Burning World Records is proud to present on vinyl the first ever release from the Roadburn Redux 2021 festival that was held strictly online to much applause, and it’s an emblematic one. Tau’s Presents Dream Awake: Live At Roadburn Redux includes the band’s entire set at the festival plus three tracks from a jam session in Dublin. Tau being the group formed by Seán Mulrooney who started his voyage into psychedelic music as a member of Dead Skeletons around 2012 and has been a regular collaborator with Berlin’s kraut rockers Camera.
FFO Wooden Ships, Goat, Moon Duo, etc.
Surrounded by various and talented musicians from various musical backgrounds, Mulrooney had previously recorded two LPs and three eps before evolving into Tau & the Drones of Praise. Their music has been called shamanic rock, ancestral goth and neo-folk to name a few, and the most recent explorations into Mulrooney’s ancient Irish spirituality and folk musical traditions has made the whole sound even more singular and unique.
Tau & the Drones of Praise were already booked to appear at the cancelled Roadburn Festival 2020, before being invited to participate in the festival online version back in April. Mulrooney states “As was with the lockdown situation last year, we hadn’t been in the studio together for months. We were hungry to perform again and get creative. Even without an audience, we built our own world. There is something vital about the whole concert. I’m very proud to release this journey through past, present, and future material, Dream Awake”.
Roadburn comments: “We’re thrilled to announce that this acid-tinged psych troupe will be packing up and heading to Tilburg in April, led by Dubliner Sean Mulrooney. Bringing along a suitcase full of extrasensory delights and magic potions, no doubt, Tau & the Drones of Praise will be setting up shop and handing out feel good vibes like nobody’s business. Expect to leave this earthly plane and head out on a meditative voyage of sonic discovery – Sean will be our guide through shamanic experimentalism, folk-led flourishes and far out lysergic luminance”.
We kick off with Kauyamari, which sort of creeps in with a single repeated keyboard note before Seán begins his tale. Like the other songs, the song titles are Gaelic, whilst the lyrics tell their tales of redemption, mysticism and, ultimately, hope, with his soft lilting voice. There’s shades of very early Pink Floyd here, married to Gong and a whole host of more contemporary pysch-rock and/or full-on tribal world music. But although a live production and pretty hippy-ish, it’s not remotely sloppy, the pacey, catchy rhythms melding around a really tight band of musicians! Second up is It’s Already Written, an up-beat ferociously danceable melody and rhythm. This is the original tribal drumming at pace with vocal interplay between Sean and the band.
Next up in Huey Tonanzin, again an infectious rhythm insinuating itself into your head over the course of its ten minutes. The live setting really lends itself to Sean’s style of “chant – chorus- chant” found on many of the songs here. Tonatiuh feels more spiritual, and I’m strongly reminded of 2019’s excellent album by Australia’s Kimono Drag Queens for that hollow, echoey, hypnotic tribal tale. The Bridge of Khaju weaves another quite different spell through its syncopations.
Okay, some of this is quite literally quite droning, and it can get a bit much as on the Four Horsemen medley, but it’s instantly redeemed by the sheer passion, enjoyment and variety across the songset – I would imagine witnessing this set live would be deeply absorbing (when you’re not doing yer ‘Whirling Dervish’ routine!) All in all, great fun -keep at it!
You can access this intriguing album at: Bandcamp: https://tauofficial.bandcamp.com