Marc Ribot Teams Up With Finnish Psychedelic Folk Duo Tuomo & Markus For New Song

Article Contributed by Big Hassle Media | Published on Monday, April 1, 2024

Fresh from their multiple shows at SXSW 2024, Finnish indie folk artists Tuomo & Markus share their new single, "Waiting Room" (Grandpop Records), featuring legendary guitarist/artist/political activist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Black Keys, T Bone Burnett) and Nordic jazz trumpet virtuoso Verneri Pohjola.

"Wating Room" is the first offering from Tuomo & Markus' upcoming album, comprised solely of cinematic instrumental pieces recorded and mixed in immersive Dolby Atmos. Essentially a 1970s jazz-funk track with some modern Afrobeat grooves in the mix, "Waiting Room" finds the Finnish musicians taking a left turn and exploring the urban jazz scenes of Lower East Side NYC. And who could be a more fitting tour guide than Marc Ribot? The New York guitar giant is responsible for the song's sexy wah-wah guitars as well as the compelling spoken word track.

“'Waiting Room' was originally just a studio jam number, built around a bluesy, slightly Tuareg-sounding guitar riff," Tuomo & Markus recall. "It wasn’t really until Marc entered the studio that we found a sense of purpose for the track. His amazing intensity and willingness to jump into the deep end turned it from a jam to a gem.”


"Waiting Room" Single Cover

The musicians remember digging the groove in the studio so much that they kept playing the track until the 2” tape ran out. Keyboard player Tuomo Prättälä was inspired by the sounds of a vintage Vox Continental organ (similar to the organ that Ethiopian music pioneer Mulatu Astatke used on some of his legendary recordings) while Verneri Pohjola added unorthodox live effect treatments to his trumpet on the spot. Meanwhile the two drummers – Juho Viljanen and Jaska Lukkarinen – laid down a steady West African groove, together with bass player Jeremias Ijäs and rhythm guitarists Markus Nordenstreng and Miikka ‘McGyver’ Paatelainen.

"Waiting Room" is a significant departure from Tuomo & Markus' previous recorded works. Firstly, their trademark vocal harmonies are missing from the forefront. The two ambitious musicians are now speaking solely through their instruments while hitting instrumental jazz territory with their impeccable psychedelic approach.

Tuomo & Markus most recent album, Game Changing (recorded with Jonathan Wilson at his famous LA studio and released to critical acclaim in January 2023), was focused heavily on apocalyptic lyrics, psychedelia, indie folk jangles and multi-layered Laurel Canyon harmonies. Its predecessor, Dead Circles (2018) was more of an Americana affair, as the duo held court in a recording studio in Tucson AZ, backed by their friends from Calexico and Wilco.

Up until recently, Tuomo & Markus have also managed to find time to record 7” retro soul singles for Timmion/Daptone under the pseudonym Pratt & Moody. Pratt & Moody’s most recent offering, “Creeping Around,” was released in February and noticed by the likes of Billboard and Elton John.

Writer David Fricke – a longtime fan of the band – has on many occasions compared Tuomo & Markus to the Grateful Dead. Although they hardly fit the classic tie-dye JamBand stereotype of the 2020's, Tuomo & Markus certainly have a passionate love for the same cosmic American songbook as Jerry Garcia once did. They also share the same rare capability of moving naturally and without prejudice from one musical genre to the next without blinking an eye, while sounding totally unique.