June 25, 2023


artwork by George Gillies


FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22 – MELBOURNE: THE CURTIN with special guests YL Hooi + DJ Noise In My Head. Tickets on sale here.

Mistletone proudly presents the first Australian tour by travelling Pan-Asian musical family, TENGGER 텐거/天郷.

From their home base in Seoul, with regular pilgrimages to their studio in the highlands, TENGGER — itta, Marqido, and RAAI — create psychedelic new-age kosmische drone magic with harmonium, voice, and toy instruments (played by itta) and analogue synths (played by Marqido), with interpretative dancing by RAAI which brings a cosmic, life-affirming sense of wonder to this family’s magical performances.

TENGGER‘s tour coincides with their self-titled 13th album, to be released by We Are Busy Bodies on September 29th. The album represents an opportunity for the globetrotting family trio to explore their origins, and finds TENGGER accepting the mood of the world, using the motion of wind and waves as sonic inspiration. TENGGER’s interest in cosmology is reflected in their mystical outlook and lyrical approach.  In their words: “the album’s sound starts from the breaking dawn, and circulates around until it reaches the night sky and the milky way.

Opening single “PANAPTU” offers a reverent respect to “the earth and the sky“, the band write. “The sun, the rain, and the things that grow on the ground make up our bodies and soul. Both can be compared to a mirror. Humanity (on the earth) looks up at the sky; the sky looks at us Illuminate each other and influence each other. Change is happening every moment.” “PANAPTU” refers to a traditional Tungusic Shamanic metal mirror, and also their ancient observatory. PANA translates to “shadow of the soul”, and PTU to “bowl to hold the shadow”. The relationship between the PANA and PTU is like that between a lamp or starlight, and a mirror. 

(lyrics and English translation)

무엇인가를 찾고 있다면 if you are looking for something

무언가 역시 우리를 찾고 something is also looking for us

서로를 비추는 Illuminate each other

Music designed to induce enlightenment”– THE FADER
“Clear and bright, fed by the deep wells of feeling TENGGER have drawn from the natural world” – PITCHFORK
“From field recordings to krautrock to something they call ‘aural hang-gliding’, TENGGER have truly put their stamp on psychedelic music” – UNCUT
“Like stepping through a glowing portal and gasping at the wonders of another world” – STEREOGUM

Starting out as a duo with the moniker “10”, they adopted the name TENGGER when RAAI was born in 2012, to mark the expansion of the family. TENGGER means ‘unlimited expanse of sky’ in Mongolian, and also means ‘huge sea’ in Hungarian. Travel, as spiritual experience in real environments, and the sound between the space and the audience, has been a central theme of TENGGER’s works. The family’s yearly pilgrimages inform every aspect of their art. 

Having won global critical acclaim for their previous albums and appearing at international festivals such as Le Guess Who? curated by Moon Duo, TENGGER were scheduled to showcase at SXSW 2020. When the pandemic forced SXSW to cancel, Itta and RAII returned to Seoul and Marqido travelled to his homeland Japan, when sudden border restrictions between Japan and Korea forced his separation from Itta and RAAI for seven months. As The Wire magazine reported,

For young Raai the separation was particularly tough. “He was crying every night,” recalls Itta. “We talked every night by video link, but Raai wanted to hug his father. These days he’s working hard to express his emotions about this situation – actually he started composing when he was six – so he’s writing lyrics and melodies about what he wants to do. For example, he wants to watch the beautiful ocean with his father and mother.” RAII’s compositions resulted in his debut EP, which was released for his 9th birthday (!), listen here / read an article about RAII and TENGGER in the Korea Times.

For most of the year Marqido remained stuck on the large island of Shikoku in southern Japan. Shikoku is famous for pilgrimages around its 88 Buddhist temples. TENGGER have done this pilgrimage multiple times, and restored a rural house on the pilgrims’ route for artist residencies. Originally named Kumakogen (meaning far in the highlands), TENGGER rechristened it Studio Kyurt (a blend of Kumakogen and yurt).

Last year, TENGGER’s 7th studio album Earthing was released via Melbourne label Ramble Records. “Staying at Studio Kyurt, walking nearby, climbing mountains, gazing at waterfalls, or reaching the ocean, we observed a lot of things. And then we could receive the message from nature, There is nothing divided and we are connected all in the life circulation. and we could make it into this album in nature. Paying respect to “Now”, the time of living with sharing the message with you all audiences through music”, the family shared.

무엇인가를 찾고 있다면 if you are looking for something
무언가 역시 우리를 찾고 something is also looking for us

서로를 비추는 Illuminate each other

(* “PANAPTU” means Tungusic Shamanic metal mirror, and also their ancient observatory.  “PANA means shadow of the soul, and PTU means bowl to hold the shadow. The relationship between the PANA and PTU is like that between a lamp or starlight and a mirror.” – from a book called “Shaman Empire”)

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