Tate & Liles 'Without Season' CD
October 2015 Sweet! Darren has decided to re-release this collaboration, originally released on Paul Bradley's Twenty Hertz label back in 2005, long sold out. It is as unusual as you would expect from such an unusual joining of unusual people.
***Review from The Wire*** Despite a recent interest in solo productions collaborations suit Darren Tate. In the late 80’s Tate was a founding member of Ora alongside Andrew Chalk, Colin Potter and Lol Coxhill. Currently he continues with Potter in Monos and has also ventured into a couple of one-off collaborations such as Without Season with Andrew Liles. Here, the two have split their roles in the project in deference to their primary talents with Tate as the improviser and Liles the composer. Having recorded events in natural settings where Tate can be heard crumpling leaves and creaking hinges to the sounds of birds and draining aquifers, he passed them onto Liles who shaped the context with the help of his synthetic ambience into a elegant Gothic sensibility. On the first two tracks Liles punctuates the division of labour by situating Tate’s unprocessed haptic events against his own ominous melodic repetitions. While Liles deftly manipulates all their materials together into dreamy vibrations, Without Season is most rewarding when the synthetic and the natural are allowed to cohabitate.
***Review from BRAINWASHED*** Written by Lucas Schleicher, Wednesday, 30 November 2005 An incredibly fertile and industrious musical world is going on right beneath everyone’s noses. While this or that magazine is busy trying to pin down the next 10 big bands or the next big scene, musicians like Darren Tate of Monos and Andrew Liles are busy making music, lots of music, and nearly everything they release tackles some new sonic territory.
They refuse to be any one thing except consistent, producing a prodigious amount of work. Yet they don’t receive as much coverage as they should, much of their work going ignored even by those publications claiming to bring their audience the cutting edge in musical innovation.
Cinematic probably best describes the work of Andrew Liles, though a term like that fails to hint at all the nuances that make his music so intriguing and fun. Darren Tate, on the other hand, works with Monos, a group comprised mostly of him and Colin Potter. Their work reaches further into the world of drone music, populated as it is by layers and layers of dense electronic sound and warped samples. Unlike some collaborations, it is actually possible to hear the merging of these two approaches on Without Season. The notes claim that Liles was just the conductor and that Tate, along with guest Kathleen Vance, worked on most of the source material. If this is true, it just goes to show how unique Liles approach to music is. His trademark humor and strange understanding of horror are all present on this disc along with Tate’s thick sound and careful use of variation.
Everything from piano and the sound of candy wrappers unfolding to an accordion and the use of bird calls can be found on this album. Nothing is too exotic, strange, or out of place for either of these guys. Want to tie together the sound of birds, running water, a fat man moaning, and the faint ringing of crystal glasses? These guys will do it and they’ll convince you that each of these sounds are out to kill you while they’re at it. That or the distinct possibility of being suffocated will come to mind and all the claustrophobic nightmares everyone has will somehow come to life and finally deliver on their promise.
Carried out as a single piece in five parts, Without Season builds, recedes, and recycles itself without bothering to stop or take inventory of where it has been. Its 40 plus minute duration is over far too quickly, feeling as though it passed in ten. At times the record is beautifully dreamy, almost as though it were sewn together using silk and nothing more. Even the abrasive parts, especially the awesome hum that opens the album, sounds smooth and fine as it rumbles outward.
The album closes with a simple melody played out between vague environmental sounds, an accordion, and a piano and its wandering rhythms end up portraying the whole of the album perfectly. There’s a sense that Tate and Liles set out to get lost on this record and to bring back all the details no matter how illogical they all might turn out to be. This particular meeting has produced an exceptional and strange record. It stands out among many of the other collaborations I’ve heard and marks another high point for both Tate and Liles.
***Review from The Unbroken Circle*** THE UNBROKEN CIRCLE
Tate and Liles are Darren Tate and Andrew Liles collaborating on this album. Darren Tate is credited with ‘improvisations, field recordings and squeeze box’ whilst Kathleen Vance is credited with accordion. Andrew Liles is mysteriously only credited as ‘conductor’ and appears to be there to produce and balance the music. What strange and ethereal music it is too.
Darren Tate brings us some excellent field recordings that were captured in his garden of flowing water, bird song, creaking wood and insects. Set with this are minimalist electronic sounding drones, slow to develop like marsh gas rising. The music is so slow and often almost imperceptible that the listener’s attention is drawn to the field recordings. Odd digital noises that seem to be unrecognisable speech appear at times. Reverb is added to the field recordings which sound set into a landscape, bird songs seemingly both close at hand and in the distance. Electronic effects and layered field recordings grow in tension, a controlled cacophony of nature. This falls away and the field recordings fade out leaving only the surreal drones, the soundtrack to uncontrolled dreams, our minds left to wander and loop until they find reason.
On the second part, hesitant plucked string sounds and distant accordion replace the drones, a distorted squeeze box and a sound like pigs snuffling combine to disorienting impact. Small chime sounds come in towards the end. In the third part a huge accordion drone starts set in a cavern of reverb, the air moving slowly through the reeds. Reflections of accordion notes hang in the air, the original notes fading into the distance. The never ending reverb gives the accordion notes a glacial quality closer to the works of Thomas Koner than traditional accordion music. Over time the original signal is lost, only the echoes eventually remaining. By the fourth part the sound is minimal even ominous, formless clouds of sound slowly seeping into the atmosphere. Over the course the sound is processed eerily giving the music a mood like that of a 1950s British science fiction film, the land infected, the air poisoned, each person alien to the other.
The fifth and final piece is both the most conventional and also disturbing. An accordion plays a broken, strange folk melody merged with crow sounds and odd resonant processing. A piano plays dislocated notes, so few it is as though you imagined it. Over time all the other instruments are removed leaving only an the piano and a feeling of superstitious unease. This is a highly experimental album but one that reveals itself slowly with a building doomed, almost macabre atmosphere atmosphere. Your garden has never seemed so disturbing.