Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Darren Tate - Small Worlds (2007)

artist: Dar­ren Tate
release: Small Worlds
format: CD-R
year of release: 2007
label: Quiet World
dur­a­tion: 38:47

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

The second release on Welsh drone/ambient label Quiet World is this one: Small Worlds by one of England’s most exper­i­enced drone artists, Dar­ren Tate (also of Ora and Monos). It seems the col­lab­or­a­tion between him and Quiet World owner Ian Hol­lo­way was so pleas­ant that the lat­ter decided to release one of Tate’s albums as well. Another good turn of events for the label, because although Small Worlds is again a record only for obscure ambi­ent con­nois­seurs, it def­in­itely fits the label.

I haven’t heard any of Tate’s other works yet, but on this one, he presents an approach to ambi­ent that is min­im­al­istic and estranging, yet betrays a subtle touch of someone who knows what he’s doing. The first of the three untitled tracks, the shortest one, is based on some spacey float­ing melod­ies, with added drones, little touches, and effects. The second track is a bit heav­ier, with a thick dis­tor­ted drone in the back­ground, which is joined later by faint elec­tric gui­tar sounds: ran­dom notes, delay, tun­ing and detun­ing. The final track, which takes up over half of the album’s dur­a­tion, starts off with a fluc­tu­at­ing drone, occa­sional bits of organ, and more gui­tar sounds. These ele­ments all go through a gradual devel­op­ment, which espe­cially the drone increas­ing in intens­ity.

As befits the title of the album, Tate con­jures up little worlds of his own, each with a dis­tinct sound and mood. Lit­er­ally oth­er­worldly. I think the album should be inter­est­ing for lov­ers of deep drones, calm and quiet listen­ing ses­sions, and the like. But, like many of the releases from the people around Quiet World, this isn’t for cas­ual listen­ers an account of its being very min­im­al­istic. Sim­il­arly, the release does­n’t tran­scend its genre bound­ar­ies: it’s a qual­ity drone album for insiders, plain and simple.

Reviewed by O.S.


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