‘Time Was’ finds solo project Zomes recording in a studio for the first time after previously committing his music to tape on cassette decks. Those fearing a new found commercialism should fear no more because this reverberating drone monster won’t be bothering the charts anytime soon.
The songs are essentially a series of thick, softly undulating organ riffs with vocal improvisations soaring over the top. Rarely exceeding a slow plod, the minimal tools used by Zomes capture a range of moods and textures. ‘Loveful Heights’ spins quick rattles of percussion against a waltzing melody and knotted sighs. ‘Monk Bag’ is a gritty pixelated buzz, possessed throat jibberings providing a human counterpoint to the slowly revolving machine backing. ‘Little Lucid Dreamer’ is a menacing dirge that could summon something unsavoury if played at unwise volumes. ‘Footpaths’ is, perhaps, the most gripping of the tracks; it is weirdly captivating and hypnotic but in a dangerous way: like being pinned to the spot by the glare of a predator, unaware that another pack member is stalking you from out of sight.
‘Time Was’ is an absorbing album. The organ drones and vocal weirdness aligned in a collision of unlikely effectiveness. The order and predictable creep of the languidly unfolding riffs provide a bed for the vocals to both duet with and attack. This is an album with claws not easily glimpsed on a first listen but sharp and present nonetheless.