Enji Erkhem’s Ulaan offers a pit stop in life. It makes you present in your whole body and cuts the rushing anxieties of your mind for 36 minutes. The strong and gentle vocals of Erkhem combine with the brilliance of Mongolian touches on Jazz music to form a diamond sparkling inside the rock that is 2023’s releases.
Artist: Enji Erkhem
Release Date: July 28, 2023
Genre: Jazz/ Traditional Mongolian
Length: 36 min 15 sec
Enji Erkhem’s last album Ulaan flew me back to my childhood days, where I would create my own games looking at the carpet at my grandfathers house, imagining the carpet as a boat and my surroundings as the adventurous landscape I was floating in. Ulaan has a strange “core” feeling in it that anyone can find, the gentle yet playful melodies Enji offers with her captivating voice on top, strangely made me remember how magical everything was when I was little.
I wouldn’t say that I had a calm childhood but I remember being super focused when it comes to playing the games that I’ve made up just for myself. These memories of me playing games have been long gone in my head for a while, especially with the life happening harder and harder one day after the other these days. I sometimes even feel like I’ve never had a childhood at all. The feeling you get when life you live got so stuck that you feel like you only have now, you don’t have the past nor the future, just now and now seems to be forever.
Ulaan is nothing like I’ve heard in a while for sure, and well I’m not the biggest Jazz listener but I listen almost all sorts of things so I think you can trust me with the specialty of this album, when I say that this one is one of a kind. The creativeness and Enji’s way of confidently playing around every idea inside this album is what makes it so unique. Sure you’ve heard Mongolian vocals and really good Jazz musicians before but I don’t think you’ve heard a way of delivery that Enji succeeds in Ulaan. The songs go up and down on a such subtle line that you never feel out of place listening to the album. And it even got me so focused on what’s going on inside myself as a whole being, rather than just inside my head, that I started remembering my childhood and some memories that I’ve probably buried deep down. Not that I didn’t spesifically wanted to remember those memories but just because that life doesn’t really makes me remember those moments much, as it goes by. And by remembering the days where I’ve played, and layed down doing nothing yet not worried about doing nothing and ate fruit on the carpet with my hands wet from the juices and licking the stickiness of my lips and cheeks I’ve found some strange comfort inside myself, thinking once I was not worried.
It seems to be a harder memory to reach inside all the bad ones but Ulaan makes it possible to remember how to just be. The album is not necessarily happy but it’s calm and gentle and playful. And it offers a variety of rides I would say, because I mostly listened to this sitting alone at my living room yet it also made me imagine a future day where I’ve invited some friends over for a dinner and played this on the background, just like I would’ve imagine my life when I was a child. A nice dinner table surrounded by people I love, and people who loves me gathered together to have a nice evening on a regular day. A calm life where I would’ve have some stability probably and where I would’ve been able to have joy from little things.
Ulaan has been an album that made me remember the calm regular days of past, where I’ve spent with loved ones and imagine the calm regular days ahead that might be possible to spend with loved ones.