Tussle is back! And this time, they’ve brought backup. Tempest, the band’s fourth album from Smalltown Supersound was recorded last year in Glasgow with JD Twitch, one half of 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 (2008), 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. Additionally, Warren Huegel left the group. Tussle is now comprised of Tomo Yasuda (bass), Nathan Burazer (samples, synths), Jonathan Holland (drums, samples), and Kevin Woodruff (drums). In 2009, just before hitting the road with Ratatat, Tussle contributed to Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers: Alternative Takes on Congotronics, to which they contributed the Konono No. 1 inspired track, “Soft Crush.” The track was written, recorded and mixed by Tussle and friend in three weeks. The band was inspired by the modest success of “Soft Crush” and applied it’s easy going, less fussy production moving forward with Tempest.
Tempest relies less on studio-craft than previous Tussle albums and alternatively uses the studio more as a frame of mind for fleshing out ideas. Much of the album’s tracks were simple 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. Additionally, Tussle worked with Liquid Liquid members on the album -- they sent Dennis Young rough mixes of a few tracks and he overdubbed his parts from his New Jersey studio, and the first track, “Yume No Mori” contacts a vocal sample from Sal Principato. The resulting album as a whole presents a more concise and considered Tussle. The experimental interludes and drum solos of past releases are absent. Instead, Tempest charges forward with a deeper, more structured sprawl.