Motion Sickness of Time Travel is the moniker for solo electronic artist Rachel Evans (she’s also a member of Quiet Evenings). Since 2008, Rachel has been an extremely busy woman, with over 20 releases under the MSOTT name (some LP’s, some EP’s), but this appears to be her most ambitious effort to date. This self-titled effort consists of just 4 tracks, ranging in length from 20-minutes to almost 25 minutes.
I want to say this is old-school electronic music in the grand tradition of early to mid-70’s Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, but that would not really be doing it justice, because MSOTT sounds so fresh and unique. Rather than duplicating the sound of those classic albums, in captures them more in spirit, while carving out new shapes and patterns of its own. The sound drifts from minimalist to deep and complex, achieving an organic space rare in electronic music.
Opening cut, The Dream shifts effortlessly from spooky experimental territory to hazy symphonic textures to melodic sequence driven passages and back again, as Rachel restlessly explores multiple sonic dimensions. Rather than using the boomp boomp boomp boomp bass sequences of her Berlin school counterparts, she utilizes fragile and sometimes quirky sequences, with multiple chord changes. And she crafts strange and beautiful melodies to haunt them, like the ghostly, distorted vocal melody, with a touch of Cocteau Twins, heard in the center of The Center. Summer of the Cat’s Eye is the most ethereal piece on the album, moving from wistful and summery and ending in deep space. It starts out like one of those old Moog soundtracks to some early 70’s film before more spectral voices and some distant sound effects and percussion weave their way into the mix. Beautiful stuff. The final piece, One Perfect Moment, utilizes a transcendent arpeggio that in the wrong hands could become new agey, but Rachel surrounds it with a complex haze of drones and wordless vocal melodies, allowing the sequence to submerge and surface in slow undulations. The piece eventually takes off into space, with a deep, Berlin school sequence buried deep in the mix, cosmic tones gurgling and surging about, and more of those haunting vocalizations (as far as I can tell, none of the vocals are synthesized, but are Rachel’s own heavily processed vocals).
If you’re tired of beat heavy electronica or those endless ambient drone pieces that seem to go nowhere, this may be the album for you. Because this album definitely goes places. This is one of the best, most engaging albums of electronic music I’ve heard in years.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald