For the third entry in their Rhythm ’n’ Drone series of one-off improvised recordings, Beijing’s Gong Gong Gong assembled with Danish musicians Anton Rothstein (Marching Church) and Angel Wei Bernild (First Hate). While the Chinese avant-rock duo’s instrumentation is typically limited to guitar and bass, this March 2019 session marked their first time playing with a drummer and percussionist. As with many improv jams, the four musicians start slow, patiently becoming acquainted with each other’s approach. On the 11-minute “Grænser 邊界的邊界” (edited into a shorter excerpt for the album’s “single”), Tom Ng’s steady six-string chug provides the propulsive backbone, while the guest players add splashing, clattering percussive flourishes and bassist Joshua Frank leads the charge with burbling quivers of melody. By the second half of “Tågens Klarsyn 狂亂之間”, they sound significantly looser, as Ng’s guitar playing begins to explore a VU-indebted psychedelic ramble. “I Gudernes Øjne 神的眼中” has the most personality of all, with snare rolls propelling barbed wire Spaghetti Western riffs that recall the sonic sorcery of Rangda. Above all, it simply sounds playful. As Frank notes, looking back on the recording, “four people vibing in a room at the end of a month-long Europe tour feels a bit nostalgic at this point in time.” words/j locke
Aquarium Drunkard is powered by Patreon, which will allow readers and listeners to directly support our online magazine as it expands its scope while receiving access to our secret stash, including bonus audio, exclusive podcasts, printed ephemera, and vinyl records. Your support will help keep an independent cultural resource alive and healthy in 2020 and beyond.