As the world was closing its doors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, calendars were cleared. Amidst the confusion and apprehension of change and disorder, a silver lining of free time created opportunities and space for new musical collaborations. “A Cassowary Apart”, the debut collaborative release from Andrew Tuttle and Padang Food Tigers, is the result of such a time.
The relationship between Andrew Tuttle, Spencer Grady and Stephen Lewis of Padang Food Tigers began organically, as they had known of each other’s music before the pandemic. Tuttle jokes, “Given the size of the ambient banjo music scene, we’d been fans of each other’s music for a while. While we were chatting online, COVID hit and we decided to write a few songs.”
With other projects on hold, the album was written at respective home studios between London and Brisbane entirely over email; Andrew Tuttle and Padang Food Tigers have actually never met in person. Files were sent back and forth across different time zones, creating a collaboration that continued around the clock.
“It worked really well [the time zone difference], because that way, when you woke up there was something for you…a little treat to start the day. We worked on this album on and off for about five months – or Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty-Six hours.”
The influence of COVID restrictions is evident in more than just the title (appropriately inspired by the Cassowary ‘1.5 meters apart’ analogy to be found at Cairns airport in Far North Queensland, Australia). In this project, each musician primarily used the main instrumentation from their own respective projects, but the freedom of working on something new allowed the opportunity to play their preferred instruments in new ways and with new tunings. Despite working from different corners of the world, the collaboration was so intertwined that it became murky of who did what on the record. The fusing of sonics truly exemplifies the total trust and depth of their collaborative process.
“It’s made via such distance, but that’s not a big deal.. we’ve all come to terms with distance. The approach of the record is really just the sign of the times. Although it limits us, it makes certain things possible.”
Swelling synths intertwine with banjo, lap steel and field recordings, sometimes layered with such subtlety that the listener can’t quite tell where one sound ends and the next begins. Shimmering waves of decay, reverberation and processed electronics create a space that is abundant and generous, welcoming the listener into the sonic warmth of the release.
“A Cassowary Apart” is available digitally + on limited edition vinyl through Bedroom Suck Records on February 12th, 2021.
released February 12, 2021
All songs written, recorded, improvised, edited and mixed between March to August 2020 in London and Brisbane (Meanjin).
Andrew Tuttle: banjo, acoustic guitar, electronics, synthesiser, field recordings
Spencer Grady: banjo, harmonica, field recordings, scissors
Stephen Lewis: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, dobro, lap steel, piano
Mastered by Mikey Young, September, 2020.
Thanks to: AM, Frith, Joey, Lawrence, Marisa, Rosie, SASH, the Gradys, the Tuttles, Will, the Lewises.
All tracks © ℗ 2021 Andrew Tuttle & Padang Food Tigers, under exclusive license to Bedroom Suck Records. BSR – 095.