It’s difficult to find a single adjective to describe this album. It would likely be silly of me to even try. You see, often times, when attempting to describe an album, there is at least a modicum of established design to latch on to and create an accurate characterization. This worked well in the case of Worlds where it was a “new” style, or whatever, yet still grounded itself in the electronic music arena.
Telling Time What To Do is an experimental album in the strictest sense of the word. There is very little affiliation with electronic music here aside from it being electronically produced. Think if Amon Tobin, Culprate and Aphex Twin all simultaneously inseminated a computer and the computer did meth while the baby was gestating, this would be the result.
Nine tracks in 44 minutes make up this utterly terrifying and ingenious piece of art. As art is subjective, so too is this release. Many of the tracks are challenging to listen to. None of these tracks would make a good “single.” The album is meant to be listened to in its entirety in one sitting, there’s no other way to understand it. The nine tracks play off of each other so brilliantly that to skip a single one would defeat the purpose. Though, that means that you might have to listen in uncomfortable agony for about 4 minutes and 31 seconds. The most difficult track is undoubtedly “Blank Oblivion Nonentity Zero Undefined.” The unsettling static and severe effects go on and on, while the bass shifts from left to right to left, eliciting a rather downright distressing experience. However, its unreasonably harsh sound can only be understood in the context of the entire album, which is a challenge all on its own. The end to “Blank Oblivion Nonentity Zero Undefined” is met with the pleasant sound of birds singing in “Thank God For Parallel Distributed Processing.” (Remember what I said about context?)
One thing you might notice about the album is the allusion to so many different higher methods of thought and reasoning, and the general oddity of the track titles. “A Dodecahedron At The Maw Of Omnijectivity” is hardly commonplace. Yet, again, within the context of the work, everything seems to fall into place.
After you finish this album, you might feel strange. These are odd new sounds that you have likely not heard before, nor I. It is a singular experience in sound that, should you feel brave enough to endeavor, will leave you shocked and unsure of what to do. This album is not for casual listening. It is so intricate and intense that to listen to it while performing any other task concurrently would taint or otherwise tarnish both experiences simultaneously.
Thus, I’d like to make a few disclaimers before you attempt to listen:
- If your preferred artists of choice are anything like the main stage at Tomorrowland, Ultra, or EDC, this album is not for you.
- If you do not have time to listen to the album in its entirety the first time through, wait.
- If you are sensitive to unpleasant sounds and jarring effects, this album is not for you.
- If you have never heard of or listened to Amon Tobin or Aphex Twin, this album is likely not for you.
- If you would like to open your mind and experience something so completely outside of your comfort zone, please, enjoy.
I listened to this album the first two times on an airplane with headphones, to and from my destination. I am currently, as of the time of this writing, listening to it on studio monitors. I can say without a doubt that the two experiences differ greatly. I would first recommend listening with headphones, as it provides a closer connection to the music rather than the impersonal nature of speakers. If you wish to experience the sounds in a more pure framework, then you may listen to it with speakers afterward.
The album is listed as “Pay What You Want.” Please listen to the album, and if you enjoy it, consider donating to the artist.