Exposé Online banner

Tuatara — Breaking the Ethers
(Epic EK67908, 1997, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 1997-10-01

Breaking the Ethers Cover artTuatara's CD was one of those Tower Listening Station impulse purchases. I'd never heard of it, but it sounded so cool in the headphones I ended up taking it home. It starts out with a whirring bullroarer, followed by a melting pot of multicultural percussion, all recorded with a crystalline clarity that just jumps out at you. Then I got it home and listened to it a few more times, and realized that beneath the exotic sheen there's very little substance. It sounds like a bunch of rock musicians who are compulsive instrument collectors got together and started jamming. Which is of course exactly what happened. Their knowledge of world music is fairly broad (encompassing Africa, India, Latin America, and the Middle East) but shallow. If you played the same riffs on electric instruments, they would sound quite ordinary, as they use many common rock chord progressions, and (in spite of Peter Buck’s comment that he couldn’t count the time signatures) stick to 4/4 and 3/4 for the most part. Don't get me wrong — I actually enjoy the disc. It really does sound beautiful. The most remarkable thing about it, however, is not the music but the musicians. The driving forces behind Tuatara are Barrett Martin (of Screaming Trees), Justin Harwood (of Luna), and Skerik (of Critters Buggin), with appearances by Peter Buck (REM), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows), and Mike McCready (Pearl Jam). Besides, I have a real weakness for bullroarers and Taos drums.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 13, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Tuatara, Peter Buck

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Minimum Vital - La Source – On this, their fourth outing in nine years, les frères Payssan and company continue moving boldly into new territory, while retaining the essence of the sound that makes them unique among...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues