Throughout lock down, part of our reviewing process has overlapped into our favourite local walk. Time away from distractions, time to fully immerse in a fresh air loaded sensory feast. A tiny path that follows a riverbank, a few short sections of sleepy country road, and eventually culminates in a beautiful patch of seldom visited forest full of deer and mushrooms.
The whole walk randomly synchronises in with the music beaming out our headphones. The rhythm of breathing, the patterning of footsteps and the span of time within music itself all dissolving into a hugely refreshing wave of now.
Time is one of the elemental and unescapable ingredients in music. It’s hardwired to how everything is organised and arranged, marked out in events placed along a timeline. The actual fixed duration, the organic sense of time inherent within the music, and suggested in various textural elements is scattered and suggested throughout The Lost Clock, a stunning new album by Canadian sonic landscapist Rose Bolton.
These 4 pieces span a fairly concise 36 minutes but as the album opens out, any normal sense of scale is pleasantly vapourised. The opener Unsettled Souls slowly encasing you in slices of Bolton’s atmospheric layering with droning tangents melded to shimmering metallic arcs.
However, the almost 13 minutes of the title track is where things really align into a truly spectacular soupy marriage. The Lost Clock spends its first 7 minutes caught in a slowly expanded orchestra smudge before the simplest of clicking beats, grafts itself into rising columns of light. The spectre of Folke Rabe’s masterpiece What?? drifts through the whole passage of sound like a monumental event ground into an atomic paste and reformatted for alien spaces.
Starless Night collects loosely drawn horizons into a hugely active form of ambience before slowly freezing into a heaving static block of sound. The Heaven Mirror then grows out of deep rippling strings and wobbling keys before the layers grow more twisting and darker. However, as the piece stretches out, it aligns into a joyous psychedelic passage of sound, the dense orchestral twisting eventually rising like ghostly memories.
The Lost Clock, as title clearly frames, is littered with all sorts of ways that time feels somehow fixed and elastic. Much like your heartbeat adapts to various factors, each passing second gathers in minutes, existing in both hard science and something as fluid as our memories. Everything here is coated in a deep sense of illusion and reflection, like a lysergic flythrough the orchestra pit or an old watch mechanism. Nothing ever fully reveals itself, but everything is magnetic and sumptuous.
Whilst it’s not essential to lose yourself in your local wilderness to unlock its secrets, The Lost Clock is a wonderfully enigmatic piece of conceptual and textural ambience.
The Lost Clock of out on cassette on 25 June on Cassauna / IMPREC