience was like RanestRane doing their music to film and I recommend it. You can watch Deren's work on YouTube if you can't find a DVD.

While in some ways "At Land" is textbook post-rock, with wave after wave of beautiful emotional swell, you can hear the Floyd influence here and there. In one or two places it is obvious with simulation of Wall era darkness creeping in but in other places it is much more subtle. Aside from the intro the other five tracks are 7-12 minutes long and have the luxury of time to develop into pleasing little instrumental stories. Colorful lead guitar and really nice, varying keyboard textures, even some piano, and minimal vocals (which I appreciate as an instrumental rock fan). They have a wonderful confidence in finding good melody and then using the guitar and keys as equal partners in developing them, unapologetically choosing pleasing sounds over abrasion. The guitars and keys work as a tight knit unit rather than individuals. The rhythm section is inventive and there are some heavy sections that contrast the tranquility for a satisfying active listening, unlike the post-rock which some people think of as "background music" alone. There's even a bit of funky electronica. This is not one dimensional repetition, WhyOceans strives to keep it engaging. And I love the fact that the music truly feels like the product of band collaboration as opposed to the one-guy projects with other people helping out later in the recording.

I was able to enjoy a YouTube documentary of this band (Thank you 24+ Project!) which featured band interviews and footage of them rehearsing and gigging. They are in it for all the right reasons, love of music, and they often win over people who've never heard them before with their live performance. It was also interesting to note that despite how much times have changed, being in a band is a dynamic that remains pretty constant over the decades. Their practice space in Macau didn't look that different from our own despite being separated by decades and half a world.

Loved "At Land" as I often do debut albums, I love hearing youth and that special period when everything is still running on wonder. But these guys probably have a better album in them after five years of becoming more proficient and gigging. In 2015 they have a new bass player and are working on their second album. Don't miss checking out WhyOceans as well as the filmmaker who inspired them. Between 3 and 4 stars, liked it just well enough to round up.

今 晚 練 習 開 始 。 "So we start our night"

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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