Miles Davis – Tutu (1986)

October 3, 2020
Miles Davis – Tutu (1986)

I’ll admit, Tutu was a shock when I first heard it. I’m not an expert on the 80s fusion scene, but not totally blind to it either. Its not so much the marriage with synthesizers and drum machines that puts me off here, but the restrictive and muted nature of the tracks in general. Most of the time, Davis is in the background, while his more-80s-than-thou band are doing all of the work, fantastic musicians that they are. It feels like Davis is more of an afterthought to some of these recordings.

And that’s not even where my complaints end. This album probably felt dated before it was even recorded. Outside of fetishist aesthetic and genuine nostalgia, the 1980’s sounds and minimalist vision of the future appears in retrospect corny, cheesy and incredibly wide of the mark. Unfortunately, the genius of Miles Davis was not spared from this fate either. Listening to some of the compositions on this record is like listening a QVC infomercial whilst on acid.

But this is Miles Davis we are talking about here. Similarly to some of the underwhelming and restrictive Swans output of the 90s, in the live arena even Tutu breathes like a real beast. A quick look at YouTube has this song – originally fit only for a crockery commercial – transformed into a 18 minute suite of mind-bending proportions. I’ve linked such a performance below, in lieu of the usual album link. Cheers!

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