Tutu Amuse represents the musical and artistic union of guitarist, vocalist and actor Rosa Landers and drummer, composer, vocalist and producer Janek van Laak. Although the two multiinstrumentalists come from quite disparate musical backgrounds – with Rosa’s creative beginnings starting in the world of drama and jazz singing and Janek’s in experimental and improvised music – the pair had the shared experience of growing up in the same Kiez (or neighbourhood) in Berlin.
Having navigated their way through several lockdowns together in the infamous Marzahn concrete tower blocks of the capital, the duo used the time to create their debut album, aptly entitled “Two To Amuse”. The album is a multi-faceted affair, with shades of Stereolab, Gainsbourg and purveyors of kinky Berlin nightlife from Helmut Newton to Bowie via Don Rogall. Assorted musical influences that include Afrobeat, soul, psyche and krauty duets are fused together to create something wonderfully unique, and as the title suggests, not without a sense of humour.
Treading a delicate path between contemplative moments, on tracks like the opener “Come Closer”, the sparse and pensive “Resident Halbton” and the single “Gaia”, and more frank and provocative ones such as the racy “Crucifix” or the saucily entitled “Fluffy Porn”, the album strikes a deliberately uncomfortable balance between intensity and reflection.
The musical influences too are diverse, disarming and sometimes charming, from the John Barry meets Portishead feel of single “Cherry Riding” and album closer “BIMBIMBAP” to the acoustic, ‘60s free love sound of “Ohm” and “Fertile” and the straight up, percussive jazz feels of “Marginalized Minority”. A rich and varied palette of sounds that prevailed despite the world slipping into what was to be a two year slumber, as Rosa and Janek explain:
„Creepy energy was hunting this Marzahn junkie jungle, but as soon as we locked the studio door on floor 9 – things unfolded surprisingly colourfully.„
The album does indeed speak to the listener in bold colours, and with a distinctly theatrical feel. It’s no surprise then that the couple hold the visual aspect of their music to be vital. Both in terms of their live performances, and in their forthcoming videos, we can expect some stunning and stirring sights that will simultaneously be avant garde and full of playfulness.
With ample touring and more new music to come from this delicious doublet, this looks like being a momentous year for Tutu Amuse.