Bei Bei & Shawn Lee Into The Wind

Bei Bei & Shawn Lee Into The Wind
As most would be incredibly hard-pressed to note any serious examples of Asian influence in popular Western music, Gu zheng player Bei Bei unites with Ubiquity producer Shawn Lee for an accessible introduction to the Far East with the free roaming Into The Wind. This experimental blending of the Chinese instrument with more familiar Western styles takes a while to find its feet though, with the stilted, canned adrenaline of Lee's "East" sounding better suited to a pyrotechnics expo than something you'd sit and listen to on record. Things take a dramatic turn for the better, however, with the slowed pace and smouldering jazz mood of "Willingness," and the dynamic give-and-take of harp and organ on the zither-led "Whisky's Waltz." Georgia Anne Muldrow's dramatic '60s approach to the sauntering "Make Me Stronger" also makes for an equally impressive union on a disc that works best when the clearly talented Bei Bei pulls back from the initial overactive sales pitch and plays on subtlety within the overall groove. (Ubiquity)