Back Tuva Future


Ondar is a champion throat-singer of the sygyt style. These days, what with Tibetan Freedom Concerts and all, people are more familiar with the sound of throat-singing, which produces multiple tones from a single larynx. This record is perhaps a bit too familiar and casual with Ondar’s skills. Throat singing is an unearthly sound, but probably no stranger than death metal would be to someone from Tuva, Ondar’s region of origin. Located along the south of Siberia, smack in the middle of Asia, Tuva sounds like one of the few truly exotic places left on this planet.

I’m both fascinated and repelled by the sounds on this album, which bring the ancient art form “up to date” with a variety of Western backing tracks, ranging from hootenanny to darkly pumping trip-hop. Anomalous? Definitely. Disgusting? Debatable — if you manage to get past the eerie throat singing, you still need to dodge the specter of cultural imperialism. Still, I don’t regret having heard this, and must admit that tracks like “Kargyraa Rap,” with a demonic low end counter pointing Ondar’s rhythmic rasp, still beat a lot of the drivel being churned out these days.

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