May 25, 2024

Tu-Ner – ‘Tu-Ner For Lovers’ – “free-form exploration”

7D MEDIA 3rd May 2024

King Crimson are known for their razor-sharp precision and Robert Fripp’s refusal to tolerate anyone less than world class in their abilities, so it is a delight to hear Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn here, both previous members of Fripp’s band. Trey Gunn is known for his strange-looking Warr touch guitar, which is made for two-handed playing – double the expression, double the control – and allows bass as well as normal range playing. Mastelotto is a talented, jazz-styled drummer, tight but improvisatory. Here they work with Markus Reuter, who set up his own company (Touch), to make guitars that work on similar principles. So we are guaranteed complex sounds, made with sharpness and control.

I heard their double CD studio album last year and, while impressive, it left me cold. This set, however, is drawn from their 2023 tour and, as a live document, seems much more effective. Instead of the prog compositions I expected, much of it reminds me of ‘Infrared Roses’ by The Grateful Dead. That album is edited selections from the nightly freeform improvisations by the jam-band stalwarts, from 1989, when the band’s soundman was experimenting with electronically treating instruments, sometimes turning one into another with emulators. The music here sounds like free-form exploration; guitars and treated electronics wandering around drum patterns that play as a lead instrument. Each component of the mix listens, responds, pushes in new directions and the assemblage is an interesting journey through sounds and audio textures.

The result is unlike anything you’ll hear this year and a pleasure to experience.

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