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Tuatara biography
Ever been wondering what the music will sound like if the famous non-prog musicians gathered together to do some soundtrack music? The answer is TUATARA, it started as a project - then they started doing some live shows - the music quickly gained its surface and identity - in shortest term it's rock music with experimental and jazzier edge.

The original members for the project are Peter Buck of R.E.M., Barrett Martin of THE SCREAMING TREES, Justin Harwood of LUNA and Skerik of CRITTERS BUGGIN; on guitars, drums/percussion, bass/double bass and saxophones (in order of appearance).

They were formed in 1996 in Seattle. In their first period (1996-1998), they released 'Breaking the Ethers' - which was quite influenced by what is highly acknowledged as world fuisioning - this unit was varying from traditional folk to Asian and Lebanese music.

In 1998, the band expanded to an octet, adding Scott McCaughey (guitar), Steve Berlin (saxophone and flute), Craig Flory (clarinets and saxophones), Mike Stone (drums) and Elizabeth Pupo-Walker (conga drums and percussion). This line-up released 'Tradinf With The Enemy' in 1998, adding a wider palette to their musical caleidoscope.

By the 2001, they had 11 band members, adding vintage keyboards, vibes and horns. Next year they released 'Cinemathique', paying more attention to the sublime texture and being overall more ambiental.

The 'Loading Program' gave a more electronic twist to the band's discography, and in 2008 two albums saw the light of the day: 'East Of The Sun' and 'West Of The Moon'. They both featured vocals - featuring vocalists of AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB, JAYHAWKS, LUNA and many others.

TUATARA's music is varied, soothing, clever, and well worth checking.

Moris Mateljan, 2009.

TUATARA Videos (YouTube and more)

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TUATARA discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

TUATARA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 10 ratings
Breaking the Ethers
3.60 | 10 ratings
Trading with the Enemy
3.86 | 7 ratings
2.75 | 4 ratings
The Loading Program
3.75 | 4 ratings
East of the Sun
4.00 | 1 ratings
West of the Moon
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Here And The Gone [with Coleman Barks]
4.17 | 6 ratings

TUATARA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TUATARA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Shamanic Nights - Live in the City

TUATARA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TUATARA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Breaking the Ethers by TUATARA album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.24 | 10 ratings

Breaking the Ethers
Tuatara Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars Taking its name after the New Zealand reptile that resembles lizards but is actually a distinct lineage that goes back to the dinosaur era, the band TUATARA was formed in Seattle by the members of different musical groups that wanted to create an outlet for a more varied sound than the bands they were in. The band started in 1996 by Peter Buck (guitar) of R.E.M, Barrett Martin (drums, percussion) of Screaming Trees, Justin Harwood (bass) of Luna and The Chills and Skerik (sax) of Critters Buggin. The band was actually started to create some soundtrack music but turned into live shows and this debut album BREAKING THE ETHERS. The sounds you will encounter here range from slow and somber to the upbeat utilizing various world folk styles with a jazzy sax touch to the mix with occasional clarinets. The percussion is often strong with congas, vibraphones and marimbas being prominent features but many other exotic instruments ranging from didjeridus, tablas, Tibetan horns, djembes, udus, steel drums and more can be heard.

While this debut is ambitious in its scope, i can't say that it measures up in the songwriting department. Many of the tracks are quite pleasant to listen to but very few actually light my fire and make me want to hear them again. Most are slow and contemplative and would be great relaxation music to enjoy in a nice hot spa at a resort but much of the content here doesn't have enough grit to really get my juices flowing. It truly sounds like a band that is starting out on a journey to create something different from their relative stable careers in the more pop oriented world and haven't learned how to fully exploit the various timbres and flavors of the instruments on display. Nothing on here is as experimental or advanced as other world fusion bands like Codona put out in the late 70s / early 80s. Still this is decent listen and nothing on here is bad or unoffensive in the least bit, just not dripping with originality or contains enough progressive nuts and bolts to spice it up. The only track i really love is "The Getaway" as it is energetic, funky and filled with lots of gusto. While pleasant, the variety on this one is lacking and for a near hour of music it tends to send one to sleepy time by the end of its duration.

Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition.

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