Review: Tatanka – John Dunbar

Review: Tatanka – John Dunbar

Tatanka – John Dunbar
Track Listing:
1.) Want Not
2.) Leaving Song
3.) Not Important
4.) Blue Floyd
5.) Fast and Furious
6.) Parachutes
7.) Wan
8.) Numbers
9.) Rave Dance
10.) The Shark (featuring Ted Bowne of Passafire)
11.) Sensi Showdown
12.) Warp Speed

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: October 8th, 2011
Official Website: Tatanka’s Website

Group Background:
Emerging from the centennial state out of Denver is the foursome of dubtastic musicians known as Tatanka. Progressive reggae, dub, electro, and even dubstep constitute a unique and revolutionary musical module. The name Tatanka itself translates to “buffalo” from the Lakota Sioux language. Yet their music is more indicative of the future and of contemporary developments in the electronic and dub genres.

Tatanka is currently uniting with Passafire on a leg of their Start from Scratch tour this fall. It will not be the first time the group has performed with a nationally and internationally touring band as they have performed with prominent groups such as the Easy Star All Stars, The Black Seeds, John Brown’s Body, and even the electro sensation Pretty Lights.

Album Review:
Tatanka gave a foretaste of their musical persona with their first EP Sounds In Technicolor, but John Dunbar has officially congealed Tatanka’s inimitability within modern music and culture. From the beloved skank that reggae fans adore to the womps of the relatively fresh Dubstep genre, John Dunbar establishes one thing for certain; a dub-induced journey through layers upon layers of sonic differences.

The outlook one should take as a listener in the transfer from song to song is to expect the unexpected. It is no secret that Tatanka was trying to create a revolutionary sound. To all intents and purposes they successfully escaped the bounds of any specific genre classification. Amongst the complex variations in tempo are classic electric keyboard progressions, synth bass and keyboards, dampened vocals, and heaps of dub effects.

“Parachutes” was the first single on their first full-length album John Dunbar that Tatanka released. The guitar riff shifts back in forth between two different skank sequences and is yet again doused in echoic effects, reverb and even a vocal filter in the latter minutes.

“Numbers” is my favorite on this album. A major chord rings the song in like a cool breeze and breaks down into a slowed skank rhythm. Tatanka attaches an echo effect to the end of each measure and lyrical progression. It didn’t take me long to realize I could not just listen to this album through a set of petty computer speakers. The effects are so heavy that I highly recommend listening through some nice headphones or speakers to be able to differentiate the music from the vocals and experience every layer of sound.

One of the most notable aspects of this album at first glance was seeing the name Ted Bowne of Passafire on the track listing. The song he was featured in “Shark” is perfect for his chords. When Bowne sings, his levels of emotion are accented and complimented by a frisky maneuvering of the musical melody.

Tatanka’s John Dunbar turned out to be a great one for the Colorado quartet. It is a revolutionary concoction and the fact that this band has hit both ends of the musical spectrum is implausible. If you’re a fan of the new developments in electronic music and the ever-evolving traits of the modern music industry you will dig this album.

Written & Reviewed by: Matt Emodi

  • Read The Pier’s Exclusive Interview with Tatanka by clicking HERE
  • [Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]