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Review: Mirrors' Debut Album 'Within An Endless Dream'

Review: Mirrors' Debut Album 'Within An Endless Dream'

Stevie Kaye / Thursday 4th June, 2020 10:38AM

Shanghainese psych-rockers Mirrors were set to tour New Zealand this February / March, a nine date tour much more ambitious than the two North Island shows that Beijing's Birdstriking played in 2017, kin to the adventurous Chinese tours that the indomitable Kiwese has facilitated with lysergic local bands like Orchestra of Spheres, The All Seeing Hand and Womb + Strange Stains over the past five years. New Zealand closing its borders to all foreign travellers from China on the 2nd of February as its first anti-Covid 19 measure, however, put paid to that dream, and for now all we have is the music on their debut album, Within An Endless Dream (featuring re-recordings of their 2017 EP, Separate Reality). Within An Endless Dream leads one to reflect (sorry) on the bifurcation of krautrock influence in New Zealand and China. Here, you can call us Neu! Zealand, teasing a thread through Peter Gutteridge's contributions to The Clean's 'Point That Thing Somewhere Else' and Snapper's doomy engine-revving – chain-smoking minimalism. Chinese bands like Mirrors, Chui Wan and the industrial-tinged Stolen, however, conjure up the shaggier end of Can, or the psychedelic majesty of Amon Düül II (not to mention a thriving shoegaze scene); there's a touch of dreamy mysticism that New Zealand music tends to be suspicious of outside of noise labels like Corpus Hermeticum and Celebrate Psi Phenomenon – we default to the quotidian or landscapes.

Opener 'Le Duanle's heavy groove constantly threatens to fly into chaos, Aming's arid surf guitar ducking and weaving out of a percussive maze laid down by Daniel Nagels, perhaps better known to locals from his time in dayglo math-rockers So So Modern, though he's also put his time in Shanghai with the difficult-to-google Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and psychedelic stalwarts Nonplus of Color. Despite the occasional interlude like the dreamy 'Summer Night', Within An Endless Dream builds a head of steam towards an amazing closing trifecta – the squealing riffage and mantra-like chanting of 'Ka Ra Ya Sa Ta Ha La', the title track's methodical cosmic unfurling, and motorik closer 'Ding 1Ding's five and a half saxophone-punctuated minutes (courtesy of German maestro Klaus Bru) feeling like an excerpt from a much longer piece – I'm always disappointed when it cuts out. Here's hoping Mirrors manage to reconstitute their tour when borders thaw, and we'll get further within their endless dream.

Stevie Kaye is an Auckland-based music writer and DJ.


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