Sunday, May 1, 2016

REAL TIME-Real Time (1996)


I've just had THE most bizarre musical adventure! Random selecting something from the electronic/synthpop catalog, I found myself wrapped up in the weird world of a newly-discovered Danish trio that calls itself REAL TIME. Featuring the haunting, hypnotic vocals of a Jeppe Saugmann and the exotic instrumental contributions by a Jeffrey D. Jensen and a Thor Madsen, the collective tunes presented here on their self-titled album and advertised as 'future pop' felt more like a 'freak out' session than a 'chill out' session! Strangely, the tunes also made for a rather soothing and entertaining 45+ minutes, the shudders and scatterbrained thoughts infused into the lyrics shocking me to attention as soon as the spooky carnival atmosphere of the opener, "So Sublime-1", entered into my senses. And it is sublime work by all three guys in this Danish trio, the calming voice of Jeppe and the circus sounds crafted by Jeffrey and Thor creating something that's truly unique. Unsettling yet sophisticated is the second stop of this journey is the album's first drum n' bass cut, "The Space Pilot". An electronic music lover's dream with all of the odd industrial sound effects and the eerie atmospheric melody underneath it all. "Parallel" is one that might creep the casual listener out somewhat. Largely a spoken word offering with Jeppe's suggestive words giving you the sense that he's feeling a certain kind of dark way, it's the combination of the light funky jazz groove, the distinctive riffs of the guitar, the unified drawl of the background voices and the synthesized 'water drip' that really does something a bit twisted to the mind here. One might prefer the extended instrumental portion of this song with the light trumpet and the suspenseful rock guitars the most. How fitting that there should be a selection entitled "Coffin Song"! Even more haunting spoken lyrics here, the question 'why we do the things we do?' repeated and forced into your thoughts over and over. Surprisingly, the groove is quite nice and not so 'deathly' sounding as I expected, the slow rhythm picking up tempo in second arrangement with the pulsating bass. In fact, the music altogether kinda 'brightens up' towards the midway segment to the point where I felt more 'settled' than 'unsettled'. Starting high in the clouds and heading for an empty, abysmal place is what I gathered from tuning in to "Memories And Mass". Beneath the airy ambiance is Jeppe's lofty confession of 'I will fall til time comes to an end'. You might need a sixth sense to interpret the plentiful oddities and obscurities heard on Track #6's "Plenty". Arguably the most unusual musical arrangement on this album, it has both a bluesy feel and an alternative rock feel (excellent guitar work on this one, I must say!) with the digitized voice overs in background repeating 'space time' adding a touch of spacey ambiance. After the short snippet "How Real Is Time?" eases things up a bit, the festive dance party slams into your ears with "Varoom". A fitting title once again, because it's practically full speed ahead on this ultra-groovy drum n' bass jam, the music really springing to life with the dizzying cacophony of instruments towards the end! And just as fitting, my bizarre adventure concludes in nearly the exact same manner it began—the spooky carnival atmosphere of a reprise that is "So Sublime-2". Real talk: this is music that is chilled to the more ways than one:

1. So Sublime-1
2. The Space Pilot
3. Parallel
4. Coffin Song
5. Memorries And Mass
6. Plenty
7. How Is Real Time?
8. Varoom
9. So Sublime-2

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