Tjutjuna (Self-Released/Fire Talk, 2010)
For: Pink Floyd, Acid Mothers Temple, Tortoise
Byline: Q: Can a mythical beast be found in the stars? And if so, does he wear rainbow sunglasses, and why would he do such a thing? A: Probably “yes” to both. I would think. And I have no idea why he would do such a thing. Shut up and download this.
So I’m going to go ahead and call this self-titled effort a debut. Now, this Denver quartet has been around the block, there’s no question. When I first met these fellas, they went under the moniker of “Mothership.” The group has been together as Mothership for quite some time now, growing up together in the mountainous town of Evergreen, Colorado, spending almost every summer BBQ holiday together, and jamming epic space-prog since high school, or even possibly further back. So when the group dropped the previous name for the much more awesome “Tjutjuna” last year, I guess it was meant to signal a change. What happened, here, you may ask, to this band you’ve never heard of before (except that amazing vinyl single you never actually ordered... remember that one?), and is now being blogged about on the cusp of the group’s first-ever (finally) tour of the Southwest with friends and co-producing cohorts Woodsman (currently riding some recent buzz and on the brink of a brand new EP out through Sacramento’s Lefse imprint)?
Well the first thing they did was drop the vocals entirely. Tjutjuna is now an instrumental band, and this is a very welcome change of internal structure. The band revolves around the band now more than anything else, and even with all the swirling effects, digital noise-noodles and clouds of distorted ambient bliss, they somehow manage to sound more like a true quartet than many... you know, other quartets. Bass, drums, guitar, and synth-noise. It’s as simple as that, and when stripping down and zeroing in on musicianship and texture first and foremost, the fruits of a more intensified, detailed look at each of these elements pays off in spades with moments of psychedelic swathes that streak across starry skies and traverse thickly wooded marshes. Tjutjuna’s songs are cyclically structured, centering around simple chord progressions, hypnotically repeating bass lines, and hard driving drum grooves that run a breadth from jungle-treading low tom jams to astral-gliding, motorik krautrock. But the guitar tones are what sets this band apart—so full, robust, and thick, but also weightless, floating and achingly beautiful. Warping textures throughout the record’s short span ensure that even the 9-minutes of “Riseset” remain hopelessly engaging, so easy to get lost in while you’re subconsciously banging your head against the wall to its throbbing forward motion, and its hard-rocking sections will all but force you to throw up the horns to boot. But the best is saved for last with “The Swish” and “Tatanka Spirit," which recall the beautiful harmonies Pink Floyd always seemed hellbent on force-feeding devotees. No matter what type of groove Tjutjuna chooses to champion (alliteration!!) from track to track, the band remains uncommonly focused for a “psychedelic” outfit, and with the benefit of time and experience, they've reemerged on record as truly a fully-formed grouping of talented artists and devoted, detailed tone-smiths, thus proving to be the next big thing in the world of prog-rock. This is neither presumption nor prediction. This is certainty. You’ve got a chance to hop on the bandwagon early before this thing gets picked up on a label and all your friends have to buy what you discovered for free. Head to Tjutjuna’s blogspot and download this............................