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Now Hear This: Sun of UTC+8 - Wulijimuren

Rating: ***1/2

Wulijimuren has been working on this album for 12+ years. That's a long ass time.

Born in a small town in Mongolia, Wulijimuren ended up in New York where he recorded "Sun of UTC+8". In the 12 years of finally making the record, he found himself doing fill-in work at various studios and finding himself in the heartless music system while never really getting his own voice out there.

Luckily for him, he never quit and here we are with his solo release in 2018. Will the hard work and effort be worth it to my judgmental ears? There's only one way to find out.

Listen to "Sun of UTC+8" on Soundcloud here:

"Rock Boots Of Midnight At The Roadside" is a mouthful and it's also the first track. It has a nice rhythm to it and Wulijimuren is a talented guitar player. It has a Joe Satriani feel to it for sure. Track two is "Railway Station Ulaanbaatar" and it's an interesting tune. It sounds almost like he's playing underwater. It has a really subdued and almost esoteric vibe that pulls you in without overwhelming. "Train To The West" is a slow burn. That said, he's so technically proficient that it's fun to listen to in spite of moving at a snail's pace. "Ticket To Hometown" is track four and it's another methodical effort with enough changes to keep it interesting. "Liquor Of My Hometown" creates a more somber mood. It's kind of amazing how even without any lyrics, it's still pretty easy to get the idea of what each song is about. That's a testament to the songwriter. "The Fate Of Blue Wolf" isn't my favorite track. It's a little too same-sy for me. However, "Vast Sky" is my favorite song on the album thus far with its solid melody and excellent rock guitar techniques. "Photo Studio On The Love Street" is a ballad and it's quite lovely. It reminds me of a modern-day Richie Valens track. Something I wasn't sure was possible. "Dream Of Blue Mountain" is well-played per the usual, but it didn't exactly grab me. Title track "Sun Of UTC+8" is next and it begins with a fairly frightening sound bite of evil-sounding animals. From there we get to what is a fairly straightforward progressive rock guitar track. I like it plenty. Track eleven is "Footsteps" and it starts off with church organ, which I'm never mad at. This is really a beautiful number and one of the highlights of the record for me. "Twelve Years", named after the length of time it took to make this album happens to be the last cut of the LP. It's a bluesy track that I like a lot. It's signature time changes are still there, but this one has a little more soul than the rest.

I thought this was a very good effort from start to finish. Each song is well-played, and there were only a couple of tracks that didn't really move me at all. Overall, I really liked it and am going to suggest it to every single one of my guitar-based instrumental loving friends. I recommend it a lot.

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