Illusion of Time is a collaboration between acclaimed electronic producer Daniel Avery and Nine Inch Nails collaborator Alessandro Cortini. The project has come together over a number of years. Before they’d even met, they had communicated the idea that they wanted to work together and started working separately, without theme or deadlines. The album came together when they were both part of the Nine Inch Nails touring set up in 2018.
Vinyl LP £15.49 PHLP12
Heavyweight, transparent magenta vinyl LP on Phantasy. Embossing with machine gloss on sleeve.
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CD on Phantasy.
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The sonic aesthetics of Alessandro Cortini and Daniel Avery are already pretty much yin and yang - Cortini’s industrial grinds have a penchant for the foreboding and cinematic while Avery’s music is usually draped in a warm halcyon fog.
However, as well as showcasing obvious strengths, one of the best things about Avery and Cortini’s collaborative LP ‘Illusion Of Time’ is the way in which it emphasises the inverse of both artists’ sounds. As well as being ominous, Cortini’s stuff can quite easily be upturned into beatific drone reminiscent of recent Sunn O))) LPs. Meanwhile, for all its rose-tint, Avery’s wistful revivalism also includes a mourning of lost utopias that were promised by early rave but never quite materialised.
Take ‘Inside The Ruins’, a centrepiece track here. This is a perfect blend of both Avery’s and Cortini’s attributes, its drone monolithic and magnificent as it swells through six minutes. Other cuts in the record’s opening-half share space with The Bug & Burial’s Flame pieces, albeit less in thrall to dubwise moodiness and more to a kind of hyper-shoegaze sound.
The more melodious tunes on 'Illusion Of Time' present like chemtrailed takes on Italians Do It Better or Jesus & Mary Chain. On their own they could come off as a little feathery, but in the context of the record something like ‘At First Sight’ acts as a lovely little harmony-bomb. Indeed, emboldened by 'At First Sight', much of the second half of the LP has a clouds-parting feel to it. ‘Enter Exit’ bathes you in warm-glow synths as waves of distortion gently lap at the shore, cleansing you to emerge anew. It’s the most blissed-out bvdub tune you never heard.
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