Tunng - This is Tunng…Live from the BBC
This is Tunng…Live from the BBC is a curious album because, unlike some live sessions (stadium shows and the like) the Beeb’s studios offer a band a crisp and clear sound in a clean setting. In other words, what you get is a live LP through which a band is shorn of certain studio flourishes, but throughout which the recording quality is like that of a studio performance.
Often live records are aimed at existing fans but This is Tunng… would work just as well, if not better, for people who aren’t already familiar with their work – there’s at least two tracks from each of their four LPs to date. It’s a good survey of their work, with particularly excellent versions of ‘Take’ and ‘Bullets’, both from their 2007 effort, Good Arrows. Throw in covers of Bloc Party (‘Pioneers’, from their debut album Silent Alarm) and 1990 techno tune ‘Naked in the Rain’, by Blue Pearl, as well as a collaboration with Malian band Tinariwen, on their track Tamatant Tilay, and you’ve got an LP that showcases those talents that’s established Tunng on the British music scene, plus an insight into their divergent influences (perhaps) and tastes.
As a collection of various performances, it’s also an excellent opportunity to consider the evolution of the band, both live and in terms of composition. With a plethora of weird and wonderful instruments, they must be quite the band to see in that setting, purely visually, but the shift in their style is also an interesting one, and This is Tunng…Live at the BBC is perfect for considering it. It begins with work from Good Arrows and then zips back to Comments of the Inner Chorus and Mother’s Daughter and Other Songs (2006 and 2005) before fast forwarding to 2010’s …And Then We Saw Land - and that’s only just past the LP’s half-way point.
This is Tunng…Live at the BBC is an example of how different music can sound, whether it’s music you know and love or music that’s new to you, when you record through a microphone rather than through direct inputs and the like, even if the studio conditions are effectively the same. Tunng, when they’re ‘almost live’, but not quite live, really benefit from that distance, that cleanliness. If you don’t yet know the band, pick this one up.