“Music is the best” (Frank Zappa). In the beginning Bogdo Ula was a duo, Samuli Kristian (guitar) and Ivan Horder (drums). After spending years in a garage just improvising and recording everything, they decided to take the next step and self-released their first album From Distance to You (2008). Years of studying recording techniques and the inner life of old tube amplifiers helped them to do everything by themselves – recording, mixing, mastering. This DIY approach has stayed to present day and it reflects Bogdo Ula’s “absolutely free” approach for playing.

As a duo Bogdo Ula released three albums before bass player Jean Ruin joined Bogdo Ula in the summer 2010. This was a big step forward. As a phenomenal bass player, Jean Ruin adapted to Bogdo Ula’s “free” approach right away and gave Bogdo Ula a new direction. As a trio they have self-released six albums. The fourth trio album “The Return of the Sons of Ra” (2013) was also released as vinyl-LP.

Before 2017 Bogdo Ula has mainly focused on free improvisation. Inspired by John Coltrane, who would give his band only two notes as the basis for a new tune, Bogdo Ula has tried to make music from a minimalistic starting point. However, their music is not minimalistic. It is complex and full of meaning and emotion. Frank Zappa’s idea of instant compositions on his album “Shut Up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar” has also encouraged Bogdo Ula to go this way. To let the music flow, to reach a total freedom of expression. And as a special reward, to communicate with one who wants to listen.

In spite of the fact that Bogdo Ula’s music is not mainstream, it is not the purpose of the players to make “difficult” music. It is just the kind of music they enjoy playing, and hopefully this enjoyment reaches the listener too. Bogdo Ula has a unique style, something different from free jazz or psychedelic rock, although reflecting the tradition. The musical idea may grow from a melody line, a scale or a guitar riff to a furious improvisation.

August 10th, 2017, Bogdo Ula released the sixth trio album “Dangerous Landscape”. On this album Bogdo Ula makes a journey to a new territory. There is no free improvisation this time, although the guitar solos are improvised. The songs on “Dangerous Landscape” are more like instrumental or progressive rock. This is something you wouldn’t expect from Bogdo Ula. You can even dance to these tunes!

Bogdo Ula is a mountain near the city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. For this band, Bogdo Ula is a state of mind, a place to go in the minds of the players. Where does the music come from? From inside or from outside? The answer is irrelevant. Music is a place you can go to, where ever you are.

 

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