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AUDIO JUNKIE: Music from opposite sides of the spectrum

From East to West, from the familiar to the unassuming. That is this week’s theme.

Talking about two different music artists whose preferred music styles and indeed, even origin, create such a stark contrast that the very reason they can only be put together is the indisputable fact that their music is a must-listen for anyone on the lookout for a good tune.

Let’s start off with “What They’ll Say About Us,” the newest by acclaimed singer-songwriter and producer Finneas.

There’s a high chance the name will be familiar to most, and for good reason, as the man produced and co-wrote one of the biggest breakout hits of 2019, his sister Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.”

The song and her debut album (stylized) “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” were absolute successes netting a total of 5 Grammy Awards for Finneas including producer of the year.

He’s not just a collaborator though, and “What They’ll Say About Us” is further proof that he’s got the chops to make it big on his own.

Understated in the best of ways, the track begins with Finneas’ thick, warm vocals that recall Chris Martin as set against the backdrop of a mellow piano backing.

As he sings on about his message of hope and perseverance, layers of bass drum, strings and a dash of electronic synth continue to add on to the hymn-like quality of the song.

The chorus peaks and is further emphasized by a clean falsetto that’s all the more striking against the otherwise minimalistic setting.

To roughly paraphrase the song, give it time and it might just take your world. Perfect for those moments when you feel like taking it easy too.

Moving on East, in Mongolia to be exact, is where we found our next artist. The HU, not to be confused with the classic rock, Pete Townshend-led The Who, is a Mongolian band led by vocalists Gala, Jaya, Temka and Enkush (we’re using the shorter version of their names for ease), self-described to be a fusion of Heavy Metal and traditional Mongolian Throat Singing.

That brief description already intrigues, right?

And sure enough, alongside metal and hard rock sounds, you can also hear, besides the mind-blowing throat singing, traditional instruments like the horsehead fiddle, Mongolian guitar and jaw harp.

What first seems like a peculiar mishmash of different styles turns out to be a refreshing and exciting take on such a well-loved music genre.

Having recently released the deluxe edition of their first album, “The Gereg” just last July, The HU does an exquisite job of distinguishing its tracks by presenting the robust, heart-pounding and familiar feel of Metal with the unique characteristics of throat singing and distinct quality of traditional Mongolian instruments.

Take for example the song “Yuve Yuve Yu” (featuring vocals From Ashes To New) the band’s biggest hit that came out late in 2018 and has since garnered over 56 million views on YouTube. The track has it all; a catchy memorable guitar riff, melodic highs from the weeping fiddles, a pounding hard rock intensity and the guttural, sometimes other-worldly quality of throat singing which is somewhat kinda addicting to listen to.

And that’s not the only song to bear that special attribute. “Wolf Totem” is no less feisty and fierce with its chorus of grunts and rough chanting. Far from being inelegant, the track is elevated with a certain character only made possible with the distinctive vocals and the not-often heard instruments setting a melodious backdrop all throughout.

In contrast to the head-banging quality of above-mentioned songs, “Shireg Shireg” takes a somewhat relaxed approach. With an emphasis on those vibrating vocal sounds against the steady, measured cadence of a melodious guitar and flute, replete with clopping horse hooves and a marching beat of the drum. It’s a song that incites a feeling of a serene cinematic storytelling instead of the surging spirit conjured by the previous tracks. Definitely, there is charm to be found in all the varying flavors served up by The HU. And yeah, they frickin’ rock too!

These artists’ music and backgrounds might be worlds apart from each other but there can be no doubt that theirs is a craft worth appreciating. After all, good music makes no distinction regardless of race, style, geography or origin.

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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