Tengger embraces nature and movement on their spirit lifting new album Nomad | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Tengger embraces nature and movement on their spirit lifting new album Nomad 

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Courtesy of Riot Act Media

A vacation sounds pretty good right about now, doesn’t it? Or it would in a world without COVID-19, large-scale lockdowns, and an overabundance of existential dread. Seoul-based Korean/Japanese duo Tengger can’t do anything about the pandemic, but their music can provide a bit of a mental escape, or at least uplift the spirit. Inspired by their own experiences traveling, the group create meditative, light-as-silk sound sculptures by interweaving drone, psychedelia, Krautrock, and new age music with occasional field recordings and wordless vocals. On their latest album, Nomad, Tengger embrace the natural universe; chirping birds and sung melodies from vocalist and harmonium player Itta lend a bright spirit to opening track “Achime,” before the birds seem to swoop down over a cliff to reveal softly crashing waves on the following track, “Bliss.” Though Tengger’s 2019 album, Spiritual, dealt more in pulsating textures and gritty noise, Nomad is serene. Krautrock rhythms still appear on tracks such as “Eurasia,” but the album’s overall sense of movement feels more like the airy flow of shapeshifting clouds than the mechanical throb of earthbound machines. Nomad wouldn’t sound out of place played in the background at a spa, but by the end of its long-form closer, “Flow,” you’ll be convinced that’s a good thing.   v

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