[ Pokhara, Nepal ]
Not all of you know I have an extensive background in music. I do. Many years’ intense engagement with sound’s theory and practice left me an addict. For more than three decades I have hunted the next aural payoff, craved and cherished the discovery of eclectic sonic surfaces. The more jaw-dropping the better. (If my friends back away slowly with fear in their eyes? Jackpot.) I listen to a lot of music, and my library contains a vast section of lovable, high-calorie ear candy, but that’s not what soothes the needy beast. For long-term satisfaction, it’s gotta have teeth. Virtuosic teeth, cultural teeth, theoretical or conceptual teeth, holy-hell-what-the-fuck-was-that teeth, the teeth of studio polish or innovation or poesy or complexity.
Like all addicts, I am easily bored. I move on quickly. For me to remain committed to an artist, or return to them frequently across generations, is a rarity.
This leads me to suggest my three-decade devotion to the Bulgarian Voices–beginning with 1987’s Nonesuch release, “Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares“–is rare, and worthy of note. Ditto my dedication to Mongolia’s Huun-Huur-Tu, who transformed and elevated the first track of the Kronos Quartet‘s 1994 “Night Prayers.” Another Nonesuch release. I’ve returned to these groups and recordings often in the intervening years when I needed to ram a pencil through whatever quotidian crap was accumulating in my eardrums.
I wanna be super-duper clear about something. Whoever decided these two groups should come together? To make an album, and tour, together? She’s a frickin’ genius. Compared to her, Einstein is chump change–his Special Theory of Relativity as dull as Tom Delay’s turn on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Sez this brilliant combinatrix, to self: “Hey! Let’s join the harmonically rich, lush, densely weeping, discordant cries of an eastern european chorus with the imperturbably minimalistic drones of Central Asia’s impossibly laryngitic, multiphonic-spewing, extraterrestrial Mongols.
(Translation: this is some beautifully weird shit right here, folks. Out-of-this-world gorgeousness. Coyotes howling as demons flee–their immortal souls in peril.)
So listen already. You can thank me later, or not, but for now–listen.
(Note: the featured video has better images. The youtube video better music. And the album has tracks far better than either.)