Alexander Tucker (musician)
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|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar synthesizer, mandolin, guitar|
|Years active||1990s - present|
|Associated acts||Stephen O'Malley and Alexander Tucker Duo|
Alexander Tucker is an English musician from Kent who writes, records and performs alone and in collaboration with a varied array of artists. One critic writes that "Tucker sounds like he’s following a tradition that has long been neglected, focusing not on ageless songs and ideas but on ageless feelings captured through his droning miasma of acoustic guitar and mandolin." His first musical position was singing in hardcore band Suction in the early 1990s, who according to Tucker "played noisy adolescent punk with leanings towards Swans and Fugazi." His next job was as vocalist of post-rock hardcore 5-piece Unhome who released one album Short History of Houses (Unlabel) and a split single with Papa M. Unhome split in late 1999 and Tucker went on to tour the UK with Detroit space-rockers Fuxa, playing guitar synthesizers.
Tucker had meanwhile been developing his interest in improvisation using detuned guitars, tape loops, mini disc player and fx pedals. In early 2000 he recorded a solo self-titled album of acoustic finger-picking, experimental electronics, field recordings and spooked vocals, which was picked up by Tom Greenwood of Jackie-O-Motherfucker and released on his U-Sound Archives label. This style was refined in his live performances. One reviewer wrote of a 2008 performance that they had "seen a lot of live looping musicians in recent years and Alexander Tucker is by far one of the best. With cello, mandolin, acoustic guitar, his fantastic voice and a bank of pedals, he creates soundscapes which twist and bend through folk, drone metal and electronica." Further years of writing and recording led to an increase in interest and a new record deal with the All Tomorrow's Parties affiliated ATP Recordings label, for whom he released Old Fog in 2005. One reviewer wrote of the LP that "his beautifully spooked wanderings feature both delicately picked banjo and acoustic guitar, violin, piano, detuned electric guitar, found sounds, looped noise and ghostly vocals, all layered to eerily resonant effect. A wintry and wonderful new discovery", whilst another wrote that it was "The kind of fog you won't mind getting lost in....a beautiful listen." Brandon Stosuy of the influential Pitchfork Media and Village Voice wrote that "Over its course, Tucker piles inland shanties atop field recordings, piano, jittery bows, noise squalls, and bone creaks. Throughout, his fingerpicking feels almost possessed." Both of his first two albums were recorded on a digital 8-track when Tucker lived in a flat above Warren St. tube station, and the vibrations from passing tube trains can be heard in the background of some tracks.
Collaborations and Furrowed Brow
Due to the wider audience gained through this release, more collaborations followed, including work with Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) & Khanate on his Ginnungagap side project, and in 2008 as Stephen O'Malley and Alexander Tucker Duo. Other collaborations have included providing the soundtrack to Lali Chetwynd's performance piece at Tate Britain and playing with JOMF, Duke Garwood, Little Wet Horse and more recently with Daniel O'Sullivan and Dave Smith of Guapo under The Stargazers Assistant moniker, and with Jussi Lehtisalo of Circle in Grumbling Fur. A second album on ATPR, Furrowed Brow was recorded in his home county of deepest darkest Kent and released in November 2006. One reviewer stated "Furrowed Brow is without a doubt Tucker’s most accomplished foray into the recorded sphere of everything musical, a great improvement upon his Old Fog collection of 2005", and another similarly noted that it was "a bold statement of a record and Alexander Tucker's finest collection of work so far." The depth of genres covered by Tucker's work was also noted in Chris Parkin's review for Time Out magazine: "this astonishing second album is haunted by John Fahey’s mystical guitar style, but Tucker reinterprets and paints over any old influence with a dense and doomy mix of detuned guitars, looped drones and warped harmonies. It’s the equivalent of dubstep for folk traditionalists." Tucker is also a visual artist, creating artwork for all of his album covers and side projects, including ongoing drawings and comic artwork for Sturgeon White Moss (White Moss Press) and an album cover for Nordic doom-master Wolfmangler.
2008 - "Custom Made" and Portal
The start of 2008 saw Tucker out on tour throughout the UK with label-mates Fuck Buttons. The live debut of Stephen O'Malley & Alexander Tucker Duo is set to feature as part of the London date of Owen Pallett's Maximum Black Festival. In April Tucker released an edition of the ATP Recordings label's double 7" single project entitled "Custom Made". This featured a preview of the song "Veins To The Sky" which would feature on the forthcoming third album Portal. Veins was highlighted by Pitchfork Media and other media sources as a very positive progression from Tucker. The Pitchfork article highlighted its "symphonic textures and miasmic chord changes that will grab your attention...a hybrid between ancient sounds and the psychedelic capacities of one man."
Portal, a third album which took over a year to complete was released on 9 June on CD and vinyl formats, again on ATP Recordings. It was hailed with extremely positive reviews, for example Plan B stated that "his guitar work hints at everything from Led Zeppelin's most stately to My Bloody Valentine's most cryptic, no bad place to be" and Uncut that the album is "a steady grower...a meticulously disorienting, blissed environment...very pleasing." Later that year he performed at the ATP New York Festival, and toured Europe as support to Bohren & der Club of Gore.
In April 2011, he released the album Dorwytch, followed in April 2012 by Third Mouth, both on Thrill Jockey.
- Alexander Tucker (U-Sound Archive, 2003)
- Old Fog (ATPR, 2005)
- Furrowed Brow (ATPR, 2006)
- Portal (ATPR, 2008)
- Dorwytch (Thrill Jockey, 2011)
- Third Mouth (Thrill Jockey, 2012)
- Don’t Look Away (Thrill Jockey, 2018)
- "Custom Made" (2x7", ATPR, 2008)
- John Kealy, Brainwashed, Wednesday 27 September 2006
- "Subba-Cultcha". Subba-cultcha.com. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- Sharon O'Connell, Time Out 10 Aug 2005
- "ALEXANDER TUCKER - Old Fog". Boomkat. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- "Rhino - Rhino Recommends - Rzine #627". Rhino.com. Archived from the original on 2008-09-24. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- "Drowned in Sound - Reviews - Albums - Alexander Tucker - Furrowed Brow". Drownedinsound.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- "ALEXANDER TUCKER - Furrowed Brow". Boomkat. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- "Alex Tucker - Furrowed Brow - Music - Album - Review - Time Out London". Timeout.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-04. Retrieved 21 June 2018.