Review of The Mantra EP by Nature Ganganbaigal

Nature Ganganbaigal is the founder of the Mongolian heavy metal group known as Tengger Cavalry. The name of the band was taken from the ancient Turkic/Mongolian deity called Tengri. Recently, Nature Ganganbaigal released a solo EP entitled 'The Mantra'. Nature Ganganbaigal's Chinese name is Tianran Zhang. If you haven't heard of him or listened to his phenomenal music, then there is a major gap in the spectrum of your musical life.

Nature Ganganbaigal The Mantra EP

It's difficult to categorize his style of music. Electronic-Ancient-Contemporary-Mongolian seems to be about as close as anything else.  Nature utilizes many different types of instruments to attain his unique sound: the horse head fiddle; Dombra; Didgeridoo; Whistles; guitars; and synthesizers. Not only does Nature's musical style defy labeling, but it has to be heard to be believed. It's unparalleled music that staggers the imagination. There's nothing eerie about it and it's not experimental music; it's simply unique and singular.

The mood of Nature's music is complex, ranging from amused indifference and flippant disdain to a substratum of doubt and foreboding. His musical repartee coruscates with brilliant allusions and musical turns of phrase that are difficult to translate into words. Nevertheless, his musical language captures the pungency of human life and the human soul.  

The first track on the EP is 'The Mantra', a composition that gives breath to surrealistic musical textures that most ears have never heard or fathomed before. 'The White Pony' exhibits an accumulation of thematic power that expands like a mathematical equation: the initial accretion is slow, but increases in intensity according to the music's flow. Passionate tonal apostrophes twinkle at sporadic intervals, creating a confection of pure elegance.

The prizes of the album are 'Leader Wolf' and 'Life Rattles On'. As you listen to the former, you can actually see the leader of the pack running through the bare trees of a snow covered forest. The texture of the music becomes palpable as each note strokes the listener's ears.  Descriptive terms such as fashionable, trendy, stylish and totally cool come to mind, but none of them seem adequate. And the latter provides music in which it seems that restraint, unobtrusiveness and delicacy of allusion are key aspects, just like in life. A curious field of suppressed energy emanates from Nature's instruments, eliciting emotions and sounds that have no contemporary equivalence, yet the energy can be felt.

'Ancient Gobi Road', with its flamboyance held under careful control, gives the impression of being more traditional as it emerges tumescent with some indefinable emotion. Its vast array of musical combinations and patterns are pregnant with a mysterious symbolism that magically clothes the traditional music in modern attire.

Owning 'The Mantra' is mandatory; it should be part of every audiophile's collection.


Randy Radic

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