Review: Daniel Avery & Alessandro Cortini’s Brooding Otherworldly Journey In ‘Illusion Of Time’

Daniel Avery & Alessandro Cortini | Illusion Of Time |Mute / Phantasy

Release Date: 27 March, 2020

The work of UK techno producer Daniel Avery embodies an intricately woven contrast of light and dark; as the artist embraces energetic, club-ready cuts intertwined with experimental, industrial drones and steady shadowy beats – allowing, too, for moments of intimate ambient reflection – Avery’s abstract approach to electronic music allows the producer to craft records that glow with a beguiling midnight aura.

With Avery’s willingness to dive into ominous, industrial drones and carefully constructed emotional ambience – it almost comes as no surprise to see a collaboration between the artist and Italian Nine Inch Nails synthesizer maestro Alessandro Cortini. Cortini’s prowess comes in his traverse through psychological, brooding intensities: the moody, industrial textures Cortini is best known for in his work in Nine Inch Nails bleeds through with stunning vibrancy in ‘Illusion of Time’ – the debut collaborative release between the two artists. After working remotely for some time, the two artists finally met as Avery toured with Nine Inch Nails – bringing us an album that is reminiscent of a halcyon, underworld dream.

The titular track ‘Illusion Of Time‘ nourishes an airy, atmospheric soundscape speckled with shimmering dew-drops; a budding melancholia slumbering within the crisp, natural feel of the tender ambience. Drizzling static falls as a gentle rain before a darker incoming storm, the quiet ebb and flow of waves in an infinite ocean with an unforeseen horizon. Within the track blooms an aura of freedom – as if standing alone in a never-ending meadow, or isolated mountaintop; the dreamlike electronic melodies reflective and thoughtful – a silken sadness, drifting calmly in the bellies of clouds in an overcast sky. The delicate layers of sound fashion a rich, immersive narrative in their minimalist bliss – and conceptually, there lies an inherent feeling of acceptance, as if peering through a veil and finding something of great importance that was previously hidden – seeing it clearly for the very first time.

Shrouded in an alien nightfall ‘Enter Exit‘ opens with a shadowy, moody synthesizer – as if cradling a mysterious force, an industrial gloom broods within its focused beat and ominous atmosphere in greeting. Reminiscent of a science-fiction film – within the slow, cautious tempo looms a nervous anticipation, as if roaming the lonely corridors of an extraterrestrial spacecraft ignorant as to what lies ahead, but steadily pacing forward with determination. The low, somber heartbeat from the track’s beginning pulses throughout, never-changing and steadily progressing as the atmosphere swells from a confined synth into a wide open space – submerged in an endless static, quiet fluctuations of ghostly feedback. The rich, ethereal soundscape ripens with a sense of discovery, growing lush and full with ambience – reaching an obscure doorway, or shimmering portal after a nervous traverse. The otherworldly feel of the synths amongst the waxing and waning of flourishing distortion glimmers with vivid fascination, reaching forth with fingers pulled taut into a doorway to the unknown.

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Rating: 8 / 10

Feature Image: Alessandro Cortini & Daniel Avery (Press Image Collage)