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scott tuma & mike weis - Taradiddle
Scott Tuma's Digitalis debut 'Not For Nobody' was a revelation for us - not having heard the man's work before, we were unexpectedly treated to the most personal homespun collection of folk meditations we'd heard this side of Loren Connors. Beautiful didn't even go half way to describing it, so you can probably imagine how rabid with enthusiasm we were on hearing that the man was releasing this exclusive vinyl-only collaboration with Zelienople drummer Mike Weis. The two musicians have worked together before (in Good Stuff House along with Matt Christensen, also of Zelienople), but rarely have they sounded so perfectly matched. Tuma conjures up the same kind of American Primitive-era infallible folk melodies we fell in love with on hearing 'Not For Nobody' and Weis matches this with measured, abstract percussion. At times Weis opts to merely bow the cymbals or tap rapidly creating swirling washes of metallic sound, blending seamlessly with Tuma's heart-wrenching ambience and at others Tuma's pained plucks are set against deft rolls and seismic bass rumbles. Each element however is suited absolutely and the result is one of the most affecting records we've heard all year. Comparisons are always difficult with this kind of music, but Richard Skelton and Brian Eno would be appropriate, albeit taking into account Tuma's endearingly smudgy production style. I think the effortless quality here is possibly a result of Tuma's veteran status in the US music scene; this is a man who kick-started the nu-Americana trend as part of the cult band Souled American, and went to the top of the avant garde scene as part of Boxhead Ensemble. Now he's come out with one of the finest albums of the year, with a little help from a friend. Unmissable in every way.