Daniel Avery/Alessandro Cortini: Illusion of Time | Review
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. But Illusion of Time suggests that perhaps a more fundamental shift has taken place.
On this album, Avery is working alongside Alessandro Cortini, an Italian synth guru who’s also a member of Nine Inch Nails. It’s not the first time the two have joined forces; in 2017, working remotely, they produced a limited-edition 7" called Sun Draw Water. That record’s two songs both appear on Illusion of Time; the rest of the album was completed in 2018, when the two artists finally linked up in person while Avery was supporting Nine Inch Nails on tour.
Avery may be the bigger name here, but the record has Cortini’s fingerprints all over it, especially when the album delves into the synth-gaze territory of his excellent Volume Massimo LP from last year. Although Illusion of Time lacks that album’s bright colors and wall-of-sound dimensions, there is a similar sense of synth-driven grandeur at work, albeit less polished and occasionally darker in tone. The menacing “Inside the Ruins” feels like something out of Ben Frost’s playbook, its glowering tones churning and crashing amid a thick soup of tape hiss and ...
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