Cutting through the life and hustle of Hong Kong comes a new and exciting solo artist by the name of Oliver Cheung! He constructs skyscrapers of sound through his predominantly Progressive Rock style which occasionally dips through other mediums as well. This is all done through a well-placed instrumental approach that rivals a number of contemporaries in matters of taste and delivery.
His efforts shine through on a brilliant debut EP by the name of “Remembrance”. This record may only hold three tracks but there’s absolutely no shortage of content to be found. An abundance of musical ideas aside, the shortest track clocks in at 7:18 with the longest at 11:05. Altogether, they reach nearly a half hour of quality content. You can give a listen for yourself through the streaming link below and grab the goods for keeps over on Bandcamp if you enjoy!
The title track “Remembrance” opens the whole experience up with an intriguing atmosphere built on calm waves of sound akin to a receding shoreline before the rising sun. As it builds, the day becomes much more involved with layers of activity. This EP has an excellent control of tension, continually building up and releasing into differing states of aural catharsis. The songwriting ability is quite smooth and notable throughout with the opening serving as no exception. Funny enough, this particular track has a recurring progression which strikingly reminds me of Lana Del Rey’s “High by the Beach” though I highly doubt she was the first to use it by a long shot. All in all, this is a great way to wake the project up.
“Fragments” literally begins to chop things up into a sharper edge with some more technical, polyrhythmic flavors. It certainly boasts some of the heaviest moments on record for this EP considering it’s not a very heavy record. It also packs in and unloads some very nice riffs to hook the ears in. While standing out from the first track in a number of ways, it also manages to maintain uniformity with “Remembrance”. A strength of this EP stands in the fact that all three numbers fit very well together while simultaneously having their own traits.
“False Hope” certainly doesn’t do anything to dash my hopes of great music here. It opens with a building wall of beautiful tension that transforms into a kaleidoscope of turning layers as time progresses… all before exploding into a heavier delivery near the two and a half minute mark only to transform time and time again. This number is a map of interesting and emotionally charged musical progressions worth marking.
I don’t really have anything too critical to say about this record. At times, the clarity seems like it could be better but the fuzzy covered rough edges also seem to add character so take it or leave it. Objectively, this release won’t be for everyone but, honestly, what record is? I, for one, enjoy this music quite a bit and commend Oliver’s various talents coalescing to make it happen.
All around, this is just a fantastic instrumental release. The three tracks form a perfect kind of trilogy to envelop the ears with warmth and a myriad of levels for emotional feedback. There is plenty of life to found bursting out of this record which, naturally, also adds to the replayability factor. I myself have listened over 5 times at this point and just found more with every spin.
To wrap things up, I’m feeling somewhere between an 8.5 and 9 would be an appropriate rating for this record so let’s just round things up, shall we? It’s recommended that the prog heads of this mortal realm give “Remembrance” a go! Once again, the whole experience can be streamed through the video up above and streamed / purchased over on Oliver’s Bandcamp page. Enjoy!
It also appears that Mr. Cheung plans to roll out physical CDs at some point in the future so keep your eyes peeled for that! Follow him on Facebook to keep up to date on those discs and any future musical offerings! Should be interesting to see where a talented artist such as this goes next!