NUT is the last in a trilogy of albums KT Tunstall began recording and releasing in 2016, starting with KIN. Each part of the trilogy relates to the three existential parts of ourselves: KIN = Spirit, WAX = Body, and now NUT = Mind.
The Grammy-nominated Scottish musician burst onto the music scene with her 2004 multi-platinum debut, Eye To The Telescope, which spawned the global hits "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See." These songs established Tunstall as a captivating and dynamic performer, as well as a songwriter with a singular knack for balancing introspective folk and propulsive rock.
In the last few years, Tunstall has expanded on these musical selves by focusing on a trilogy of records, where each album zeroes in on a single concept: Soul, Body, and Mind. And new album, NUT is the “Mind” record. In keeping with NUT’s theme, "Canyons," a song propelled by a grimy, heavy rock riff, is about the brain, and explores the parallels between humans developing unique identities, and the way nature evolves and is shaped over time.
Tunstall was understandably wary about what might happen while making her "mind" record, NUT. And of course, it came in the form of a global pandemic. However, now that the trilogy is complete, she has the perspective to appreciate the solace and healing she experienced as the songs unfolded. "I did not expect to be essentially documenting such an intense personal journey," she says. "When I started, it was more observational fascination with the subject matter and a sense of personal interest. I did not predict how visceral an experience it would be making this music about myself. It became the audio accompaniment to a deeply transformative period of my life. It's the soundtrack to me creating a new version of myself." In light of this personal evolution, it's no wonder that NUT is such a step forward. However, it's clear Tunstall relished leaving her comfort zone and trying something new.
For all of the music on NUT, Tunstall wanted to give stylistic boundaries to the songs based on patterns, and the idea of pattern learning and repetition. "I wanted to try and emulate the way that our brain works with what you are hearing. I knew from the outset that the album would center around rhythm." Drawing on her love of West African grooves, Tunstall focused on music with straightforward riffs and grooves. The bustling, beat-heavy "Synapse" and the urgent, synth-driven "I Am The Pilot" in particular burst with explosive rhythms.
"NUT is the culmination of a seven-year project," Tunstall says. "It's the final part of a trilogy of records that has spanned probably the most extreme and profound period of change in my life. The personal arc of these three records has been pretty extraordinary for me."