“The music soars above you and circles your head before it dives straight into your brain”

People often ask me why I choose not to leave the Warren, or go anywhere else ridiculous for that matter. The answer is always the same: I don’t need to. I am perfectly capable of the transference of myself anywhere in the known world simply by the coupling of my intimate knowledge of most places and merely focusing. Take a long journey up the path to the Surface, to then be presented with the need to find transportation to whatever landmark exists thousands of miles of away? No thank you. I admire the Surface for it’s accomplishments in art and architecture, but I know far too much of its history to place myself in that maelstrom of strife. Wars, religious violence, prejudice, racism, corruption, greed, murder… it’s all so crazy. There is one piece of Surface music that has me tempted, however.


Khusugtun is a group of Mongols whose primary instrument is the human voice. There are other traditional instruments in their employ as well, of course, but what shines and pierces my soul is their collective voice, channelled through overtone singing. Called “Khöömii,” throat singing is extremely difficult on its own, and to put these individual throats together and sounds this stellar is a marvelous feat.

The song “Toroi Bandi” is a prime example of this. It begins in gorgeous fashion, with a flash of strings before a single Mongol throat shoots out into the melody to jumpstart its fascinating narrative. “Toroi Bandi” tells the tale of a Robin Hood-esque equivalent that robs the rich of their fattened livestock and gifts it to the poor who were most likely ripped off by them in the first place (see what I mean about the Surface?). The music soars above you and circles your head before it dives straight into your brain and throughout the rest of the your corporis. The soul of Mongolia, with its vast plains and legendary horsemen shines through with the luminosity to make one go blind. So, hats off to them for the tiny grain of thought that was put into my head of a desire to leave the Warren. Not much so far has lead me to wish to abandon the refuge my study and body of work to simply experience a place.