Gerald Van Waes - psychemusic.org
With a bit of a confusing band name, this is not the name of any musician, but refers to the historical figure of Wang Wei, a Chinese poet, musician and painter, statesman and Taoist/Zen Buddhist who lived in the 8th century, especially known for his synthesizing visions where the observer is absorbed into the opening up and deepening visions which the conditions of the environment are able to provide.
The quartet is able to combine a contemporary classical vision with flavours of jazz-rock by using as much developing compositional and rhythmical ideas as improvisational creativity. They sound like a chamber quartet with roots in jazz as well as with a few deeper tentacles in other genres. A lot of musical themes are inspired from rhythmical changes or quick developments of different more melodic themes, the development itself holds very much the middle between these changes, where the other musicians either confirm the development more closely by adding more harmonies, or open it up even more with its own layers of improvisation, dancing and interweaving around the other organic developments creating its own rhythms and freedom in between what is happening.
Sometimes the guitar brings on a, more jazzy theme for instance, then the cello leads a contemporary theme or set of harmonies, not one moment hangs on too long. All this makes very intelligent, but also spontaneous music because it never is clear how much composition or how much improvisation is involved, this is but one energy.
I very much loved also the contribution of flute player Pierre Bernard who played with its own personality an extra layer of free improvisational excursions.
One track has many more musical themes than usual and is based upon a composition by Johann Christoph Bach, transformed into a contemporary and improvised vision with jazz-rock flavours, and mixed with other recognisable tunes and traditional and ethno-folk rhythms making an extraordinary mix of themes from it, without forgetting the improvisational flow that drives them into an overflowing composer's and player's vision.
A very strong and recommended, intelligent work with a very natural energy!