For any British band, the first live BBC session is a rite of passage, an entrance to a club stewarded by Peel, Lamacq, Harris and any number of legendary names from the annals of broadcasting history. Then, some years later, you realise that you’ve recorded an album’s worth of material.

That’s what the peerless experimental pop band Tunng found, on looking back at a series of radio sessions ranging from their early days in 2005 to their latter days in 2010. So they compiled the lot into a career-spanning LP, This Is Tunng… Live From The BBC. “We realised we had quite a big bunch of sessions, and on listening back to them felt they sort of represented a nice little journey for us,” says band member Phil Winter. “There’s quite a range there, from the big full-on ones to the small intimate ones.”

He’s not wrong: this album takes in intimate acoustic performances for Rob Da Bank to their collaboration with Malian desert blues heroes Tinariwen, Tamatant Tilay. Radio 2 legend Bob Harris may or may not be on one track, too. “I seem to remember him ‘playing’ a telephone directory along to one of our songs,” says Phil. “The Tinariwen session was amazing, because we didn't have a clue what we were going to play. It was so great just hearing it slowly come together.”

Throughout the album, the performances present the special kind of magic that happens when Tunng play live: the unpredictability of improvisation and the warm sound of myriad instruments dancing around band leader Mike Lindsay’s honeyed tones.

“Tunng are almost from another time, another place,” says BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, for whom a number of the sessions were recorded. “When I think of Tunng I think of festivals, of sun, of smiles.”

Aside from this special release, there are exciting things afoot in the Tunng camp. With a new Tunng album due next year, Mike is currently hiding out in Iceland making a solo album with members of the local Husavik community under the name Cheek Mountain Thief. Mike fell in love with Iceland after playing Airwaves 2010 and decided to spend two months in the remote Northeast town of Husavik, borrowing enough equipment to build a small studio in a cabin facing the Kinnafjoll (cheek mountains). Mike has since moved to Iceland and the album has developed more, including guest vocals from Sin Fang, Mugison and the Kafibarrinn choir. Due for an early 2012 release too, it’s set to be bumper year for Tunng fans.