Forrest Fang: Animism (CD) #CDSale

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Product Description

  1. Tailing Wind 6:49 | MP3 Clip
  2. The Chameleon’s Paintbox 6:20 | MP3 Clip
  3. Islands In The Sky 8:55 | MP3 Clip
  4. Evening Chorus 5:21 | MP3 Clip
  5. Passing Suns 7:40 | MP3 Clip
  6. A Tributary Unwinds 8:15 | MP3 Clip
  7. Sleeping Snakes 7:12 | MP3 Clip
  8. Resting Point 9:40 | MP3 Clip

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“Much of the album suggests, in an abstract yet still striking way, the world of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, a sense of flight…and majestic contemplation of the power of the natural world.” – All Music Guide

“(A) large range of vibrant sounding acoustic instruments and a few synths are at play, melting the music culture of the East and the West in a fascinating, but most of all ingenious fashion.” – Sonic Immersion

On his ninth album, Animism, Chinese-American musician Forrest Fang creates a diverse musical style that fuses timeless Fourth World acoustic instruments with a modern fractal ambient sound. Inspired by the ancient belief that all living and inanimate forms possess a spirit or life force, Fang has composed eight pieces that radiate with energy and warmth.

Fang has been making music since the ‘80s when he was part of the DIY ethos of the underground cassette culture scene. In the ‘90s, he emerged on the electronic music scene with an unique and eclectic Pan-Asian blend of exotic instruments and modern ambience. Over his previous three Projekt releases spanning the last decade, he has created hypnotic pieces featuring layers of primarily electronic sound.

Fang says, “I love hearing music that harmonizes influences from diverse sources. I feel I’ve come very close to achieving that with this release. I’ve been searching for a free-flowing sound that blends my interests in deep, layered ambient music, minimalist music, and non-Western folk and classical traditions. I try to find a common thread in these traditions as if they were part of a new hybrid style.”

“Fang has come up with a compelling Asian new-music sensibility all his own. He’s a multiculturalist’s dream: blending heterogeneous sources into rich, overpowering sonorities, with rhythmic ostinatos that won’t let you sit still. There’s too much rigor, austerity, and rumbling electronic discord for the music to ever lapse into New Age.” – VILLAGE VOICE

Besides acoustic and electric violins and mandolins, he embellishes his atmospheric textures with melodies and polyrhthms from stringed and percussion instruments such as the Turkish lavta, Peruvian bandurria, Filipino kulintang, Mexican cantaro and Balinese kendang.

The album starts off with a bang as “Tailing Wind” dissolves into a kaleidoscope of textures and a dialogue among primal drums, gongs and processed strings. The mood momentarily lightens as “The Chameleon’s Paintbox” combines the lyricism of the lavta (a Turkish lute) with hypnotic minimalism from piano, strings and evolving harmonics. With “Islands In the Sky,” hand drums and other textural percussion, along with double tracked violins and electric mandolin, support a bed of tropical ambient atmospheres. A more primeval mood prevails in “A Tributary Unwinds,” in which dan bau (a one-stringed Vietnamese instrument), Tibetan bells, cantaro, hand percussion, violin and cane flutes weave in and out of a subtle stream of tones and textures. Several ambient pieces round out the album, closing with “Resting Point,” a meditative environmental piece complemented by the elongated tones of the Marxolin, a Depression-era zither.

Animism is a celebration of life’s internal rhythms and their ultimate path to rest.

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Weight .3 lbs


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CD in ecoWallet


  1. Reviews Editor

    From Hypnagogue

    Consider the wild tangle of sound that builds up at the start of “Tailing Wind,” the first track on Forrest Fang’s new release, Animism, the orchestra warming up. Here, in one increasingly complex mass, you hear a wide variety of the sounds and instruments Fang is bringing into play. It’s a rich rainstorm of tones and timbres and feelings that Fang drenches you with before proceeding to pull out an energetic melodic line played on the kulintang, an array of small gongs struck with mallets, playing across a synth-wash backdrop. Thus, Animism gets underway, coasting and soaring on Fang’s mix of electronic foundations and earthy, acoustic instruments. Rich strings sounds form the basis of many of the tracks on Animism; Fang’s arsenal is globally sourced–bandurria, marxolin, baglama, and đàn bầu, along with their less exotic cousins, violin and mandolin. Between strumming, plucking and bowing, their pure organic feel and rhythms breathe life and vibrancy into Fang’s tracks. In “The Chameleon’s Paintbox,” all those modes of playing fall together and layer into a mesmerizing strata. It opens with a plucked melody–given its swarthy Eastern flair, I would guess it is the Turkish lavda–abetted by the singing notes of bowed strings. Other instruments step briefly out from the chorus, then rejoin the swirl of collective sound. Animism carries a very strong narrative feel as Fang spins out his scenes. “A Tributary Unwinds” begins in a dusky, dense place where careful clatters of percussion and vocal groans peek out from behind the trees; a violin, clear and high describes the course of the water. Fang modulates the pace beautifully as the voyage continues, hitting meaningful pauses that elevate the sense of story and movement. There are also deep ambient drifts on Animism. Long synth pads create the relaxed sigh of “Evening Chorus” as gentle, gong-like sounds resonate in the background. This track has a calm warmth and fading sense that really conveys the passage through twilight. “Resting Point” closes the disc out, 10-minutes of gliding, meditative washes and a wonderfully cleansing feel. Animism is another superb release from Forrest Fang, a rich work that rewards both deep listening and the many repeat plays it will undoubtedly receive.

  2. Reviews Editor

    From Igloo

    Forrest Fang returns to the magic realist blend of electronics and non-Western instruments that made mid-nineties releases such as The Blind Messenger and Folklore rich, abiding classics. Often tuning up Chinese heritage instruments, here he also reaches out for Turkish, Vietnamese, and South American instruments, mostly stringed, and a fretless hybrid called the Marxolin. In his seamless marriage of acoustic and electronic, Fang speaks a whole other language of ambient, fluently through golden syrup.

    As enveloping as it is, Fang’s music always seems to move and his mystical physics means that as soon as you’ve crossed an arched, Japanese footbridge, you’re on a path through the Carpathians, and after blinking your eyes to adjust to the light, open them on a ferry crossing the Straits of Magellan.

    The gentle, woody percussion of “Tailing Wind” carries for miles across flashing, pewter waters. “The Chameleon’s Paintbox” erects a Taj Mahal from the ground up in the middle of the desert with a simoom of strings. Gongs lightly struck seed “Islands in the Sky” that proceed to raindance. They recede, having conjured “Evening Chorus,” a spiritual descendant of Brian Eno’s On Land music and one of the single most beautiful ambient tracks by anyone in years.

    The second half of the album rises with “Passing Suns,” the second-most beautiful ambient track by anyone in years, muted trumpet-like tones flaring and curlicuing from the surface of each in succession. “A Tributary Unwinds” through reedy woodwinds and gets caught up eddies of percussion clad in swamp gas, but goes down with a beatific violin flourish. “Sleeping Snakes” in the grass turn to stars before our ears. Wherever “Resting Point” left you in particular, you watch exalted as the vessel that brought you departs and shears off over the horizon.

    One perfect hour. -Stephen Fruitman

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