tUnE-yArDs have been gathering more and more steam with each album they release. For the uninitiated, the song “Bizness” from their 2011 release Whokill is a great snippet of their unique sound. A duo made up of Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner, tUnE-yArDs create their music by layering loops of percussion, ukulele, horns and vocals on top of bass grooves.
The African influences in “Bizness” are very clear from the moment the song starts. The first sound you hear is a flurry over Merrill’s voice going up and down a pentatonic scale. This sound reminds me very much of a Kora, a traditional African stringed instrument. The percussion loops, bassline, and horn parts on their own could come straight out of an Afro-beat song. It is exciting to hear such a diverse collection of sounds and influences in this music. tUnE-yArDs was able to take many influences of African music, and turn it into a very catchy pop song that is easy to listen and dance to. That’s why “Bizness” such a great example of the unique sound of tUnE-yArDs.