- Nathan Yoder
Recommended Listening: Andrew Tuttle & Padang Food Tigers - A Cassowary Apart
At this point in the pandemic, I have become somewhat accustomed to social isolation and feel rather contented in my small bubble. Granted, not everyone has an introverted streak, nor does every person have access to a safe living space, so I do not take my situation for granted. I know that I am very fortunate in so many ways.
Most of my discomfort, then, seems to be rooted in the monotony of day-to-day routines. Wake up and exercise. Work. Eat and watch TV and read. Sleep. Repeat. Obviously there are worse problems to have, but these overcast days are all blurring together and beginning to make me a little bit crazy.
It seems, though, that Andrew Tuttle and Padang Food Tigers cleverly figured out a way to battle social isolation while also breaking up this endless Groundhog Day repetition. On their new collaborative album, A Cassowary Apart, these ambient musicians, separated by continents, combined forces to create something truly beautiful. Tuttle (who is based in Brisbane and has been featured on DC before) and Padang Food Tigers (based in London) began sending audio files back and forth, and then riffing off the shared sonic explorations. The two parties have never met in person, but Tuttle jokes that since the ambient banjo scene isn't exactly huge, they have followed each other for a while, and had actually been in communication prior to the onset of Covid. Due to this familiarity, overlapping musical sensibilities, and desire to connect, Tuttle and the "Food Tiger's" experimental creations began to blend together seamlessly.
Through collaboration, then, the musicians were able to maintain a sense of community, even from the safety of their own studios. But Tuttle shares that another joy stemming from this project was simply waking up to new emails each day. Due to the AU/UK time differences, the artists never worked during the same hours, so most of Tuttle's mornings began with an enthusiastic email scan to find new music - a pretty great way to wake up, indeed.
As alluded to already, both Tuttle and Pagang Food Tigers operate in a small-but-growing ambient strings genre - think spare banjo plucks, pedal steel, walls of guitar, tape loop, field recordings, a bit of synth. On A Cassowary Apart, it's difficult to pick out who is contributing what, which indicates a true collaboration. Opening track (and lead single) Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty-Six references the five months it took the artists to complete the album, and it unfolds slowly, banjo and pedal steel rising up before gradually washing away. Broadbeach Talbot Intersection is a favorite track, as the musicians begin this construction with a more pronounced sound, but then fall back into guitar harmonics and playful stringed interplay. Inveterate Observatories is another blissful piece, characterized by clean guitar tones. When hearing the songs together, you can imagine the artists excitedly layering sounds upon sounds before standing back to appreciate the results.
Photo provided by Bedroom Suck Records
A Cassowary Apart will be released on Friday, February 12th through Bedroom Suck Records, and you can find streaming and purchase information linked here. As these days drag on, let this music be a small joy - a celebration of community and a meditation on gratitude. It was for Tuttle and Padang Food Tigers, and it certainly has been for me as well.