Daniel Avery & Alessandro Cortini Illusion of Time Mute Records
Illusion of Time is the first-time collaboration between UK electronic producer Daniel Avery and long-time Nine Inch Nails contributor and synth connoisseur Alessandro Cortini.
The 10-track ambient album is the result of several years of long-distance exchanges of sounds across multiple time zones before the two met in person – a process indicative of the album’s title. Illusion of Time moves, almost track by track, from the cold and gritty to the warm and fuzzy, journeying between these extremes with an oscillating intensity. It gives the album a frantic motion, as though the record is constantly moving in search of answers.
The album’s standout track is the mind-warping, eight-minute-long Water, which delicately nestles celestial textures against euphoric synth pads. But it’s only here, on the album’s longest track, that Illusion of Time truly settles, succumbing to a meditative state best compared to high points on Harmony in Ultraviolet by Tim Hecker and Fennesz’s Venice.
From the distorted drones and scruffy noise on Inside the Ruins to the melodic modular synth patterns of the title track and time-stretched guitar feedback loops of At First Sight, Illusion of Time offers a rich and varied landscape, but its volatility proves to be its biggest weakness.