Motion Sickness Of Time Travel Motion Sickness Of Time TravelLuminaries & Synastry
Right now I would pay good money to see a battle between the two most hair-raising women of the present ethereal scene. It wouldn’t be a battle in the mud like one of those wrestle matches between muscular bikini girls, nor would it be a fight to life or death in a kick-box ring; let’s not get vulgar or bloody here, this isn’t a biker meeting, after all. It would be a battle of whispers and synth modulations in real time, and the winner would be the one who would fastest bring us in the deepest and longest state of trance. In one corner, Liz Harris, the soul of Grouper, the queen of wooded descriptions and moonlight; in the opposite corner, Rachel Evans, the woman who has been at the helm of this invitation to losing track of time and reality called Motion Sickness Of Time Travel for two years now (while at the same time co-running the small Hooker Vision label along with Nova Scotian Arms, her husband, and being a member of drone project Quiet Evenings).
Why Evans and Harris? Basically, they both come from the same musical reality, the textural experiments of the nineties (brought up to date) that part from shoegaze, with elements of dream-pop and using post-rock production techniques. The main difference is that Grouper parts from folk (in the vein of Flying Saucer Attack), while Motion Sickness Of Time Travel moves in the turbid waters of space-rock with escapes to the cosmic music of the seventies. Apart from the voices floating at some points (or hitting like waves during beatific minutes like “Moving Backward Through The Constellations”, very Seefeel-like at times), the sound of this new MTOTT LP (their second this year, after the reissue on vinyl of “Seeping Through The Veil Of The Unconscious”, and without counting splits cassettes and mini albums) is highly gliding, music that hangs by a thread, suspended between the clouds, with lush valleys so close to new age, so revisited in recent times ( “Ascendant”), while at the same time soiled with the pollution of badly polished analogue sounds. In any case, it’s more likely to find dust on a surgeon than in the grooves of this vinyl (accompanied by a CD with two extra tracks, “Like Dunes” and “Night”, precisely the most chaotic experiments) on which Rachel Evans seems to make the jump forwards she needed to get out of the small circle of self-releasing artists and the cassette scene and enter the world of better distribution and online sale, more professional and with a bigger potential audience, where Emeralds, Daniel Lopatin, Julianna Barwick and other explorers of the empty space have gone before her.
“Luminaries & Synastry” is angelical, it’s a kind of paradise built between the walls of the headphones: her voice is balsamic, her instinctive synth lines run like clear water, and even so it’s not as sweet as it seems; there’s a dark backdrop that is menacing below the surface, a distorted reflection of the light that turns a bright face into a grimace, that phantasmagoric feeling that makes the new MSOTT from an apparently passive kind of dream-pop into pure ambient on the verge of reaching the boiling point, absolutely active, which you listen to breathless and tense, like someone who’s about to solve the most arcane mysteries of nature.