Wet Tuna - Warping All by Yourself Music Album Reviews

Wet Tuna - Warping All by Yourself Music Album Reviews
The latest from free-folk journeyman Matt Valentine delves into lysergic funk and psychedelic self-reflection.

Matt Valentine and Erika Elder are the picture of domestic psychedelic bliss, steering their country-fried caravan MV & EE from a log cabin deep in the Vermont woods, where they also raise a young daughter. Two decades into their career as madcap folk songwriters and kaleidoscopic jammers, the couple continues to release music at a prolific rate, largely through their in-house Child of Microtones CD-R imprint. Occasionally, the pair will poke their heads above ground with releases on higher-profile labels. Such is the case with Warping All By Yourself, the latest album from Wet Tuna, the project initially formed by Valentine and guitarist Pat “P.G. Six” Gubler. Working with the psych-focused label Three Lobed, Valentine pours a generous splash of funk into the homebrewed elixir, offering one of his most accessible entry points in years.

Valentine started on this path immediately after high school, co-founding indie/shoegaze group The Werefrogs in the late 1980s. This began his collaboration with Gubler in experimental configurations such as the Tower Recordings, Memphis Luxure, and most recently, Wet Tuna. Oddly, Gubler doesn’t appear on Warping All By Yourself, but the music exists firmly in the territory they charted together as innovators of the genre that became known as “freak folk.” In 2003, Valentine launched the Brattleboro Free Folk Festival, where Crazy Horse guitar jams, raga drones, and spiritual jazz could meet in an ecstatic embrace. Since then, Valentine has compared his ceaseless pace to author Philip K. Dick, who maintained a steady output whether or not he achieved financial success. By releasing proper albums alongside the jammier outtakes, the patterns in Valentine’s vast constellations have become increasingly lucid.

One of Valentine’s latest fixations is lysergic funk, an influence that has colored recent highlights such as “Disco Bev” from Wet Tuna’s 2019 LP, Water Weird. Warping All By Yourself is bookended by two versions of “Raw Food,” an ode to avoiding cheeseburgers, featuring violinist Samara Lubelski. Valentine borrows a few tricks from Don Cherry’s Brown Rice in these songs’ mesmerizing, slow-motion grooves, and near-whispered delivery. With backing vocals from Mick Flower and Doc Dunn, “Ain’t No Turnin’ Back” includes some of the album’s funniest lyrics, as these reclusive weirdo artists sing about what it’s like to be a reclusive weirdo artist: “Free folk is a motherfucker/Shit, you’re a big freak/So many reamers let me be/So many punishers in between.”

“Sweet Chump Change” is the album’s funkadelic crown jewel, a duet featuring the sundazed intonations of Erika Elder. Its lyrics are a free-associative stream of rhymes (“Unicorn blood/Down at the pub” and “Dankazoid jam/Dial-up scam”) that could become grating if you’re not used to hearing a middle-aged dad rapping in the woods. As Valentine lays down slinky keys, hand percussion, and soaring guitar solos, it starts to sound like Herbie Hancock covering the Sopranos theme song—in the best way possible.

Warping By Yourself drifts to a close with the languid ambience of “Been So Long” and a reprise of “Raw Food,” drizzled with Stevie Wonder-style clavinet. These elements, borrowed from funk and soul, are strikingly different from the country-folk side of MV & EE’s extended universe. At the same time, Valentine has always worked like a voracious record collector, looking to expand upon his old staples. No matter who’s along for the ride, each new release dives deeper into his obsessions, and these warped grooves are a perfect place for newcomers to wade in.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Wet Tuna - Warping All by Yourself Music Album Reviews Wet Tuna - Warping All by Yourself Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 18, 2022 Rating: 5


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