To get a good perspective on how rich and lengthy a body of work Rachel Evans, aka Motion Sickness of Time Travel, has created, one need only pay a visit to her Bandcamp page. It’s all collected in neat, organized thumbnails stacked and arranged, and likely to keep one busy listening for a good week without hearing the same thing twice. This isn’t necessarily unique for an electronic composer; her peers in Emeralds, for instance, have individually and collectively recorded so much material that attempting to track it all down can end up a full-time job. Particularly impressive about Evans, however, is just how sprawling and huge these individual pieces can be. Amid her various limited cassettes, EPs and the rare proper full-length are a slew of side-long opuses, each one an atmospheric journey that can be at times bewildering and disorienting, while at others playful and melodic.
Four such musical giants comprise her self-titled Motion Sickness of Time Travel album, each one spanning 20 minutes or longer, and each one containing a unique character unto itself. The common thread tying all of these pieces together is their slow yet seemingly limitless progression, unfolding from one aesthetic and blossoming into something different entirely. It’s at once bewitching and therapeutic, though for musical pieces that stretch on for such extended periods, one thing that it’s not is boring. Take first track “The Dream,” an amorphous atonal drift of sonic ephemera that harkens back to Tangerine Dream’s space ambient of Zeit, but slowly transforms into a beautiful ethereal passage. “The Center” reaches a similar end, one that finds Evans incorporating her own echoing vocals atop one another, yet on her way to this angelic space she pumps in playful throbs of synth, like some animated factory coming to life. “Summer of the Cat’s Eye” is a bit more melancholy, floating strangely, blissfully like a filmstrip soundtrack beneath underwater nature footage, and “One Perfect Moment” couldn’t be more aptly named. For nearly 22 minutes it stretches out a sublime aesthetic feeling that could go on for another 22, and it’d be just perfect.
A collection of music this massive, inside of an already huge body of work, becomes all the more impressive given the fact that Evans is 24 years old. Clearly, she’s not wasting any time. With this self-titled, 90-minute set, however, time almost seems to stand perfectly still, its gorgeous elements placing the listener in a euphoric state of paralysis. Once it’s over, you realize that’s not true and somehow an hour and a half just passed by, but that’s perfectly fine. It’s an illusion worth preserving.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.