Not Breathing

Time Music of Quazars

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"Recorded at home late at night with the lights out," read the liner notes -- and the thing is, that's a great piece of advice for how to listen to this excellent debut effort from Wright in his Not Breathing guise. At points suggesting a tribal/psychedelic equivalent to the abstract and aggressive electronic mania being cooked up in the mid-'90s from Autechre and Coil, Time Music of Quazars more often could be a more structured, less quirky Orb, mysterious and dreamy. Wright's Arizona background often suggests itself -- there's a certain sense of how his music and that of fellow state dwellers like Steve Roach and Lycia could easily coexist, some sort of desert-inspired moodiness and method. There's a brilliant lead track in the ten-plus minute "The Amoebic Sea," drones setting a mysterious, rhythmic pace before a fast-paced but still very subtle beat starts driving everything forward. The cyclical rise and fall of the song itself could easily be a release on its own, and if the remainder of Time Music falls to a large extent in its shadow, it's still a worthy listen, at once chilled-out and more than a little unnerving. Among the other standouts are "Dhyana," with distorted vocals swirling around a stiff breakbeat and heavily flanged, almost ear-piercing synth tones suddenly building to a beautiful, mysterious climax, and the more straightforward driving techno meets ambient wash of "Cloud Modulation." Admittedly, a few tracks suggest the not quite long-lived trends toward what was bemusingly called "ethnotechno" in some quarters -- it's not too hard to see another notably long number, "3-Legged Beetle Eater," as a Future Sound of London B-side circa 1992, say. But more distinct efforts like the haunting flow of "No More Rainbows" and the Doctor Who aliens getting funky kick of "Birth of Rotorhead" take deserved center stage (and who could resist a song called "Darth Vader Disco Luv"?).

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