Monos – Age & Transformation / Aged & Transformed
2 x CD: Each CD is packaged in a card stock envelope and then housed in a mini-lp gatefold Stoughton sleeve with matte finishing and spot gloss lettering. Designed by Timothy O’Donnell.
Darren’s work has always been that of a drone eccentric — and proof positive of that is the micro-editions released since 2003 on his own Fungal Records. True modern-day psychedelia, drawn out drone excursions, electric guitar scraping & expansion, synth noodling harbored into small private recordings for the chosen few. The limited number of those exposed to Darren’s view –which was NOT intended to be exclusive — just small updates as to where/what was happening with Darren in terms of gear, mood and circumstance. There is an inherent feel that little editing takes place – just captured recordings with the reel-to-reel on.
Tate has worked extensively with other collaborators – Andrew Chalk (together known as Ora), Colin Potter (as Monos), Paul Bradley, Andrew Liles, Ian Holloway to name a few. Collectively a solid block foundation of great U.K. drone artists. In a collaborative setting, there may be a bit more judicious editing employed for better (or for worse) depending on where one sits in appreciation of refinement over improvisation.
Which brings us to “Age & Transformation”. Two tracks, both around the half-hour mark and presumably recorded in one take each. The first track (Untitled) contains all elements of what makes a Tate recording effective- gentle guitar scraping, echoed city recordings, air vibrations oscillating an overall nocturnal hush that shrouds the whole piece.
The second track (again, simply “Untitled”) is undoubtedly one of Tate’s finest solo moments. A defining impressionistic recording from the middle of the night. It opens with the sound of a freeway – a very distant light traffic flow filtered through the forest. A lonesome organ sonata, languid chords with silence in between weave in and out at various points throughout. Tate sitting by the window capturing the sounds of the freeway, voices – haunting arias both human and industrial.
The 2nd disc is a reworking by Colin Potter. Extracted from the quiet of “A&T”, the first track “Aged” is an encapsulation of the entire recording with the small dervishes, organ melodies and drone wrapped up in an almost tidy nine minutes. The second “Transformed” – is over 40 minutes of water tower acoustic sustained tones, layered subtle guitar hum – a perfect complimentary refinement on a classic ambient improvisation.