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Go to the Andrew Liles website  Andrew Liles - Mother Goose's Melody or Sonnets for the Cradle [IRC/Klanggalerie - 2005]

Brighton based Andrew Liles has been releasing his own brand of surreal sound collage for around ten years now. He has released a wide range of Cd-Rs vinyl singles and full length albums, and Mother Goose Melody or Sonnets for the Cradle is his latest.

The first interesting thing to note about this album is the presence of the eccentric Alexander Thynn who happens to be the 7th Marquess of Bath. His narration of various nursery rhymes throughout the album add an extra element of the bizarre to an already surreal and curious collection.
The first track titled The Milky way seen through the Cripples Telescope is a minimal affair that builds like much of Liles material from simple tonal elements that create an uneasy droning miasma through which other piece of sound fall through. There are hints of very creepy synthesizer melody that emerge from the fog and have me thinking of those 70s horror movies with Peter Cushing freaking everybody out with his endless stare.

There seems to be a central theme of nursery rhymes, children’s fantasies and other curiosities throughout the album. Safety in Numbers begins with singing children and the Marquess of Bath before entering into a crackling vinyl montage that brings to mind that cavernous depths of The Caretakers ballroom nightmares. There is something fundamentally unsettling about hearing this sort of forgotten old time music run through the mill of modern technology. Voices from the past and all that.
Gilberts Potoroo has a similar undertow and augments the mood with more low end drone electronics and plucking strings. Sounds of the netherworld with Nurse with wound like tapings scrapings and what sounds like a cartoon character madly running round in circles.
One Misty Moisty Morning is a purely tonal piece that at times sounds like a number or organs playing in an old abandoned church. Slow chords and creeping melodies that both lull the mind and unnerve the soul.

Cannula Tubes as fine as Straw is my stand out track from the album. Field recordings and guitar are the primary sound sources and they mix to create an atmosphere that draws you in, conjuring up images of lonely towns in green fields and children playing in the sunshine. But if this sounds all a bit idyllic be warned that the repetitive strums and sounds of water hint of an impending danger and fear on the wind. Sion Orgon of Thighpaulsandras band pops up on the more noisy Quivering Umbels and L314.00 (Floating), where he sprinkles flecks of sound from the Audiomulch sound processing software. The final track Mechanical Substitute for Arms is a long droning tonal workout that leads the listener back to the surface after a trip through a childlike underworld of dread and candy.

Much of what Liles does on this record can be compared to the work of Steven Stapleton, Irr.App.(Ext) or others. But Liles certainly has his own take on things. His fascination seems to be primarily with mood and atmosphere rather than creating the most strange and complex mix of sounds he can find. As a result this album has a direct simplicity to it that gets into your head and is very difficult to remove once the music has come to an end. A deeply unnerving record.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Duncan Simpson
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