Song of the day – 292: tUnE-yArDs
“Every couple of minutes it gets better,” writes Chuck, a man who should know. “Do please watch the whole thing.”
I did. I’m stumped. I have no idea what to call this. There’s elements of throat singing in there, ukulele, randomness. A patchwork of sound. Reminds me some of the African field recordings Louis Pattison once brought into the Plan B offices. Some bossa nova maybe, fluid elastic rhythms, improvisation. It’s hilarious watching her band trying to keep up. Vocal, yes. Percussive too. Chuck thoughtfully provided a further link to the Soundscapes website, but it’s too oblique even for me. Ah, wait. They provided the video. Have a look and – as Chuck says – don’t skimp on the viewing.
Brief further research throws up the fact Merrill Garbus (the Oakland, CA musician who is tUnE-yArDs) is signed to 4AD, has an album out, five-star reviews in the sort of places that think numerical values are more important than words (The Guardian, AllMusic) and had no less an august authority than The New York Times describe her as “somewhere between Aretha Franklin and Yoko Ono”… which only goes to prove that even the most revered among us can slip up sometimes. No she isn’t. Not Even Vaguely.
Chuck suggests that the rest of her stuff online is not quite as, uh, stirring … but I beg to differ.
Whatever. I’m way late for the train on this one. Following the crowd as they watch the steam disappear into the distance, wondering what time the next one is due. Don’t think there is a next one.