Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: The Time and Space Machine, The Time and Space Machine

The Time and Space Machine appears to be (there’s not much info included with the CD) a duo out of London composed of Richard Norris (vocals, guitars, keyboards and programming) and Wildcat Will (drums, percussion and vibrations).  Norris also wrote most of the tracks.  There are also occasional singers and an added guitar on one track.  Your guess is as good as mine about the Wildcat’s “vibrations” but the credit gives you a pretty good idea of what The Time and Space Machine is all about.

If you thought sun-kissed psychedelia you got it in one.  All of the earmarks of this type of music are correct and accounted for: hazy synths, creative use of delays, flutes, chanted refrains and song titles like “Children of the Sun”, “Trip Sideways”, “Set Phazer to Stun” and my favorite, “More Cowbell”.  That last is a rhythm track that could lead you to think more cowbell isn’t such a bad idea.

The CD opens with “Time and Space” which features a vocal by Norris that might make you wish you had left the disk in the store.  Aside from his work in The Time and Space Machine Norris is part of remix masters Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve.  He clearly has multiple talents but singing isn’t one of them.  His vocals don’t bring The Time and Space Machine down, however, because the rest of the tracks either have guest vocalists or are mainly instrumentals with chanted vocal lines which he carries off without difficulty.  Although some may be tempted to call The Time and Space Machine a one-man band because of Norris’s many contributions to the album, Will’s drumming and percussion are critical to the success of the set.

With one immense exception The Time and Space Machine is a pleasant album of psychedelia that is well performed and avoids the excessive self-indulgence that can plague this type of music.  The Time and Space Machine’s most prominent weakness at this point in time lies in their arranging.  Several tracks come across as a collection of good ideas that don’t quite lie down well together.

The exception is their cover of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” with Raissa Kahn-Panni on vocals.  It opens with the instantly recognizable chiming two note introduction to Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” which is an especially nice touch as Young was first introduced to the musical world at large as a member of Buffalo Springfield.  The Time and Space Machine’s cover is a show-stopper that blows away everything else on the album.  It’s let down by an arrangement that has a break that’s much too short for all of the good ideas present in the song that really should have been explored further and a weak ending that simply fades out aimlessly.  Even with these shortcomings it’s terrific.  They own this song.

If you like psychedelia, The Time and Space Machine is a set you might very much enjoy and with their cover of “After the Gold Rush” you’ll have one of the best tracks you’re likely to hear this year.

“After the Gold Rush” from The Time and Space Machine

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05/10/2010 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , , ,

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