Mongolian Guitar Music (label)
26 May 2018 (released)
02 June 2018
The life of a session guitarist has its pros and cons. Being at the top of your field will ensure that you're never out of work. There will always be another gig around the corner. Unfortunately, a majority of these gigs will be unable to fulfill the insatiable need for creativity. Cookie-cutter pop sessions, background rhythm guitar or (shutter) commercials fill the bulk of a session player's time and none allow the artist to express himself in any real way. Luckily for us, some of them have broken free and gone on to create lasting art with their superior talents. Booker T & the MG's, Jeff Beck and the lads from Led Zeppelin were all studio-hired guns before finding the projects that defined them.
New York-based, Mongolian guitarist Wulijimuren gave up a successful job as a session musician in Beijing to move to the Big Apple to craft his passion project. Sun of UTC + 8 tells the story of his trip from his Mongolian home (in time zone UTC + 8) to his new home in NYC. The instrumental album takes cues from classic rock master guitarists David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore and Steve Vai and blends in new age instrumentation, progressive structure and occasional hints of traditional oriental music.
'Rock Boots of Midnight at the Roadside' gives an auspicious beginning to the album. The opening synths give an anxious but excited vibe joined by thematic keys. Wulijimuren's guitar enters with pristine tone and lyrical, verbed-out lines. 'Railway Station Ulaanbaatar' gives a moment of reflection before taking the steps out into the unknown. Wistful piano dances with sparing guitar harmonics. The clatter of the passing trains comes and goes. At the halfway mark our protagonist embarks and the soaring guitar lines capture being whisked away from your home for a new adventure. 'Ticket to Hometown' brings in some of the traditional influence with mallet-like passages using the scales of the eastern world while 'Liquor of my Hometown' incorporates some heavier prog elements from modern guitar shredder tracks. Late album gem, 'Dream of Blue Mountain' paints a majestic picture where lofty guitar lines sail high in the stratosphere with airy 80s synths.
Sun of UTC + 8 is an album where you can close your eyes and be guided on a tale around the globe. Wulijimuren uses synth pads and sound effects in just the right places to give context to the breadth of emotions that he is transmitting through his guitar. This album has a universality to it that makes it feel like a story being told through the ages.