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Time Attendant – Treacherous Orb EP

More Than Human

Time Attendant - Treacherous OrbWith a name which immediately evokes time travel (or the expectation thereof) and hence perhaps stepping metaphorically and metaphysically out of the linear and quotidian, Paul Snowdon sends the listener on a trip across distances and the aeons. Lifting off with the fluttery electronica of “Iridium Watcher,” side one soon gives way to more radiophonic sounds of “Voiders Delight.” If the Time Attendant persona were to be compared to Dr Who, he or she is definitely more akin to those earlier papier-mache set and weird soundtrack generations which proceeded the glossier CGI reboot of the twenty-first century.

Guest Dolly Dolly‘s poetry on “Haxapod Star Shuffle” wouldn’t have seemed far out of place interjected in the weirder parts of a Seventies BBC radio science fiction-themed Play for Today. It’s here (and on the gloopily uptempo title track, which could definitely fill a few tranced-out dancefloors should the moment arise and the audience are good with the sound of crows cawing) that affinities with fellow electronic weirdsters raised on a diet of low-tech, low-budget British fantastic fiction (such as Xylitol or Ekoplekz) make their presence felt.

But while obviously as much in awe and appreciation of Delia Derbyshire and Conrad Schnitzler as any sensible retro-electronaut should be, Snowdon makes his own mark on the genre. Microtones and macro-shifts in the very fabric of music – and therefore time – are especially out in force on side two, shuttled and shimmying in a deft musique concrète kinda mood. The whirs and whorls sketch retinal afterglows while creakiness and metallic clunks tighten the vice (perhaps even literally rather than figuratively) until the recordings of what could be pennies dropped or spun flicker restively into the suitably-named “Lethargy Quest.”

It’s left to the drum machines and squirtling synths of “Cloud Dowsing” to draw the EP to a rhythmic close in a pleasing display of how to make a few simple elements work together to cast the listener back into the more familiar reaches of time and space. While retreading and reworking old ground (isn’t that what time travellers are most interested in?), the Treacherous Orb EP is a record to savour repeatedly, whatever the era.

-Linus Tossio-

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