Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Album Review: Hanggai – Big Band Brass

After releasing their album Homeland in 2018 Hanggai felt like they wanted to experiment more with their sound so they picked out their favorite songs from previous albums and went into the studio with a proper American Jazz Big Band. There hasn’t been anything like this released in China before and the sound of the new album is mind blowing, as much as they were mind blowing before this time they packed an extra OOMPF in their new sound released by Beijing TaiHe Musician Culture and Art Co., Ltd. Of course as a big Hanggai fan I have to listen to this new album and judge it, so here it is.

At first I raised my eyebrows at hearing how they packed this music and no matter how much I like the more traditional Mongolian sound, I really enjoy this big band stuff just as much. They said in their announcement that they would play most of this album on their upcoming 2019 tours. The album is produced by Canadian Garth Richardson (as was their album Horse of Colors) and scores for the brass band were written by Chinese symphony music composer, Bi Jianbo. Combining the sound of brass, the bustle of New York and the wind blowing along Mongolian plains together form a bridge between east and west in a way that’s earning this Mongolian rock band high eyes in China and the world.  Garth Richardson is famous for working with big artists like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Skunk Anansie and Taylor Swift among many others.

They spent 20 days in Canada to record the new album before flying down to Hollywood, L.A. to record with the 13-man Jazz band after being inspired by the Beijing New Year concert in 2015. Then joined Tan Dun (Who composed the soundtrack for world famous movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) in four Symphony Rock concerts, which Hanggai received world wide acclaim for. Following the release of the new album Hanggai set out on a 14 date tour in Mongolia and China to promote their album and so far we have seen nothing but praise for their new style.

 

Tracklist

  1. 鴻雁 – Hong Yan
  2. 丁吉圖灣 – Ding Ji Tu Wan
  3. 四歲的海騮馬 – Si Sui Di Hai Liu Ma
  4. 古納根烏蘭巴特  – Gu Na Gen Wu Lan Ba Te
  5. 北邊的芨芨草  – Bei Bian De Ji Ji Cao
  6. 花斑馬 – Hua Ban Ma
  7. 約會 – Yue Hui
  8. 烏仁都希 – Wu Ren Dou Xi
  9. 戈壁路 – Ge Bi Lu
  10. 初升的太陽 – Chu Sheng De Tai Yang
  11. 喇嘛大叔尋親記 – La Ma Da Shu Xun Qin Ji
  12. 上海產的半導體 – Shang Hai Chan De Ban Dao Ti

 

Opinion
I honestly really love this album, it has some of my favorite songs and they’re played in a way that can only add more to the song. I absolutely love the addition of horns. I’m excited to hear this live if they’re ever coming back to the Netherlands to perform (Hanggai I’m telling you, come back already, it’s been too long). With the second track of the album I like that they added a very rocky style similar to some American rock groups and it really plays well in my book. I want this album to add to my already almost full Hanggai collection… that’s for sure.
If Hanggai as it’s ‘pure’ sound isn’t your cup of tea, try these versions of the songs. It’s different but similar at the same time.

Where to listen to the new album
Spotify
Bootleg Live show recorded in Mao Live House Shanghai
Apple Music

credit: Hanggai – Facebook page
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(30) year old; crazy about all things Asia, It doesn't stop at these three things.

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