The Crotchety A.I. Engine™ is not quite sure what to make of the phrase “some things must last”. Clearly, some things do last longer than others. Even in this modern age of fleeting sound bites and disposable goods the mother-in-law’s visit drags on much longer than any son-in-law can be expected to endure. Diamonds, of course, are even more durable; they are forever lustrous. But why the imperative? To command an inanimate object to resist the march of time would be crazy, wouldn’t it?
Perhaps there is an alternative interpretation. Perhaps ‘must’ merely indicates the surprising result of applying logic to what we observe in our everyday lives. It may seem as though everything in this break-neck world is ephemeral but mother-in-laws and diamonds endure, so we must conclude that some things last. Cold, hard logic demands it.
But there’s nothing cold about Some Things Must Last from the Progressitivity album by Tunnels; it’s as soft and warm as a baby’s blanket.
Tunnels was formed in the early nineties. The original lineup consisted of Marc Wagnon, a Swiss vibraphonist, Percy Jones on fretless bass, Van Manakas on guitar and Frank Katz on the drums. The band has been relatively stable throughout its life. Wagnon and Jones have remained the core members, Katz was replaced with John O’Reilly Jr. on the drums in 2006 and Van Manakas continues as an occasional guest musician.
Tunnels plays a kind of jazz fusion very much like Brand X; a little more jazzy in places and a little more varied through their use of guest musicians but otherwise almost indistinguishable from that everlasting Brand X thing. Interestingly, Wagnon feeds his vibraphone through synthesisers so that it sounds for all the world like the former Brand X keyboardist Robin Lumley. And John Goodsall appears on the guest list of Tunnels last two albums, making yet another connection with the indestructible Brand X diamond.
Some Things Must Last also features the atmospheric violin of Mark Feldman. It is the softest, sweetest track I have heard in my patchy exploration of the Tunnels repertoire. It is also my favourite from the Progressivity album of 2002. For fans of full-flight fusion in the style of Brand X Crotchety Man recommends the 2006 album release, Natural Selection, which was added to his collection just three days ago.
As a bonus this week, a click on the image below will take you to the YouTube video of Enigma from Natural Selection. It proves beyond doubt that the spirit of Brand X lives long and prospers in Tunnels.