Gunhild Andersen 17 September 2004 It's a Fudge

If the word ”fudge” means something sweet and tasty to you, then the title of Tuna Laguna’s debut is a very fitting one. This release, which I’m not sure whether to call an album, but rather a mini-album or an EP (as the band members are not quite sure themselves), consists of five songs and a small hidden track, totalling about forty minutes of amazed listening. Although the uniqueness of the band’s sound is evident from the very beginning, all the songs have their own personality.

This purely instrumental outfit consists of three guitars, bass, Rhodes, analog synths and drums, creating a warm, unique and varied sound. The songs are intelligently composed, and although mostly utilizing a simple ABA pattern, structured to provide interesting stretches of constant development, making the return to the A-part always a surprising and unsuspected one. The album is very profesionally and tastefully produced, and bits and scraps of sampled noises are interspersed with the songs, creating a somewhat disturbing and contrasting background for the precomposed material to gain colour from.

Stylistically these guys are really hard to put a stamp on, as they make no concessions to anyone’s taste but their own. Although they have been characterized (by their local press among others) as sounding a lot like the Chicago post-rock style of bands like Tortoise, I perceive them as stylistically belonging closer to some some of the less commercial styles of the progressive rock of the ’70s than of any particular modern style of rock . Their tone language has a taste of jazziness to it, but the lack of improvisation and the extreme sophistication of the compositions make the term ”jazzrock” very misleading. I would rather describe them as having a lot in common with some aspects of Canterbury, even if the spirit of British eccentricity normally associated with the genre is lacking in the style of this exciting new Norwegian band.

It’s a Fudge is an unusually strong debut from a band with an unusual depth of personality; their music communicates on many levels. Everyone who has a slight interest in observing the genre of progressive rock – in the wide sense of the term – being reexplored and reinvented to form an exciting and delightful new style no one has imagined before are warmly recommended to give this one a good listen.

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