TUU: One Thousand Years
The British group "TUU" has been creating its stylish form of ambient for quite a few years now. Their personnel varies among a pool of players, including Martin Franklin on percussion, Mykl O'Dempsey on synthesizers, and Nik Parkin on flute. On this album, Richard Clare plays the winds rather than Parkin. The TUU style is easily recognizable – a notable feat in a field where much Southeast-Asian-inspired ambient sounds alike. TUU's Oriental- melodic line is carried by flutes, sometimes played in long lines and sometimes electronically looped. The rhythms, usually slow, are provided by Eastern percussion such as gongs, singing bowls, and temple cymbals, as well as more international instruments such as hand drums and beautiful, ringing clay pot drums. Drones and underlying ambient samples are subtly layered in with synthesizer and electronics. All of this is crisply recorded with just the right amount of reverb, not the "vast" cavernous echo of some other well-known ambient artists.
TUU always stays in a nocturnal, contemplative mood. Sometimes, at the beginning of a piece, single notes on cymbals or drum can sit for long seconds unaccompanied, as if they were punctuating ancient rituals or meditation. When the rhythms get going, they would be called "tribal" except that it would have to be a rather somnolent tribe producing them. TUU doesn't rely on massed sound effects or heavy multilayering to get their sound; it's a clear, if thin texture, doing more with less. Listening to TUU one gets images of humid jungle rivers in the night, or lanterns flickering in Buddhist temples – a romantic, warm vision of an ideal Southeast Asia distilled for quiet after-midnight moments.