Dingwei: Untied – album review
Dingwei – Untied
LP / CD / DL
8 / 10
23 June 2017
Chinese electroc pop act releases her new album. Hiapop Blog’s Unarmed Bandit reviews for Louder Than War.
I have had very little exposure to the music coming out of China but if Dingwei is the benchmark, I’ll be finding out a bit more. Her music falls into the electro category, underpinned by some gorgeous classical overtones. Once you add in a voice that transfixes you, the result is amazing.
For the uninitiated, the sound is reminiscent of The Cardigans, but this is a little bit of a disservice to Dingwei who seems to be taking the genre to new places. I would highly recommend listening to this with high quality headphones or through an amazing surround sound system. The subtleties are the thing that separates this from the competition.
Moving on to individual song recommendations is a very difficult thing. Each track is a joy to listen to and despite (or possibly because of) the language barrier, your senses are heightened to every change in rhythm or cadence. However, as part of my job is to make such recommendations, I will say Gypsy is the track to get yourself acquainted with Dingwei. There are two versions of the track on the album. The first is the Chinese version which starts with minimal instrumentation and a hypnotic vocal line before being lifted up with a gorgeous string arrangement. On the second version, the dynamic is still there but if the translation is correct, it gives an interesting insight into her mind. It also lends some credibility to her stature in the music world when it’s Suzanne Vega who adds the English vocal in an amazingly good match for the lyrics.
All in all, it has been a fantastic experience getting to know Dingwei through this album but it now means I have to search for her previous albums just to put Untied into context. That’s my excuse anyway.
A genuinely amazing album.
All words via Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.