Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Taskerlands (2012)

Lim­ited Edi­tion
Reg­u­lar Edi­tion

artist: Task­er­lands
release: Task­er­lands
format: 2×3″ CD, CD
year of release: 2012
label: Time Released Sound
dur­a­tion:  41:44

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Lately I’ve been toy­ing around with the idea that one of the most sig­ni­fic­ant devel­op­ments in the recent his­tory of music is the (rere)revival of folk, and par­tic­u­larly the new hori­zons sub­sequently explored by artists involved in this revival. While I won’t derail this review with too much con­tem­pla­tion of that musical cur­rent, let me at least say that the highly indi­vidual devel­op­ments that some artists undergo are often com­bined in this net­work-organ­ised scene in col­lab­or­a­tion albums, and these can res­ult in even more intric­ate musical evol­u­tions.

More con­cretely: Task­er­lands is the love child of Michael Tan­ner (Plinth, The A. Lords) and David Colo­han (Agit­ated Radio Pilot, Rais­ing Holy Sparks), whose paths crossed earlier in United Bible Stud­ies. Both are artists who have carved an impress­ive niche for them­selves in that loose inter­na­tional net­work of musi­cians that might very well be a cur­rent, work­ing not only solo in a vari­ety of acous­tic, elec­tronic, and folk-inspired ways, but also as sup­port­ing musi­cians for many other artists. This album, how­ever, is the first where both come together as a cre­at­ive duo, fus­ing their unique styles in some­thing sounds unmis­tak­ably like some­thing ‘Tan­ner and Colo­han’, yet which you’d be hard put to hear any­where else.

Even more con­cretely: this means two twenty-minute sound­scapes, based on flow­ing melod­ies and drones for gui­tar and effects, with added col­our in the form of bass cla­ri­net (Seán Mac Erlaine, pre­vi­ously work­ing as Sean Òg), piano (Ker­rie Robin­son), and ‘fre­quen­cies’ (Richard Moult). Though there are at least two small breaks, both pieces can be con­sidered part of one big whole which breathes the gentle atmo­sphere that cor­res­ponds per­fectly to the titles they chose for these tracks: as if a land­scape - as green as Bri­tain or Ire­land - was sub­merged under the ocean, and we could pass through its ter­rain with the ease of a fish, tak­ing in the fusion of an aquatic land­scape with one that used to be dry, and won­der­ing at the sights.

In terms of com­pos­i­tion or impro­visa­tion - per­haps a com­bin­a­tion of both - Task­er­lands runs the gamut from min­imal music and ambi­ent pion­eer­ing to gentle free jazz and the pas­toral atmo­spheres of psy­che­delic folk, ele­ments we could already find in parts of both Plinth’s and Agit­ated Radio Pilot’s oeuvre, but nowhere as intensely merged as on this mar­vel­lous album. The com­bin­a­tion of soft mean­der­ing melod­ies and a mel­an­cholic dron­ing touch is some­thing both men excel in.

If my first para­graph makes sense, then this pro­ject is some­thing of a poster child for the musical move­ment I’m as yet strug­gling to describe, in which folk influ­ences meet up with ambi­ent and jazz, and so much more. Not only that, but it is a lus­cious work simply as it stands, without its his­tor­ical con­text.Time Released Sound should be hon­oured to be releas­ing this end of April, in a spe­cial hand­made boxed edi­tion, as well as a reg­u­lar CD fol­low­ing later. I for one am going to cher­ish this as much as some of the other bril­liant works by these artists, and so should you. Here’s hop­ing they’ll get together again some time.

Reviewed by O.S.


1. In Forests Sub­mer­g’d, No Sea­son Brooks Heed­ing (20:53)

2. Drowned Land Bridges Of Bri­tain (For Clem­ent Reid) (20:51)