Infinite x MTV K First Showcase
Beijing, China

Beijing’s Chui Wan Surfs Your Brain Waves

Beijing’s Chui Wan Surfs Your Brain Waves
Photo courtesy of Maybe Mars/Credit: Lulu Chow

Silvery Surf Guitars From China's Northern Capital

By Beverly Bryan
November 15, 2012

Name: Chui Wan (吹万)

Where They’re from: Beijing, China

When They started: 2010

Genre: Psychedelic Surfgaze

Most Similar: Tame Impala, Grizzly Bear, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Acid Mothers Temple, The Flaming Lips and Animal Collective, but actually they’re nothing like any of those bands

Sounds Like: Late-period Beatles on drugs that weren’t invented until well after The Beatles broke up, with maybe a whisper of Tropicália.

In this day and age surf rock is usually just a fun musical additive. It makes cool fuzz-pop sound even cooler. That tremolo guitar and those driving raves ups are always welcome, but they are rarely sublime. Chui Wan, a new quartet from Beijing, takes surf rock to a transcendent place.

Their debut album White Night is a psychedelic masterpiece that embraces every mind manifesting element of popular music from Captain-Beefheart flavored saxophone skronk to jerky post-punk rhythms along the lines of The Fall. These elements float in a warm solution of liquid jangle, reverberating shoegaze, and psyched-out space rock with a hint of East Asian melody. But it’s the prominent surf guitar leads that makes their sound truly psychoactive. Where most surf-inspired music is is raw and blown out, Chui Wan goes in for crystalline guitar tone as hard bright and sweet as that multicolored rock candy that comes on wooden sticks. If you are at all suggestible it might lead you to a deep sense of oneness with the universe, or maybe just with several obscure musical subgenres.

The bands intellectual underpinnings are as deep as their sound. They take their name from a Daoist text on the relationship between human beings and nature and draw inspiration from the radical Japanese experimental rockers Les Rallizes Dénudés. The are currently melting lucky minds in China’s underground rock clubs, but the world needs to hear this noise now.  The album is out on the great Chinese indie label Maybe Mars, but here’s some video because time is of the essence.

Return to All articles