Zhongyu – Zhongyu Is Chinese For Finally (2016)

Zhongyu - Zhongyu Is Chinese For Finally (2016)
Artist: Zhongyu
Album: Zhongyu Is Chinese For Finally
Genre: Fusion, Prog Rock, Jazz-Rock
Origin: USA
Released: 2016
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Apple Of My Mind’s Eye 2 [02:07]
Torture Chambers Of Commerce [04:42]
Iron Rice Bowl Has Rusted [03:46]
Hydraulic Fracas [08:04]
Tunnel At The End Of The Light [04:06]
Apple Of My Mind’s Eye 1 [02:03]
Half Remembered Drowning Dream [05:21]
Sleepwalking The Dog [06:41]
Wanderland Wonderlust [05:32]
Cat Hair All Over It [02:10]
MBBL [05:18]
All Food Comes From China [04:52]


Zhongyu is the musical project of Exposé’s own Jon Davis (noted reviewer and our web master). About ten years ago Jon spent three years living and working in Beijing, China and that immersion experience revitalized his enthusiasm for music. On returning to Seattle in 2009 he continued to explore non-standard structures and tonalities, eventually connecting with kindred spirits Rik Wright (Zen Tornado) and Dennis Rea (Moraine) and forming Zhongyu. The result, “finally,” is Zhongyu, an interesting and adventurous East Meets West fusion of jazz, progressive rock, and Chinese music. Jon brought home with him a guzheng, the Chinese traditional plucked musical string instrument that is much like a zither. Jon is quite accomplished on the guzheng, that he also plays in a non-traditional mode with a bow. Zhongyu’s twelve instrumental tracks explore multiple genres. The opening track “Apple of My Mind’s Eye 2” is an experimental track with heavy use of reverb, gongs, and sweeping analog ARP sounds. And there is a hint of a melody in there as well. The next track “Torture Chamber of Commerce” launches right into complex progressive jazz with distorted guitar, Jon’s Chapman Stick, and percussion. Fans of Present will love this track. The third track “Iron Rice Bowl Has Rusted” prominently features Jon on the guzheng, creating a hauntingly beautiful example of Chinese influenced progressive rock. Track four “Hydraulic Fracas” starts out slow with flute and some dissonance, that slowly grows on you to culminate in another fusion of world music and progressive jazz rock. This should give you a good idea of the range of music on the disc. Other noteworthy tracks are “Half Remembered Drowning Dream” which is an amorphous tone poem that sounds like it is trying to build to something, but never quite gets there, much like what you may experience when trying to draw together those elusive threads and thoughts upon awakening from a dream. Then there are the comparisons to Jade Warrior that I note on “Sleepwalking the Dog” and the closing track “All Food Comes from China.” I could go on, but suffice it to say, Zhongyu is an excellent album and something you probably have not encountered before. And since we at Exposé strive to bring attention to new and unusual musics, by all means check out the musical efforts from one our own.
by Henry Schneider