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Tony Wakeford/Andrew Liles: The Wardrobe: Cups in Cupboard
Tony Wakeford/Andrew Liles
The Wardrobe: Cups in Cupboard (2005)
Tursa (UK)
CD

A Strange Fortune GemStrange Fortune's Featured Gem, December 2005

Listen to a one minute sample of The Wardrobe: Cups in Cupboard

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Strange Fortune description

Collaborative album of Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus with noted electronic drone composer Andrew Liles comes out as a shimmering fusion of experimental sonics and mystical acoustic beauty. A limited edition of 500 signed by both Wakeford and Liles.

The Wardrobe: Cups in Cupboard press release

A project of Andrew Liles and Tony Wakeford. First edition limited to 500 signed copies. Released November.

The Wardrobe: Cups in Cupboard reviews

Strange Fortune listener reviews are a free space to share your impressions of the music.

Michael J. Salo says on 9 Nov 2005

To me what this album is is a welcome and unexpected meeting of two divergent camps of the experimental post-industrial music world.

Tony Wakeford is of course one of the main players in what has become the dark neofolk scene, or whatever you like to call it. It's a post-industrial music scene in origin that has gone back and appropriated elements of tradition, to the point where the industrial roots become more and more obscured. Sol Invictus for instance haven't released an easily identifiable "industrial" album since Lex Talionis in 1990.

On the other hand, coming from a similar background you have experimentalists such as Nurse with Wound, Hafler Trio, and HNAS who rather than seeking authenticity, choose to take their music to ever newer and weirder realms. On this side one might include current drone artists such as Mirror and William Basinski. I'm not so familiar with Andrew Liles's solo work in particular but by all accounts he fits in over here somewhere.

Personally I'm an enthusiast of both music scenes, especially when they mix, as in some of the early to mid-period Current 93 albums.

Now after years of these scenes drifting apart I was curious whether such a meeting could work any longer. Happily this album has come along and the answer turns out to be a resounding, dazzling affirmative.

It's a magical mystical listen all the way through. The well-composed acoustic basis of the album shines like Sol Invictus or l'Orchestre Noir at its most majestic. It has the depth of a full ensemble yet going by the credits, there is no supporting band, it's just Wakeford and Liles, which suggests to me a level of genuine technical musical ability I hadn't quite realized.

The electronic enhancement, mostly down to Liles one might guess, takes the results to an even higher level. It serves as a perfect musical counterpoint, adding new and unexpected sonic facets to every passage, keeping my interest high. The clarity of these fluid, ever-moving electronic tones and the haunting, chime-like quality seems to share some spirit and sonic common ground with Tor Lundvall.

The downsides? None really. This is an all instrumental album, no vocals, limiting its commercial appeal somewhat, as does the un-intriguing album name _Cups in Cupboard_ and project name (officially this duo is called "The Wardrobe"(!)). Not too much here as far as liner notes or artwork, although it's attractive enough, and personally signed by both artists.

Overall what we have is a brilliantly refreshing recording required for connoisseurs who demand the most musically interesting of what the post-industrial neofolk scene has to offer. It's the most avant-electronic release of Tony Wakeford since his collaboration with Stephen Stapleton in 1992. That album is now impossible to find, and so I would recommend not missing out on this limited edition offering of just 500.

pif242 says on 23 Dec 2005

Very nice effort for these two artists. Their universes with apparently nothing in common at first sight, blend together like magic. The alchemy of acoustic vs electronic elements is very subtle and to my knowledge has rarely been done so well (even by NWW if you ask me). If you like soft ambiances with weird emotions lurking in the background you will not be disspointed. Somehow it reminded me of the work Tony Wakeford did with Tor Lundvall on Autum Calls, except it's a little bit more melodic and less atmospheric.

Narsheptha says on 26 Jan 2006

Not really my bag, but the amazing talent and innovation of these guys shines through, no matter how seemingly sparse and atmospheric a particular song may be. On a third or fourth listen, the subtleties really start to come through and what I discovered was something intriguing.

I'm only starting to delve into the more ambient/experimental side of post-industrial music, but if I had to pick a place to start, it'd definitely be something involving an artist with whom I was well versed like Tony Wakeford or Martyn Bates. Thankfully, they're prolific artists with involvements in quite a few projects and I'm never disappointed and often pleasantly surprised.

I especially loved the two songs that more prominently featured Wakeford's trademark guitar work, which made them reminiscent of Sol Invictus.

Guess I know which side of the spectrum my loyalties lie between these two divergent camps, for now!

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