Time Binding Ensemble Nothing New Under The Sun

Asthmatic Kitty
4th January 2022

Format Info

2LP - Black Vinyl

Incredible, incredible recording of minimal, drone and neo-classical compositions from one of Glasgow’s most elusive and inspired musicians.

Time Binding Ensemble is an alter ego of Glasgow-based musician Kay Logan, a multi-disciplinary artist who has previously made music as Helena Celle, played in Glasgow groups Anxiety and Herbert Powell and composed music/sound design for computer games. Nothing New Under The Sun is her first official release under this new moniker and is quite simply one of the most beautiful, elegiac, transcendental recordings released in Glasgow in recent memory. A perfectly balanced double album of drift and drone, it possesses a majestic austerity that constantly feels like a dam holding back an indescribable depth of emotion, layers of phased sound comprised of synthetic brass and wind instruments that exist in near glacial stasis, interlocking with each other but apart.

Inspired by the decaying architecture of St. Peter’s Seminary, a massive Brutalist structure on the outskirts of Glasgow originally constructed to teach young students of Catholicism but now in perpetual decay, ‘Nothing New Under the Sun’ arrives in 24 parts of equal length, the collection cycling through each key of the musical scale before returning to its starting point, like a sundial etching sound from shadows cast throughout a day and night. The rigidity of the composition lends a perfect balance to the sound, the regularity of the tracks (24 tracks at 3:40) meaning that each piece feels like a slice of a continuum the listener dips into. There are shades of Ambient, Neo-Classical, Drone and other abstract musics, with the slow evolution within each piece happening on such a small gradual scale that by the end of the track you feel slightly changed, 24 times.

Nothing New Under The Sun is without doubt a deep listening experience, but one that can also be used as a tool. It’s a meditative experience, an effortless glide into different psychic planes illustrated by the keys the tracks are in. With the first track of the album in A Major (“A Major being as Schubert once professed “suitable for declarations of innocent love, … hope of seeing one’s beloved again when parting; youthful cheerfulness and trust in God”), each track runs up the scale alternating between Major and Minor scales on each key, meaning that by the end of the 24th track the listener feels like they have been through almost a full cycle of emotional existence. It’s easy for the mind to dissolve into a celestial contemplation listening to the Major pieces here before falling to earth, imagining an epic structural, material decay as the accompanying Minor piece follows. Perhaps it can be read as the eternal, cyclical nature of life and death, exaltation and degradation, an eternal Ouroboros spiralling.

The sounds used by Logan in these compositions are facsimiles of classical instrumentation (french horn, bassoon, clarinet, oboe, violin, viola, and cello) rendered digitally but with a patina of over-layed hiss. The effect is utterly hypnotic, resulting in an album that sucks the ear in so deep, the listener so immersed yet locked in a perpetual, gradual upward motion that by the end, Nychthemera in G# Minor feels ends with the beholder surely floating weightless on an even keel, yet somehow with a perception enriched by the experience of Nothing New Under The Sun.

Kay Logan’s work in its various guises has existed just to date just outside the margins but Time Binding Ensemble’s Nothing New Under The Sun announces her as a major talent and without a doubt one of the most restless, constantly inventive and gifted musicians operating in the UK. We can’t wait to hear what she does next.