MoShang - Stone Bell CC BY NC
1. When You Come 2. Casting Off 3. Faraway Places 4. Undecided 5. Invocation 6. Waterless Well
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Stone Bel EP Album Art
cover photo: Mark Forman
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On the Stone Bell EP MoShang continues to blend traditional Asian instruments and voices with contemporary beats. He connects dots on a musical time-line that spans the ages and makes sparks fly between them. In brief transcendental moments, beats and notes align in exactly the right way for something magical to be revealed.
Stone Bell opens to the earthy yet effortless voice of Nego Elias on When You Come. Originally intended for a composition by fellow Brazilian C Dala, the Portuguese vocals* sound equally at home in this setting where a unison melody line on the bass, acoustic guitar and synth raises the excitement levels in the chorus. Rushing along at a breakneck bpm Casting Off threatens to get torn apart by its own inertia, but conversely ends up chilling in a most unexpected and satisfying way. After a harmonious dismount courtesy of Chinese jinghu, we're off to Faraway Places where eminently danceable beats collide with Japanese shamisen and male vocals in the Esashi Oiwake style of Hokkaido island. We're firmly in deep-house territory on Undecided. A suona calls out a single sustained note shofar-like as if from a mountain top. Erhu melodies are picked up, chopped, dropped, and picked up again to be echoed on the electric piano. Invocation opens with a tribal feel thanks to Japanese hira-daiko, shime-daiko. and shakuhachi. The track soon blossoms as the first shakuhachi is joined by a second in airy harmony and more of the Esashi Oiwake male vocals, this time drawn out like molasses to the point of digital rupture. Finally, it's time to lower the heart-rate with Waterless Well. We're led in this dubby meditation by the shomyo chanting of a Buddhist monk, interspersed with a koto melody that resonates down the centuries.
* used here under a Creative Commons Attribution license. The vocal track can be downloaded in isolation from