June 25, 2014

Motion Sickness of Time Travel: Alpha Piscium

Hooker Vision

Winterville's Rachel Evans has stayed typically busy over the past year, even if most of her work has been under the radar, including a series of monthly CD-R releases unleashed in concurrence with each full moon. Her new cassette release as Motion Sickness of Time Travel, Alpha Piscium, is billed as the proper follow-up to 2012's acclaimed self-titled double-album, and it is similarly dense and ambitious if a bit slighter than its spiritual predecessor in terms of running time.

"The Blossoms" opens the tape with a surprisingly heavy dose of low end. A repeating figure weaves in and out of the frame while Evans' trademark bubbling synths squirm and pop underneath. "Pleochroism" follows that up with some noise-laden atmospherics; it's a rawer, dirtier track than we're used to from MSOTT, more in line with the work of Evans' husband and colleague Grant than her own musical history.

The "Ikebana" series that populates the record's midpoint is a study in psychedelic synth exploration, strangely lit, brimming with weird energy. "No Warning" brings back the bass and the noise and also features the first audible occurrence of Evans' vocals. "You Don't Know What It's Like" is the album's thematic centerpiece and literal heartbeat, an immersive tune whose underlying groove is eventually overtaken by encroaching static. The title track functions as an outro, sheer and pretty and imbued with vague heartache.

Like the most transcendent work of fellow synth experimenter Oneohtrix Point Never, Alpha Piscium finds beauty in the mundane. It is also poised and proud amidst chaos, Evans' finest outing yet. 5 out of 5.