Since discovering the Spectrum Spools imprint a few weeks ago, I've downloaded and enjoyed several of their incredible albums. I've already written about Soft Coast by No UFO's and LP by Container, both of which are perfect examples of the kind of forward thinking, original music this label is championing right now. At the same time as I grabbed the aforementioned releases, the new album by Motion Sickness of Time Travel caught my eye and was duly downloaded. I've been playing this one ever since and decided it was high time to give it a little exposure too.
Rachel Evans has amassed an incredible body of work in the three years since the inception of Motion Sickness of Time Travel - over two dozen releases to date on a wide range of labels and in a plethora of formats. That this album is likely to gain maximum exposure for her, it's only fitting that it should be self-titled as it has the definite feel of an attempted magnum opus.
The album consists of four, twenty minute plus slabs of synth improvisation and lysergic drone-scapes, draped with an amorphous haze of analogue experimentation. It's a testament to Evans' skill as a composer and arranger that none of these tracks overstays their welcome despite the extended lengths.
First track 'The Dream' plunges headlong into subtly hallucinatory psychedelia weaving euphoric drones and vocal lines into a utopian drift until everything is overtaken by burbling synth chatter, closing things out on a slightly more sinister note. 'The Center' embeds Evan's treated voice into a bed of Kosmiche arpeggios, sounding like Grouper jamming with Cluster. The track is finally subsumed by a rumbling drone which gradually resolves into a beautiful coda of voice and saturated synth blooms. 'Summer Of The Cat's Eye' is a seductive, sinister piece utilising more ghostly, disembodied vocalising and lapping waves of electronic texture. The album ends with 'One Perfect Moment', a multi-part affair that encapsulates and distills everything that has gone before whilst great clouds of nebulous ambience and backwards masked washes of sound drift over the track like vast storm clouds racing over the desert prior to a thunderstorm.
This is a stunning release that makes no attempt to hide it's influences both historic and contemporary. At various points I was reminded of Tangerine Dream, Florian Fricke, Emeralds, Windy and Carl, Manuel Gottsching, Oneohtrix Point Never and Klaus Schulze but the strength in Rachel Evans' work lies in her understanding of these reference points and her willingness to develop them into new arenas.
I have played this album a great many times so far but am still discovering a host of sonic minutiae contained within it's one and a half hour running time. I suggest you do the same, particularly if any of the above references mean anything to you.
Astonishing release - highly recommended.
'One Perfect Moment', taken from the album Motion Sickness of Time Travel;
Postscript - Rachel Evan's Bandcamp page lists a total of twenty six releases available for download, most offered under the 'name your price' deal. It's well worth a visit if you'd like to track down some of the more obscure and limited run issues. Further details of releases, upcoming shows and general news are available via the Motion Sickness of Time Travel blog.
As a further taster, I also wanted to include the astonishing title track taken from They Came Up From the Hills and Down from the Sound;