Tunng - This Is...Tunng: Mother's Daughter and Other Songs (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


This Is...Tunng: Mother's Daughter and Other Songs (2006)

Ace Fu

People need to stop attempting to make up new and clever names for genres. It's gotten to the point of absolute absurdity now. A friend of mine the other day referred to an album as "easycore." I didn't ask him what he meant by this classification, as I was too busy having an aneurysm at the sheer thought. Now I've got another to add to the list: "folktronica."

That's the apparent description given for the British tandem of Tuning. Their newest release, Mother's Daughter and Other Songs is a collection of electronic percussion, finger-picking acoustic melodies, and wistfully emotive vocals. It's Mike Lidnsay and Sam Genders who mastermind this album, using a variety of influences and techniques to create a rather unique and refreshing atmosphere. Despite all the electronic bleeps and glitches strewn about, the feeling this album gives off is a rather warm and homey one.

Each member of Tunng contributes equal vocal duties, and can contrast a deep baritone with a very light, airy style that calls the late Elliott Smith directly to mind. The crackling glitches add a strange bit of depth to the acoustic basis; the dense arrangement of sounds proving to be rather engrossing. "Tale from Black" is a perfect example of how the folk and electronic elements can beautifully coalesce to create something special. The vocals take on their deep incarnation in this song, and the acoustic picking is so subtle and gorgeous, while the beeps and glitches go from background to forefront about halfway through the song, adding a completely different dimension. The eloquent lyrics further the song's gravity with their tremendous imagery; "she knows the radios run through the night, and she knows that his light leaves the prettiest stains / She builds a shrine on the typing machine, and she curls up to write down her tales." Those are the lyrics to "Tale from Black" right before it breaks into the more electronic half of the song, although the acoustic guitar work remains as present as ever.

The relatively slow pace of each and every song on the record allows them to expand on their minimal basis, making every minute stretch out into the most possible music. The contrast of stunningly gorgeous folk and raw electronica is one that just doesn't grow stale. There's always a new sound, a new arrangement to keep things fresh and interesting, a new dark cave to explore. Just peel back the layers and there's even more to be found underneath; it's truly a full listening experience.