If there is one word that sums up this collaboration between British producer Daniel Avery and Nine Inch Nails keyboardist Alessandro Cortini, it's lo-fi. Every sound on Illusion Of Time feels worn down, degraded, bleating like it comes from a synthesiser on its last legs, and this effect is at times poignant and elegiac, at times menacing and abrasive. Opening track Sun is the heaviest of the record, a bassy 2-note motif that crackles with overdrive and blares like a foghorn, and aside from a short coda it is extremely repetitive.
Apparently Song for Alpha wasn't a fluke. Released in 2018, Daniel Avery's second album sharply diverged from his rave-ready debut, Drone Logic, showcasing his more pensive, ambient side. At the time, it felt like a reaction, a document of Avery's desire to linger in what quiet moments he could find in a life of endless touring and main-room DJ gigs.
To dip briefly into the history of the collaboration, the album follows the duos prior collaboration on 2017's 7" release "Sun Draw Water". Since this, both Avery and Cortini have toured alongside one another whilst working on a record which "explores their shared love of industrial drones and expansive electronics". The result is Illusion of Time. It's an impressive listen; merging Avery's ornate synthetic melodies with the all consuming ominousness of Cortini's solo work.
Illusion of Time is an impressive first collaborative release between Daniel Avery and Alessandro Cortini that conjures a wide range of sonic landscapes, from sun-kissed fields to blustery ruins, and then on to starry nights. This sonic and emotional breadth has a drawback — the flow of the album as a whole — that makes it come off as a demonstration of the awesome potential of the collaboration, as opposed to a self-contained work. Illusion of Time is primarily for fans of ambient music, drone and soundscapes — it bears more resemblance to late Nine Inch Nails than Avery's solo work.