Since emerging in 2004, White has become known as one of the most volatile projects in Beijing. In spite of its changing lineup, White is undoubtedly one of the most acclaimed outfits in the capitals music community. White’s sound is ever evolving, spiraling outwards from noise and minimalism to the phase patterns of Steve Reich, the atonal chords of Glenn Branca, Throbbing Gristle’s aggressive electronic shimmer, Neubauten’s rhythmic invention, and the gu zheng masters of Chinese classical music. Their pieces can range from highly organized agglomerations of angular chords that have an almost rock and roll ferociousness, to a completely anarchic attack of syncopated drum beats derived from chance encounters with old furniture and dysfunctional machinery.
Zhang Shouwang, who plays guitar, organ, toys, analogue pedals, drums, and effects, is a founding member of the Chinese music movement No Beijing, and, in addition to his work with White, is the guitarist/vocalist for Beijing noise band Carsick Cars. In spite of his extreme youth he is considered by many Chinese musicians to be at the very heart of the new generation of Chinese avant-garde artists. In 2006, he flew to New York to take part in Glenn Branca’s famous No.13 recording Hallucination City for 100 guitarists.
In 2005 he formed White No.1, a septet that paid tribute to the early work of Glenn Branca, and White 2J, in which he played keyboards. In 2006, he and Shen Jing, who had been admirers of each others music from afar and who shared the same passion for New York noise and kosmiche rhythms, formed White as an outlet for their more avant-garde tendencies.
One of the better-known White projects featured Shen Jing playing analogue synth, drums, percussion, sampler, vocals, tape manipulation, and effects. She has been deeply immersed in Beijing’s music scene since 1998, and was an active participant in the vibrant explosion it recently underwent. Until 2006, she was the drummer for Beijing indie/punk legends Hang On The Box. However, as early as 2003, her work has increasingly shifted towards her own unique form of cosmic industrial noise.
In May 2007 Blixa Bargeld, of Einsturzende Neubaten, shipped White off to Berlin to produce their first CD. For months the recording was kept under wraps, but it was finally released in December 2008 by Maybe Mars records. White toured Europe behind Einsturzende Neubaten in May 2008 as part of the CD release.