I'm Made of Stars / Journal by Time Traveler
The Triangle Records boss Michele Pinna with a tough but rewarding long player
No one can deny that the Techno long player is a challenging format. I mean, any album that fills an entire CD will need some effort to properly appreciate but a Techno album of this length should probably come with a little warning sticker on the front. Don't be disheartened though, as with most albums, repeat plays is the key that unlocks the most rewards and Michele Pinna's collosal debut as Time Traveler is no different.
With a hand in many pursuits from fashion to photography to art and of course music, Pinna appears to be an aspiring polymath (he also runs the Techno label The Triangle Records). His fascination with space is the concept behind the album, nurtured through conversations with his father about galaxies, space and time, as he sought his own path along the well trodden Techno pilgrimage route of cyber obsession. And for most of the journey, he reveals fresh new insights to salivate over.
Intro / I’m Made of Stars sucks you in with its intermittent metronomic bass drum and creepy vocal (that sounds like Jigsaw from the Saw films) with the pace building slowly through the warm, throbbing bass of Alpha and the murky textures on the stark and ambient Dark Priesthood; this is great sequencing, coyly misleading the listener into thinking it's an experimental ambient album that's playing, before the first proper signs of Techno appear in the appropriately titled Currupttion.
Two of the best tracks on the album follow in the form of Middle Break / Restricted Areas and Interstellar, the former proving that melodic Techno can work extremely well if done properly; like These Hidden Hands, Pinna exploits buzzing guitars to great effect. Beyond this point though, the journey becomes packed with hazards, many of which cannot be avoided, even with the ability to jump through time — it's dark, thrilling and relentless at times, with no shortage of action, but, for the headphone listener, it can become claustrophobic and overbearing - a few of the tracks that follow Interstellar might have worked better as 12"s in a Klock set.
Book ending the album with an intro and outro really helps to create and deliver a sense of narrative, but these two tracks so starkly contrast the main feature they're like verbal opening and closing credits of a silent film — additional vocal snippets or samples used elsewhere would have bolstered the story line, particularly in some of the more austere tracks like Timestretcher n*17121985 or the unpronounceable Ω ~ R × Σ. In saying that, many track titles provide perfect stimulus for the imagination, like Chronicles from B-29 Superfortress and Chaos Theory.
Near the end, the pummelling Stardust, with its crackly beats and deliciously subtle drop halfway through, provides the perfect climax; thoroughly satisfying classic Techno.
I'm Made Of Stars / Journal is a grand statement. Pinna may have used all his best material, providing the listener with great value for money, but I can't help but feel that some prudent editing could have made this album even stronger.
8/10 after 20 listens