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Source Material

Source Material: tUnE-yArDs, 'W H O K I L L'

by Rachel Devitt

Source Material: tUnE-yArDs, 'W H O K I L L'


The much-lauded second album by tUnE-yArDs (aka Oakland-based indie-rocker Merrill Garbus) has been, well, much-lauded for many reasons, not least of which is the finely tuned and widely varied sonic palette into which she dips. The creatively styled W H O K I L L has been heralded for digging into hip-hop, funk, R&B, free jazz, soul and much more as our own Stephanie Benson put it, treating each style like "a treasure she eagerly excavated from a junkyard." But as the brilliant Sarah Bardeen, our former world music editor, pointed out, what often gets left out of the discussion of Garbus' crate-digging, style-raiding, experimentally hodgepodge approach is the global scope of that pastiche, which dabbles in European, Asian and a whole lot of African sounds. Garbus herself appears to be an avid world music fan, name-checking influences that range from Kenyan to Bulgarian. So we went ahead and took a stab at excavating the more global sources mined on W H O K I L L. Dig in!