The liner notes say it was recorded in: "Mongolia and Buriatia in 1967, 1968, and 1970 in the course of field work organized in the frame work of the Protocole d'Echanges Culturels between France and Mongolia, and as part of an exchange program with the Academy of Sciences in the USSR."
"In Mongolian tradition, neither music nor singing can strictly-speaking be described as specialist activities. In the past, everyone was expected to be capable of singing and playing the fiddle at festivals..."
From the liner notes again: "The player flutes with his nose. Some air really does pass through the nose. The player's lips are slightly parted but do not move: only the corners of the mouth tremble sightly and the cheeks are tensed. This tension brings him out in a sweat. The melody comes from the movements of the tongue. Anyone who possesses this technique is able to reproduce any melody"
Both of these tracks just blow me away with how much the singers sound like birds:
For you die-hard record sifters, the info is Vogue Records LDM 30138 (recorded in 1973). Here's a full track-listing. You might be able to download it somewhere if you peek around the internet. ;-) I call for a re-issue!
This post is part of a series about music that disorients the senses. I've found that some of the most amazing and jarring auditory illusions are not the usual scientifically distilled or synthesized ones, they're often found in folk music and made by people's voices. Of course, in a way, it makes perfect sense - the vocal chords are some of the most complex and advanced musical instruments in existence. They are ubiquitously available, and we've been experimenting with them for longer than any other sound-making implement.