The sound of Tuner is generally characterized as
“prog-rock,” but in reality it’s much more than this…it’s the sound
of the apocalypse, perhaps, or maybe that of heavenly ascent. It’s kinda hard
to put your finger on it, really, ’cause with all of the otherworldly and
arcane noises that the duo of American Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) and German
Markus Reuter (Centrozoon) manage to coax and coerce outta their squawkboxes,
the average listener can’t be certain they he/she/it hasn’t been launched into
some sort of cosmic aural acid trip….
Müüt: Live In Estonia
2007 has our intrepid duo bringing their rabid oscillating electronic
sideshow to an actual stage, blurring the line between reality and insanity
with performances that are at once both starkly elegant and sharply cruel. Kind
of like sticking a cattle prod to one’s medulla oblongata, tunes like the
pastoral “Bells Of Tartu” display the sort of shimmering gossamer
mindvibe that the best electronic music can conjure from the alchemy of sound.
The darkly beautiful “Imur” is languid in its
pace, with angelic vocals from (I think) the woefully underrated Toyah Wilcox. On
the other hand, the percussive, eleven-minute “Müüt” sounds like
something that would be blastin’ outta Satan’s car radio, the sepulchre
soundtrack to the machination’s of Dante’s worst nightmares, or perhaps just a
trip to the dentist.
In the end, Tuner’s sound is tied to traditional prog-rock
by the most tenuous of threads. There are too many elements of electronic
(think Klaus Schulze), ambient (Eno meets Cluster), and industrial (Nurse With
Wound rather than Throbbing Gristle) thrown onto the campfire here to draw apt
comparisons to even Mastelotto’s adventurous former band. In the end, Tuner’s
music is challenging, experimental and, at times, disturbing…what it isn’t,
ever, is dull. Venture into it at your own risk….
Standout Tracks: “Bells Of Tartu,”
“Imur” REV. KEITH A. GORDON