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Time Released Sound ~ A Decade of Handmade Music Packaging

Написано на 12.02.2024

In 2012, Colin Herrick’s Time Released Sound was ACL’s very first Label of the Year.  We spotted the label right away, and have been fans ever since.  They’ve received a Best Packaging Award from us nearly every year the article has appeared, and we’ve reviewed approximately 30 of their releases, many also landing on year-end lists, the latest being Maud the Moth + trajedesaliva‘s Bordando el manto terrestre.  This last part is crucial, as it emphasizes the fact that Time Released Sound isn’t just a label whose packaging is exquisite, but a label with exquisite taste.

On a personal note, I own physical copies of about a third of TRS’ releases, many of which are all-time favorites, led by Plinth’s Collected Machine Music, one of the first albums we ever reviewed, set in a collaged chocolate box with an individual music box and punch strip that was different for every customer.  Other favorites include Monolyth & Cobalt’s Polarlicht, Enofa’s Arboretum and everything by Strië, who now records under her given name as Olga Wojciechowska.  But as many as I own, there are always others missing, including the other versions of the editions in my collection.  Time Released Sound: A Decade of Handmade Packaging allows fans to see all of the editions that were created before they were mailed all over the world: if not record covers, then cards and invitations.

Officially joined by designer Maria Chenut, Colin Herrick’s Time Released Sound now has the tribute it deserves – designed in-house, but professionally printed.  As Aquarius Records’ Andee Connors writes, TRS is one of those imprints that shouldn’t exist, but does: an obsessive labor of love that seems a last gasp against the onset of digital domination.  (I’ve also contributed a few words to the project, but had forgotten I had done so until my copy arrived!)

The basic premise of Time Released Sound is to release quality music in quality packaging, offering both regular and deluxe editions so that everyone can afford them.  Inside, one may find negatives, slides, clock dials, trading cards, puzzles, forest leaves, vials of metal or more.  Herrick and Chenut scour thrift shoppes and antique shows, collecting unique ephemera, often not knowing where they will assign them until inspiration arrives.  And of course there is the individual attention to detail, the hand-painted cover of the book’s deluxe edition only the most recent example.

The book – apart from being a celebration of the label – honors the art of inspiration, the creativity of collage, the charm of collection.  It’s also the best book of its type since Stuart Tolley’s Collector’s Edition: Innovative Packaging and Graphics (2014), the difference being that this is a monograph.  Each of the first hundred+ releases receives a two or more-page spread, the longer ones for those with multiple covers.  The book begins with testimonials and ends in a new interview.  It not only intrigues, but inspires; in the midst of reading, one starts to remember what ephemera one might have stashed around the house, and what one might create given the time and opportunity.

Then of course there is the music.  By this we mean the brand new music created to accompany this project: two discs (also available without the book) featuring two and a half hours of music from 36 TRL artists, inspired by the theme of time.  This is by any definition an amazing collection of (mostly) ambient music, bolstered by its unifying theme and overall quality.  The sequencing lends itself to a smooth listening experience (the occasional ticking a lovely reminder).  As these artists have contributed their finest work, it’s also the rare ambient album with standout tracks.

Maps and Diagrams starts the set with ticking clocks and ringing chimes, running water and a sense of flow (as Alan Parsons once sang, “time keeps flowing like a river to the sea”).  Ambient music is often said to suspend, distort or misdirect one’s experience of time, an effect duplicated across these discs.  The yearning strings of Olga Wojchiechowska sing of distant lands lost and found, collapsing the time it takes to arrive.  In “Sisyphus Underwater,” Dalot stops and starts, a reminder of intervals.  The contrast between what is seemingly live and looped creates a feeling akin to jet lag: is this happening now?   Francisco Sonur sends his piece down the post-rock road, while other tracks, through use of piano and strings, border on modern composition.  Of these, Wilson Trouve‘s “Adagio (Quartet)” is particularly poignant.

Hoshiko Yamane leads off the second disc with what may be the best piece in the entire collection, “The Distance Between You, The Difference In Time,” building on the stringed template of Trouve.  The aching is palpable, conveyed not only through music but conversation and clock.  Like many of these tracks, it sends me back to look for the former TRS release, in this case Spaces In Between, recorded with Mikael Lind.  In Tristan Shorr (Gideon Wolf)‘s “Another Now,” ticks and tocks are transformed into beats, ravaging a post-apocalyptic landscape in which time has no meaning.  Wormwood‘s”Miandervane” starts in pitters and patterns and eventually becomes a storm.

On the one hand, the book is a trip down memory lane.  On another, the discs are a glimpse of the future.  Notions of time collide and coalesce.  The second hand spins and spins.  If you haven’t been part of the Time Released Sound experience until now, this is a wonderful time to jump on, and if you’re already a fan, this keepsake edition will become a treasured part of your collection, worth owning, worth sharing with others and worth returning to for years to come!  (Richard Allen)

В 2012 году лейбл Колина Херрика Time Released Sound был выделен ACL в качестве Лейбла года. Они выпустили множество альбомов и книг “Time Released Sound: A Decade of Handmade Packaging”.

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