sun 26/05/2024

CD: Tunng - This is Tunng Live From the BBC | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tunng - This is Tunng... Live From the BBC

CD: Tunng - This is Tunng... Live From the BBC

The brilliance of the folktronicists songwriting emerges in live sessions

'This is Tunng... Live from the BBC': OK, it's a BIT kooky

Tunng are not as kooky as they might appear. Yes there is a preponderance of beards in their extensive lineup, and a rather byzantine tale to how that lineup has evolved over the years. And yes, their songs include bone percussion, electronic glitches, melodicas, clarinets, snippets of sampled beat poetry, collaborations with Saharan desert musicians and lyrics from the perspective of a dead man forgiving the brother that killed him (“Jenny Again”). OK, they're a bit kooky.

But behind all that, behind the “folktronica” tag, exists a band that revolve around the writing and singing of really, really lovely songs.

Onstage is where this has always come to the fore, so it makes complete sense that their first career retrospective should be made up of live sessions for various BBC shows. Here, acoustic performances of “Hustle” and “With Whiskey” show exactly how much an abiding love for the sounds of human voices and fingers on acoustic guitar strings are at the heart of Tunng songs. Their cover versions of Bloc Party's “Pioneers” (originally released as a single in 2006) and Blue Pearl's early 90s rave-pop “Naked in the Rain” show how it's possible to be rousing and delicate at the same time.

“Tamatant Tilay” from their Radio 3 sessions with Touareg troubadours Tinariwen, meanwhile, stirs ticking drum machines and an art-pop mentality into the desert blues, somehow fusing both acts' distinctive characters without compromising either, the emergent result oddly reminiscent of a 21st century JJ Cale. Throughout, the feel is strange and dreamlike but also, to quote one of their earliest song titles, “Beautiful and Light”: these are songs that float into your back brain and remain there like benevolent ghosts, haunting your internal jukebox from first listen. Seriously: really lovely.

Watch Tunng perform "Hustle" acoustically, in a farmyard:

An abiding love for the sounds of human voices and fingers on acoustic guitar strings are at the heart of Tunng songs


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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