Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving
TTOL Live at #dnk2019 by Lenscapes
Following their staggeringly epic 2015 effort Yield To Despair, Perth, Australia’s Tangled Thoughts of Leaving found themselves facing a question that will ultimately leap upon anyone who strives to be a serious artist (or professional, regardless of field). Rather than being content with material which had already proven to be both dense and rewarding, how could they continue to challenge themselves, to challenge the very idea of what it is they had set forth to accomplish as a collective? The ultimate answer became to cut through the bramble of their own compositions in search of individual ideas, and to dive deeper into the concept of a single riff or even a drone, to fully explore it, de-construct, rebuild, and go places they never would have expected. These sessions ultimately came together to form No Tether, an album whose title truly represents the material within. What listeners will hear on this record is what happens when artists eliminate their boundaries in the pursuit of discovery; this is the soundtrack to cutting the cord of expectation. The result is a bold work of art that acts both as an experiment and a statement.
On No Tether listeners will bear witness to barely-restrained prog uproar (“The Alarmist”), dense, oppressive doom droning (the aptly-titled “Cavern Ritual”), ultra-atmospheric, jazz-tinged space metal (“Signal Erosion”), piano and percussion-led experimentalism (“Inner Dissonance”), mind-altering post-metal cacophony (“Binary Collapse”) and slow-burning noise rock (“No Tether”).
While it all seems to be a chameleonic, far-flung assortment of stylistic directions, it all ties back into what Tangled Thoughts of Leaving is all about at its core – uncompromising sonic experimentation. Rather than weaving all their many facets together from track to track they instead isolate each concept and flesh it out in its own space, giving them the ample room necessary to breath in as much life as possible. In doing so, the songs on No Tether represent the fullest crystallization of the band’s varying aesthetics. It is an album that is meant to stand alone, and one that strives for exploration and understanding while itself demanding to be studied closely.
Artwork for No Tether was done by Teo Treloar.
— David Zeidler (Young Epoch)
We’ve recently witnessed the deconstruction and rebuilding of individual ideas on Tangled Thoughts of Leaving’s newest record No Tether, so there’s no better time than now to re-trace all the steps back to where the band had their conceptual foundation. Their 2011 debut Deaden The Fields presents as a love letter to prog, jazz and post-rock, unique and sprawling but more dedicated to approachable flow than its unyieldingly challenging younger sibling.
This is not to say that Deaden The Fields can be easily digested upon first listen; laughing in the face of quick and snappy album openers, the record begins with the 17-minute monolith “Landmark.” The impressive trick that TTOL executes, however, is making this potentially intimidating running time feel entirely manageable, as the powerful one-two punch of keyboardist Ron Pollard and drummer Behn Stacy somehow imbue their sonic gymnastics with an unexpected listenability.
For all intents and purposes, Deaden the Fields should be a difficult record to wrap one’s head around, even for seasoned listeners, but it remains such that one can lock into a groove in the same moment that they are awed by the skill and craftsmanship of it all. This is in many ways facilitated by the manner in which guitarist Andrew McDonald and bassist Luke Pollard never overcrowd the mix, and in fact fill the spaces around the free-jazz madness supplied by Ron Pollard and Stacy in ways that pull everything together in the necessary fashion to allow these very intellectual compositions to be instantly enjoyable on the visceral level that is integral to the ultimate success of the music.
Mastered by Swedish engineer Pelle Henricsson (Cult of Luna, Refused), Deaden the Field quickly became championed by listeners, leading to TTOL’s consistent support of major acts touring Western Australia (Russian Circles, Boris, The Ocean, etc.) and their increased visibility and reputation in prog and post-metal/post-rock circles, ultimately blazing a path to their highly touted 2015 masterpiece Yield To Despair and beyond to No Tether’s release in 2018. Through dunk!records fans can now experience their brilliant genesis point anew with this beautiful double vinyl re-release.
— text by David Zeidler (Young Epoch)