Canada - Full Moon 133 - 07/30/07
There is something reassuringly ambitious about "Maps", the self-released debut from Canadian instrumentalists Tunturia.
While their name is derived from the Finnish term meaning 'treeless plain', it's Tunturia's ability to construct a swooning, majestic sound that is most striking here. Make no mistake, this is post-rock of the most epic proportions. A sound that summons the atmospheres of daunting, desolate landscapes and invokes images of vast glacial terrains.
Using an array of guitar effects, synths and thought-provoking audio samples, Tunturia have issued a grandiose statement in Maps. Hailing from the melting pot city of Toronto, this quartet tap into its bustling diversity, defining each of the ten tracks with social, cultural, historical and emotional issues. The grainy audio sample on "Qui Tacet Consentit", for example, is of NRA leader Charlton Heston and deals with his lax attitude towards remedying the powder-keg issue of gun violence in North America.
Both "Cast Shadows On Clouds" and "Echoes Of The Unmoved Mover" anchor this album into the epic post-rock terrains occupied by only a select few. The former moves from celestial, chiming guitar work and echoic sampling that's dripping with nostalgia and into a majestic orchestral passage. The sort of passage the term spine-tingling was created for.
"Echoes..", meanwhile, develops in a more conventional manner. On face value, you may have heard an instrumental passage similar to this one, a hundred times before. But just about when you are ready to dismiss it completely, Tunturia unleash a volley of monolithic, house-leveling distortion that will (quite literally) take your breath away.
Perhaps their crowning moment, though, comes on the 14-minute album closer "Lost In The Hidden Forest". Journeying into the depths of the soul of a faceless man lost in unfamiliar territory, Tunturia seamlessly weave between intricate guitar lines and tentative percussion and into walls of devastating, euphoric noise. It is refreshing for a young band to be so daring and "...Hidden Forest" is sprawling in every sense of the word.
A remarkable debut from a group of musicians with enormous potential. Tunturia: a band with a conscience, a band with big ideas, a band so effortlessly epic that it should be a criminal offence to ignore them.
Copyright © 2007 Michael Henaghan