World Fusion • United States
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Tuatara is a Seattle-based composers collective started by Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees, Justin Harwood of Luna, Peter Buck of REM, and the extraordinary saxophonist Skerik. The band formed in 1996 and expanded to include a 10 piece ensemble known for their cinematic compositions that conjured both jazz and world music styles.

Initially a strictly instrumental venture, Tuatara has become an alternative rock supergroup of sorts, composed of principle members Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of REM, Barrett Martin of the Screaming Trees, bassist Kevin Hudson, horn players Dave Carter and Craig Flory, and percussionist Elizabeth Pupo-Walker, and have moved on to work with a number of reknowned guest singers, such as Mark Eitzel and John Wesley Harding on their more recent albums.

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TUATARA Breaking The Ethers album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Breaking The Ethers
World Fusion 1997
TUATARA Trading With The Enemy album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Trading With The Enemy
World Fusion 1998
TUATARA Cinemathique album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
World Fusion 2002
TUATARA The Loading Program album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Loading Program
World Fusion 2003
TUATARA West Of The Moon album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
West Of The Moon
World Fusion 2007
TUATARA East Of The Sun album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
East Of The Sun
World Fusion 2007
TUATARA Underworld album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
World Fusion 2014

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TUATARA East Of The Sun / West Of The Moon album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
East Of The Sun / West Of The Moon
World Fusion 2007

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TUATARA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Shamanic Nights (Live In The City)
World Fusion 2016


TUATARA Breaking The Ethers

Album · 1997 · World Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
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.

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