To Where Tengger Leads Me

Nature Ganganbaigal

Independent release, 2015

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Nature Ganganbaigal is a rock n’ roll superhero of sorts. He is the founder of the folk metal band Tengger Cavalry, which combines traditional Mongolian music with heavy metal. Now, a music combination such as this might sound awkward and even awful, but in case of Tengger Cavalry, it totally kicks ass. In addition to his dabbling in metal music, Ganganbaigal composes film scores – in fact, he was the New York University Film Score Competition Winner in 2014. In addition, he was the designer of Microsoft China’s website in 2012. Finally, he is a professional Mongolian fiddle (Morin khuur) player and throat-singing performer. And when you take all his achievements and look at photos of him dressed in his handsome Mongolian robe, he looks nothing short of a superhero.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So it comes as no surprise that in the midst of Tengger Cavalry’s deluge of album releases (until now, he’s had one release every year since 2012), the prolific Ganganbaigal should drop a solo release. To Where Tengger Leads Me is Ganganbaigal’s first solo effort, and stylistically, it is quite a contrast to the headbanging mayhem of Tengger Cavalry.

Tengger is a mix of serene Mongolian folk music and surreal electronic music, set in a cinematic musical landscape. While the primal and angsty music of Tengger Cavalry is much easier to identify with, Tengger is of a different breed. It is all instrumentals (except for one track) and plays like a film score. The dramatic nature of the music almost needs accompanying visuals to make the experience complete. And since there are no visuals here to give context to the theatrical climaxes and lulls of the music, this album might not be for the rock music listener expecting some hip Peter Gabriel-esque worldbeat project. Tengger is not an album from the viewpoint of a rock musician, but from that of a film score orchestrator.

The artistry and musicianship that has gone into this album is impressive, to say the least. Tengger is a pretty slickly produced electronic record. At the same time, it is very much grounded in the earthy sounds of Mongolian folk music. The way in which Ganganbaigal brings these two uniquely different musical worlds together is utterly tasteful and elegant. It takes a seriously amazing music composer to be able to make the cheesy combination of adding beats to Mongolian throat singing sound not only bearable but actually make it sound classy and cool. Between his heavy metal band and his solo project, Ganganbaigal is way more than an amazing music composer; he is a rock n’ roll superhero.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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