Story by: Anand Harsh
Photo by: Josh Conder (Connected Visions)
Long before Tsuruda performed at The Untz Festival last summer, he had already weaponized his prodgious production talent into a sonic assault of beat music, lo-fi hip-hop, shuddering sound design experiments, and off-kilter noise art.
In the intervening year and some change, Thomas Tsuruda has not only expanded his international performance range and gotten invited into the studios of the elite experimental set, but also cultivated a wide array of material that he's collected, arranged, and delivered straight to his base. To be a Tsuruda fan is to live for these beat dumps of sound sketches that are as innovative as they are unpredictable.
Last week, Los Angeles' Courteous Family served as the delivery device for the latest Tsuruda album, Unlimited Data. The sprawling 23-track collection features high-profile collaborations with Alix Perez and Woolymammoth, but more importantly gives fans the full range of his métier. Sluggish halftime interludes reel off of fuzz and static aesthetics. Barren soundscapes littered with radio interference swoon and dip right into shimmering hip-hop odes.
Startling, distorted leads drop into glittering synth in “Kava Root.” An undeniable FlyLo flavor is evoked in “Pull Up.” The gritty eerieness of “60%” makes it one of the standouts of the album, alongside gorgeous entries like “Ahumado,” “Field of Cranes,” and “Lost & Found.” There is a haunting beauty hidden around each corner in this collection.
Thomas Tsuruda isn't trying to wreck your subs (although “Nine Tails” comes close). His status as an artists' artist is warranted, but provides false cover for would-be fans who find his catalogs too dense to penetrate. This is entry-level Tsuruda, that can really tell you everything you need to know about this talented producer. There's a breadcrumb trail that can take even casual fans down the path of enlightenment—there be strange beats in here; beware, but don't be square.
The functionality you are trying to use is for members only. Would you like to sign in?