My first time seeing Tunng live, their 100th gig, (Meg’s 5th time seeing them so a good percentage for her) and it was absolutely incredible (now i know why Meg keeps going back!). Since they were recommended to me not long ago, if I haven’t been looking them up (their website has some good links to video clips etc) I’ve been coming across them everywhere. In their media appearances they’re being really branded in the folk camp…
Tunng at Green Man in 2005 video
… and yet they are so much more: heavy electro beats lay the ground for this folkish guitar lead narrative, with 4 of them lending their various (1 female, 3 male) gorgeous vocal sounds and a rich and diverse texture of percussion. But not necessarily narrative – they opened the show with a 5 minute ‘drumming session’, not that there was even one full drum kit on the stage but whatever their instrument they struck the beat; what a brilliant way to draw in the audience, focus peoples attention, and get over those nerves!
I get the sense that they have more to attribute to trip hop like Massive Attack than folk, and love this directionality so much more. Their most recent album “Comments Of The Inner Chorusâ€ (2006) seems predominantly more folky, but now I hear it again, I’m noticing it’s all still there – the bass beats and samples and sound effects, but I want them to be louder, I want to feel them! Which is why you must see Tunng live, for a totally uplifting experience. In fact in some instances really they were playing anthems, like Arcade Fire’s anthemic sound… perhaps sit-down anthems (though i would have been standing if I could have!).
On “mother’s daughter and other songs” (2005), I have just discovered much more of the electronic beats and samples that I so loved in the live show and I hope their next album picks up this emphasis again. It’s like samples are the “found object” of music, and this is the point at which folk electronica has arrived at. I can’t finish without mentioning Adam (?), who Tunng brought up on stage to take them in yet another direction altogether, as he played out some crazy dance beats/almost heavy metal vibes on his toy synthesiser! This feature of their show demonstrates just how prepared they are to try (and succeed in) something a little unusual and best of all, that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
The band Tunng’s website
This review is also published on Last.fm