Tussle is back! This time, they’ve brought backup. Tempest, the band’s fourth album from Smalltown Supersound was recorded in Glasgow with JD Twitch, one half the iconoclastic Scottish DJ duo Optimo. In addition to their alchemic DJ sets, Optimo is known for their much fabled club in Glasgow by the same name. Alas, after more than a decade, the club shut its doors in 2010. Being fans of Optimo, Tussle reached out to JD Twitch hoping doors had opened for new projects. Tempest is the fruit of their collaboration.
Tussle’s last album, Cream Cuts was well received. And following its release, the band won a music award from The San Francisco Weekly. The local rag described Cream Cuts as “Undulating drums, pulsing bass lines, and evocative synth atmospheres, [Cream Cuts] documents a local band that has pushed its style far beyond genre”. The release of Cream Cuts marked marked a turning point for The Band. Following its release, Tussle took time to focus on family and to re-think their approach to recording and music making. In 2009, just before hitting the road with Ratatat, Tussle contributed to Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers: Alternative Takes on Congotronics. The band held their own on the compilation, amongst heavy-hitters Animal Collective and Deerhoof with a Konono No.1 inspired track titled “Soft Crush”. Tussle offered an unflinching sound with “Soft Crush”, described by Pitchfork as “a spectacular funk workout”. Soft Crush was written, recorded and mixed by Tussle and friend in three weeks. The band learned from the success of Soft Crush and applied it’s easy going, no fuss production moving forward with Tempest.
Tempest relies less on studiocraft than previous Tussle albums. Instead, using the studio more as a frame of mind for fleshing out ideas. Much of the album’s tracks were just drum machine sequences and sketches before entering the studio. In the months following the recording session, JD Twitch focused the sketches into a living breathing form. He took some liberties with the recordings, adding quite a lot of his own along with overdubs Tussle recorded from home and sent via FTP.
Tempest as a whole, boasts more concise and considered tracklisting. The experimental interludes and drum solos of past releases are absent, instead, Tempest charges forward with a deeper, more structured sprawl.
1. Yume No Muri 2. Moondog 3. Cat Pirate 4. P44 5. Eye Context 6. Yellow Lighter 7. Lightly Salted
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