STUK - Leuven (be)
AB - Brussels (be) + The War On Drugs
De Kreun - Kortrijk (be)
British avant pop artist Alexander Tucker releases his much anticipated new album, Third Mouth, on Thrill Jockey in 2012. This album builds on the strengths revealed by his landmark debut for the label, Dorwytch released in April 2011, culminating in his finest work to date.
Using songs written over a 12 month period he achieves his own inimitable blend of psych rock and ambient pop using a variety of studio crafted effects, rudimentary beats, guitar and bass, as well as synth and cello drones. He pushes himself even further however as he breaks new ground on the electronics only track “Rh” and heads further out into the deeper reaches of space with the sci-fi influenced cosmic meditation “Andromeon” as well as experimenting with more progressive song structures like those in “The Glass Axe”.
Tucker’s sound has developed over the years since his first self-titled solo album, which featured acoustic finger-picking, experimental electronics and was released on Jackie O Motherfucker’s U-Sound Archives label. He went on to combine compositional song structures, drones, layered vocals and improvisations on his 2005 album Old Fog released on ATP Recordings. This collection of spectral moods, eerie landscapes and fragile emotions was followed by Furrowed Brow (2006) and Portal (2008), where the songs and melodies became more pronounced, whilst infecting the tracks with underlying drone currents, traditional finger-picking, doom riffs and David Crosby inspired harmonies. There was a shift in direction away from improvisation and toward scored pop music for Dorwytch (2011) with its nods to Brian Eno’s Another Green World, while still retaining the organic drones of Cluster and Lichens.
But it is as if all of his fearless experimentation has finally come together on Third Mouth, an album that has both equal spiritual and psychedelic resonance for Tucker. He explains: “Third Mouth is a little bit like therapy for me. It’s about the fact that when I was younger my mum would say she could speak in tongues because spirits were talking through her which used to freak me out. It is also about the idea of having a third mouth instead of a third eye. It was the idea of a voice coming through a person, as if they were a conduit from another world beyond this one.”
Tucker, who has a reputation for seeking out the most interesting people to collaborate with, signed up Karl Brummer to play saxophone on “Amon Hen” but also turned to old friends to appear on the album. He says: “Frances Morgan is singing on ‘Third Mouth’. She played violin with me as part of the Decomposed Orchestra. I’ve known her for years. Recently we both played this Cambridge psych festival and I saw her singing and I thought, ‘Ah yeah, I love her singing. Her voice is so pure and clear.’ Daniel O’Sullivan is someone I have known for years as well, since he was about 17 or 18. Something has happened with my music over the last few years that has led to me collaborate with him more. My music takes a leap forward when I work with Dan. He’s very open and he’s not afraid to be quite cheesy or baroque or over the top. He loves really outrageous proggy stuff like Magma. He’s not afraid to try stuff out where other people are so uptight and more worried about what other people will say.”
In addition to being a solo artist Tucker continues to collaborate with Daniel Beban in their tape loop project Imbogodom – the pair will release their second Thrill Jockey album And They Turned Not When They Went early in 2012. His other bands include Grumbling Fur with members of Guapo and Circle and past collaborative projects include duets with Stephen O’Malley on his Ginnungagap side project and the larger Decomposed Orchestra. Tucker is also a visual artist, creating artwork for all of his album covers and side projects, including ongoing paintings drawings, and comic artwork.