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, we decided to take the next step and self-released our first album From Distance to You (2008). Years of studying recording techniques and the inner life of old tube amplifiers helped us to do everything by ourselves – recording, mixing, mastering. This DIY approach has stayed to present day and it reflects our “absolutely free” approach for playing.
As a duo we 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 us a new direction. As a trio we have self-released seven albums. Our album “The Return of the Sons of Ra” (2013) was also released as vinyl-LP.
Our band’s main focus is 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, our 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 us to go this way. To let the music flow, to reach a total freedom of expression. And as a very important 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 our purpose to make “difficult” music. It is just the kind of music we enjoy playing, and hopefully this enjoyment reaches the listener too. Bogdo Ula has a unique style, something different from free jazz or psychedelic/progressive rock, although reflecting the tradition. The musical idea may grow from a melody line, a scale or a guitar riff to a furious improvisation.
In 2017, Bogdo Ula released album “Dangerous Landscape”. On this album Bogdo Ula makes a journey to a new territory. There is no free improvisation on this album, 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!
However, you can dance to any Bogdo Ula song, if you want to.
Bogdo Ula is a mountain near the city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Geographically it’s very far away from here, but it is reachable in music. For us, Bogdo Ula is a state of mind, a place to go in our imagination. Through music, distant and isolated things can come very close to you. Where does the music come from? From inside or from outside? The answer is irrelevant. Interaction is more important. Music is interaction, where ever you are.