Monday, 2 March 2009


I've been travelling lately. Picking up information and ideas. Finding out things I didn't know, hearing songs I never knew existed, and hearing things I knew about with new ears. Folk is a funny thing. Twiddley diddley-ey-ay. But of course it's not, it's blood and guts and sex and drugs and rock n roll. And twee whimsy too, absolutely off it's face on scrumpy to the point of hallucination.

It's weird, there's so many connections through my music collection to the folk scene. And I've been on it's outskirts forever. Hey, I know who Cecil Sharp was. If you don't, start googling. It's worth finding out about.

And "The Songs That People Sing" was itself a song about the traditions and songs and stories that get passed down by word of mouth. "Somebody should write down the songs that people sing" was the line. Catch those things before they disappear from the world, lost forever.

Anyway, I've been through the British folk revival from the sixties, your Davey Grahams and Bert Janschs; your Fairports and Wicker Man. I've followed those bands down and their peers and sons daughters of peers. Meanwhile I've also been listening to some electronic bleeps and glitches from Boards Of Canada, not thinking for one moment that I'd be able to find connection with the plucked acoustic instruments of folk, and found the connection there was via The Incredible String Band. Strange psychedelic soundscapes that also sound like the soundtrack to Bagpuss.

So I've been strumming my own DADGAD tuned guitar over bleepy techno until my fingers bleed. Which is nicer than it sounds! And somebody said, hey that sounds like Tunng. So off I went down another funny little path and found this little collective Tunng, folk and folk influenced pop over glitchy beats, like a cross between Simon & Garfunkel and Boards Of Canada, or the music from Bagpuss with extra Clanger. Beautifully laid back and imaginatively arranged with some great melodies and lyrics. Three albums so far and the sound of a band who are improving with every step. Take a listen to these tasters then go and search them out. As much to do with the Fairports as they are to do with Super Furry Animals. Dreamy and incredibly detailed, probably best listened to over headphones...

Pastoral and yet sounding like the city centre all at once.

Aphex Twin Folk Music.

Tunng - Secrets
Tunng - The Wind Up Bird
Tunng - Bullets
Tunng - Surprise Me


Davy H said...

You're on a musical roll dear heart and it is a joy to see. I had one Tunng song ('Woodcat') which I put on a CD for the car with some Vashti Bunyan and Sandy and all that sort of thing when we went South West the May before last, and it became the music of our holiday, our pastoral in, er, the pastures...Yes I like a bit of off-kilter strummy bleep mallarkey too, in moderation.

Davy H said...

PS: Your John The Baptist set me off on 'Stormbringer' - lovely.

Planet Mondo said...

That is MAD - I literally tuned my Martin to DADAGD over the weekend to show a mate (he loved it)- and spent the rest of the weekend thinking would drum samples offset with squeaks and bleeps from my Microkorg work...

This book is a must if you want to try a ton of alt.tunings

PS being the guitar geek I am what acoustic do you play..

I'm using a DX1 and an Epi ej 212

Simon said...

Mine is an old Washburn electro acoustic, but I'm not sure what model. I bought it second hand, played it in the shop and that was that. Had it about five years.

folky tuning and korg bleeps. Yup.

Planet Mondo said...

Tunng tracks are fab, big fan of Boards of Canada have you got - The Campfire Headphase

Other electro-folk, well worth checking is ..

Epic 45 - Against The Pull Of Autumn (like a British BOC)

And the last Goldfrapp album is gorgeous..Clowns is the opener