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V/A - Time and Relative Dimensions in Space

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Artist: V/A

Album: Time and Relative Dimensions in Space

Label: Rebis

Review date: Aug. 22, 2005

The drone has a funny way of overtaking you. It exists out of time; swallowed by its engorged tentacles, the listener experiences dimensional transcendence, with concretized temporality dissolved into the never-ending now of sympathetic tone pulsation. The liner notes to Time and Relative Dimensions in Space peg the ‘transcritical bifurcation’ of ‘Objective and Subjective Time’ as, by extension, the key shift enacted by the drone. One guesses that you could allegorize the five artists on this compilation – Number None, The Skaters, Jim Haynes, My Cat is an Alien, and Taurpis Tula – as the ‘series of agents’ sent to ‘display... a few of the new marvels.’

Time and Relative Dimensions is Space starts loud and slowly sheds volume and density. Rebis in-house band Number None open with “The Pole I’m Furthest From,” slowly accreting spark-wire intensity before throwing the switches on the distortion rack. It is a scouring listen, but the fragile tonology spinning underneath suggests an intricate compositional design. The Skaters’ contribution is another phantom topology of the lungs and throat, carving new and knotted shapes into the flesh lining of the mouth cavity. Imagine Robert Ashley’s Automatic Writing suddenly bursting into life, spouting the passionate shaman properties of an Angus MacLise. The remaining three cuts are about disarmament – Jim Haynes’ editing hand is deft, sweeping through discreet banks of clouded sound, and My Cat is an Alien offer another of their typically rangy ambiences, full of exposed livewires and sudden flashes of electricity, each clang of the guitar mapping out the psycho-acoustics of the Opalio brothers’ cavernous recording space.

Taurpis Tula’s contribution, “Lonely Woman,” is the standout. Brittle chimes are immersed in a thick scrum of fog, David Keenan’s guitar plucking star-shapes from the air and laying them on top of his amplifier as Heather Leigh’s vocals drift from the word to the sigh, hovering high and gilded among the song’s charged atmospheres. That the clocking, chiming backdrop appears to be sourced from a music box is no surprise: one of the other (at times dormant) themes of this compilation is the unlocking of spirits from their respective Pandora’s Boxes. After all, it is named after the TARDIS.

By Jon Dale

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