Timewitch - Timewitch
This review was commissioned through Ko-fi. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
One of my favorite things to do when I was a child was sit around those old, fat CRTVs with my siblings and parents and watch in awe at the latest episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Being so young during the shows peak, skepticism was not in my nature and I would believe half of the shit that that show spouted out at me. I even remember looking up in the night sky, seeing bright lights move ever so-slowly across the expanse, thinking that I had caught a UFO spying on planet Earth. It’s a feeling that sticks with me to this day, and whenever I find myself outside at night seeing those bright lights do I smile and think, “The aliens are back.” While several artists attempt to bring that feeling back, none do it so well as experimental IDM artist Timewitch - even if there are a few bumps along the ride.
Producer Jason Herrboldt is the man behind Timewitch and he takes influence from the early albums of IDM legends such as Aphex Twin, mu-Ziq, and Autechre. His music is, as you might have guessed, a love letter to the outskirts of 90s synth music and occult exploitation videos that continue to circulate on the internet even nowadays. Therefor it’s no shock that the track that kicks off his debut album is titled ‘EXPOSED! The Truth About Time Cults’. VHS feedback and a little jingle you would expect coming off a tape after you’ve shoved it into the mouth of your VCR begin the single before samples, whirling electronics, and overall spooky electronics come out of nowhere. The whole thing lasts for nearly eight minutes before it is shutdown for good, and we move onto the next song.
While I get the idea behind ‘Ocuousexce’ – creating an ambient field of warping sounds with news chatter in the background – I feel as if what’s on display in the song is rather rudimentary in comparison with other modern experimental / ambient acts in the field. It’s not nearly as interesting and could have easily managed to be a portion of another song – not a four-and-a-half-minute standalone piece.
The first two minutes of the title track of the album ‘Timewitch’ made me feel the same way as I did for ‘Ocuousexce’, but as soon as I hit the two-minute mark did I reminisce of so many spooky shows from my childhood that utilized ominous synths to create a sense of dread. Hell, I’d even go back to saying that this wouldn’t sound out of place in a dream sequence during a Nightmare on Elm Street flick. Between that, the whirling synths that make it sound like an alien abduction is about to go on, and the vocal sample repeating the phrase ‘Witchcraft’, I had fun.
‘Wintersum’ follows trend with the other songs on the album, however it instead focuses on heavy synths a la dark ambiance and blown up synths to take over your aural senses. I felt as if ‘Srupsh’ just didn’t have enough meat to the song to last five-minutes and forty-eight seconds. Again, it felt at most as if it could have been part of another piece or that it should have been a thirty-some second interlude and then be done.
‘Miniature Trails of Light’ is perhaps the only traditional “song” on the album. It sounds as if a robot is taking flight on a spaceship into the unknown, rapidly pressing buttons along the way. Those button pushes, however, form a beat and transform into this electronic wonder. It’s a five-minute and twenty-two second electronic piece that might have been what Kraftwerk would’ve sounded like should they have chose to begin their career in the 90s.
The last song on the album is the outro, coincidentally which is what I wanted ‘Wintersum’ and ‘Ocuousexce’ to be. And, if there is one major complaint about Timewitch’s debut – it would be exactly that. One too many songs sound as if they should be intros leading into something greater and more expansive – such as the previously mentioned songs. But it never gets there, and instead edges the entire time never leading to a satisfying climax. I think that Timewitch could have incorporated these 90s occult vibes into more songs like ‘Miniature Trails of Light’ than not.
But we cannot focus on what could have been. Instead, we focus on what we have before us. And that is a fairly well put together album based around experimental electronics, IDM, ambiance, the occult, and VHS aesthetics. While most of that is put to good use, there is still some room improvement with Timewitch. My favorite track on their self-titled is ‘Miniature Trails of Light’, there’s no doubt about that, and I’d rather listen to this song on repeat three-times than dive back some of the other tracks. So, it’s a bit of a polarizing album – but one that I still look fondly on. Six-and-a-half out of ten.Jun 06 2022
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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