Eagle - Mamer
As an impressionable kid growing up during the Cold War, I was rattled by television and magazine images of massive military parades and giant iconographry from the Cultural Revolution in China. The opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics with its throngs of humanity, all moving in concert with exacting precision, brought back some of those feelings of trepidation. But, the Cultural Revolution wasn't so much about culture as it was about political might, and a new Real World release casts Chinese culture in another light. Two thousand miles from Beijing in Xinjiang Province near the Russian border, humanity thins out on the vast open grasslands. There, another revolution is taking place; China’s emerging alt-country movement. Quietly blazing the trail is Mamer, who on the new album, Eagle, has taken the folk songs of the region, usually accompanied by the two-stringed dombra, and dressed them in contemporary textures of guitar and and electronic atmospheres. Preserving the traditional melodies, which surprise the ear by lingering in place longer than we’re used to in western music, and utilizing the otherworldly characteristics of the region’s throat singing, Mamer enchants with a gentle pastiche echoing a part of the world we rarely hear from. Eagle reaffirms that in any revolution, the subtle stillness of a single voice can have a deeper impact than a chorus of billions.