Underground Sounds: Black Kirin – Xiao Shao

Label: self released
Band: Black Kirin
Origin: China

‘Xiao Shao’ is a reference to a musical movement in the mythological Emperor Shun’s time. The album is an acoustic, unplugged version of predecessor ‘National Trauma’. That means this is an almost pure folk ablum delivered by the Chinese group, which is mighty interesting to listen to.

Black Kirin has been around for a while and has members in the ranks that have been active in The Samans, Skeletal Augury and Anthelion for example. China may have one of the most unexplored scnenes, partly thanks to the language barrier, so finding this gem is a greatly exciting thing for me.

The music features traditional instruments and an overal vibe you’d associate with the Chinese sound. Unfortunately my best reference seem to be attractions in theme parks and the Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft, but the tranquility of the sound, the swooning, wailing instruments (instead of vocals) that take the center stage and the playful, natural way of delivery seems mighty familiar.

Some parts of the album feel more like listening to a Spanish guitar, but what is most stunning is how the beautiful songs emerge when you strip them completely down. Melancholic and fragile, the songs appear to have a strength of their own to them and evoke an imagery that is timeless and unbound by cultural components. It easily fades to the background, but if you focus on the intricate guitar play, this is a marvelous record to experience. The way the songs break down and lift up again, the tremolo guitar and purity of it.

This is some definitely beautiful music from another world. It opens up the roots of the black metal the band creates normally to the listener and it’s a little miracle what you find then.

 

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