Monday 14 September 2009 at 8:00pm
70 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6LP, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7739 5095
MAX TUNDRA creates a masterpiece of micro-melodies and sound-bytes; a triumph of splicing, dicing and editing. His is an intricate mosaic of sounds and styles, some of which you might recognise from the last 30 years of pop, rock, prog, disco, funk, techno, rap, metal and soul, but many of which are completely new: either from a startling recombination of existing genres, or from Max inventing an original one himself. The attention to detail, and the sheer speed at which ideas whizz past you, leaves the listener stunned. "Each song contains many facets and genres, and the starts of songs are often stylistically extremely different to how they each end up, touring via a few styles along the way," says the man himself. It’s like Yes playing glitch techno with Pharrell Williams fighting Todd Rundgren at the controls while Green Gartside offers his creamiest falsetto. Just call it cosmic glitch-pop r&b.
Merrill Garbus (AKA tUnE-yArDs) primary instrument is ukulele, the tone of which is thin and trebly and lonesome. To this she adds her own field recordings-- the sound outside her window, a child being asked about blueberries, indistinct creaks and clatter-- along with occasional percussion that seems to consist of whatever nearby could be smacked or shaken. Some songs loop these elements into mini-epics that bring to mind an early, crude version of Juana Molina's one-woman-band aesthetic; others sound like they're being whispered around a late-night campfire burning a few tents over.
The ultimate draw is Garbus' voice, which can be husky and serious or else pitched up to make her sound like a kid humming to herself to pass the time. She's got a respectable amount of power and range, but more importantly, she sings with abandon.