Into the woods with TENGGER

Rene Passet

Who wants to know where Tenggerland is, should come to KRACKLE #1 on Friday November 22nd. Where a Korean and a Japanese will show you the way. Enter the woods and turn left.

“Raai (7) would like to know whether the interview will take a long time after about twenty minutes of video calling. The little man wants to give his toys some attention again and can use the help of his parents. That chatter in a strange foreign language with a Dutch journalist should now be over.

Raai is the unofficial third band member of Tengger, a Korean / Japanese tandem that presents itself as a nomadic family online and on international stages. Together they make “psychedelic new age drone magic” where they use electronics, singing and all kinds of field recordings.

How does that sound? As if Cluster goes on a pilgrimage through the Japanese forests and somewhere near the waterfall Seefeel, Neu! and come across a handful of shinto monks. This results in long, hypnotic compositions in which you can get lost wonderfully. Kraut from the Far East.

The Korean Itta (vocals & harmonium) and the Japanese Marqido (synths) themselves don’t hide those Krautrock influences. Take a look at this list that they made for music magazine Dusted last year.

Boundless heaven

Before Raai was born, Itta and Marqido called themselves (((10))). “Indeed, with the same waves as Sunn O)))),” Itto smiles at the camera as she pushes a tuft of black hair aside. “After we had a son, our sound changed considerably. That is why we decided to call ourselves Tengger from now on. Mongolian for “boundless heaven.”

Due to the poor English that both speak, it is sometimes a quest of searching for words during the interview, giving the three the opportunity to sample each other. They see a bald guest in a Danish living room, I see two cheerful Asians in front of a beautiful tapestry, where the son also occasionally jumps into the picture. “Raai is going on tour with us,” Itta confirms. Although their son is now attending school, the couple do not want to give up the nomadic lifestyle of the past. With a bit of luck we will soon see Raai dance on stage in Utrecht and play on toy instruments.

Foggy mountains

Respect for nature plays a key role in much music that Tengger has made since 2005. In the video clips around the tracks “Ajari” and “High”, both from their recently released album Spiritual 2, they walk through green forests and over misty mountains. About four years ago, they released a cassette centered on Icelandic nature. A tape also appeared around the famous Japanese Shikoku pilgrimage. In addition, as a trained walker you can walk to no fewer than 88 temples in around 45 days. Tengger made recordings at all those holy places, which they draped layer by layer and condensed on the ‘Minishiko‘ cassette.

Cassettes? Is there such a big tape culture in South Korea? Appraisingly, Itta shakes her head. “We really like the DIY feeling that you get with tapes, but found out that few people have a cassette player. Then we decided to make one ourselves. ”That turned the Docassette into a transparent cube with just a PLAY and a STOP button. Especially for the player, they then made a cassette tape that plays in a loop so that you can fully unwind. A kind of Buddha Player but with a real band. The prototype of the Docassette will be on display in Utrecht. Tengger has since found a Chinese company that may take the device into production.

Pilgrimage

Back to nature. Tengger is bothered by the fact that humanity deals with it so disrespectfully. But in parts of Japan, that problem sometimes seems to resolve itself. “When we walked the Shikoku trail, we saw quite a few abandoned and overgrown houses. The residents had died, after which nature gradually took possession of the vacant houses. ”The aging population as a solution to the environmental problem.

Back to nature. Tengger is bothered by the fact that humanity deals with it so disrespectfully. But in parts of Japan, that problem sometimes seems to resolve itself. “When we walked the Shikoku trail, we saw quite a few abandoned and overgrown houses. The residents had died, after which nature gradually took possession of the vacant houses. ”The aging population as a solution to the environmental problem.

Unfortunately, that method does not work in their current hometown Seoul. Where on the south side of the city hard is being built on a second airport and an extension of the American military base. Itta was present at the protests and tried to calm the heated protesters by playing quiet music.

That door towards zen eventually brings you to Tenggerland, as they call it. “Tenggerland is the place where you end up when you come to see us live. Then we will take you and show you. Believe us, it’s beautiful. “