Chui Wan (吹万) is a four-piece experimental psychedelic rock band from Beijing, China.
They get their name from Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi’s Qi Wu Lun (齐物论), a mystical work on inner sageliness and outer kingliness. Zhuangzi writes:
“谓风吹万窍，发出各种音响” – “When the wind blows, every sound may be heard therein.”
Inspired by this concept of seeking the infinite from the mundane, the core of Chui Wan’s sound is formed by the improvisational compositions of multi-instrumentalist Yan Yulong and guitarist Liu Xinyu. Their lush arrangements for guitar, keyboard, viola, other assorted instruments, and random sound samples often eschew reliable melodies and vocal harmonies in favor of occasional passages of minimal drone or maximal sonic layerings. Bassist Wu Qiong and drummer Li Zichao provide a stable ground floor from which the band can continually float away, like a sound half-heard and soon gone on a gust of wind.
In 2012, Chui Wan released their debut album,White Night, on Maybe Mars, China’s top indie label. White Night was an instant critical success, and gained Chui Wan recognition and a rabid following throughout the China. Lauded as an “impressive, strikingly original debut” by Time Out Beijing and a “sterling effort” by China’s Global Times, White Night was released on a tour with New York kindred spirits Psychic Ills (Sacred Bones Records), which launched Chui Wan into the national spotlight, placing them on stage in front of packed houses in Beijing, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Kunshan, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Soon after its release, MTV Iggy touted Chui Wan’s debut album as a “psychedelic masterpiece” and declared that “the world needs to hear this noise now.” Indeed, foreign interest in the the band started grow. In March 2013, they were invited to perform at Helsinki’s NiuBi Festival, accompanied by shows across Scandinavia and France.
When they weren’t performing as Chui Wan, the members kept busy with solo performances and side projects. Chui Wan’s core members have always been central members of Beijing’s dynamic experimental music scene, leading the band to be named by Time Out Beijing as “the hardest working band in psychedelia.” In 2014, that same publication dubbed frontman Yan Yulong among the “ten Beijingers making a mark in the city” and called him “one of the leading lights of Beijing’s experimental music scene.”
In October 2014, Chui Wan returned to Scandinavia for a second appearance at Helsinki’s NiuBi Festival — where they played to excited crowds from the pervious year — and added new fans to their base with additional stops in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Talin. Upon returning to cold Beijing, they hunkered down in the studio to record their sophomore, self-titled release with respected Beijing producer Yang Fan. SmartBeijing.com, after an early listening, called Chui Wan “a more lush, dense, musical offering than their 2012 debut.”
After a marathon tour trought the US in 2015, Chui Wan is gearing up for Spring tours across Europe. True to their name, the band seems to be carried along by a supernatural wind, while the sound they make spreads to cover the world…