Friday, September 18, 2009

Call of the Wild

Tanya Tagaq is a singer that defies description. She’s categorized as an Inuit throat singer from Nunavut, Canada but she’s much more that that. While she sings in a traditional, aboriginal style, she also blends contemporary sound with her voice. You can find her on a couple Bjork cds including the soundtrack to Drawing Restrain and has toured with her as well. Her voice takes a bit of getting used to and could be listed under the challenging listening category. The first brief video has her vocalizing a seal hunt—hard to imagine, but check it out. It’s absolutely riveting. The second is a short documentary of Tanya working with the Kronos Quartet. Explore more of her music on Youtube. Her voice is pretty amazing, and yes, it’s pretty wild as well.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Before there was New Age music…

A friend introduced me to the music of Stephan Micus in the late 1970s, well before the term “New Age” was around. At the time we dubbed this type of music, ethereal. Stephan was a pioneer, and continues to be one today. He has spent his life traveling the world collecting rare and unusual ethnic/folk instruments from various cultures. Through the miracle of multi-tracking, his recordings sound like they’re produced by a small ensemble. Even though some of the music he produces sounds electronic, Stephan is a stickler for all things acoustic. His music is relaxing and meditative and often features subtle chanting, without being boring. And since his music is on Manfred Eicher’s ECM label, they’re virtually flawless. I hadn’t listened to him in years for whatever reason. But a couple days ago, I heard mention of his name and had another go at his music. Once again I was thoroughly captivated by him. I’ve posted two examples of his studio recordings (since his live music doesn’t feature overdubbing). I think you'll enjoy him.