Interview: Motion Sickness of Time Travel

Motion Sickness of Time Travel is about not having any plan in mind. Just going in and doing what I feel like at the time, and I’ve got pretty good results from it so far.’ And she really has. Picked as one of Cherwell’s best releases of 2011, MSOTT’s Seeping Through the Veil of the Unconscious was written ‘a few days after I graduated from college, in one sitting. My husband, Grant, said I should send it to somebody.’ That somebody was Brad Rose, founder of Digitalis Recordings, who instantly fell in love with the music and commissioned a second album, Luminaries & Synastry.

Evans is set to release her latest album at the end of March on the Spectrum Spools label run by John Elliott of Emeralds. ‘John contacted me out of the blue through Twitter a year ago and asked me to do a record. It’s gone back and forth a few times since then, but now it’s been officially passed off to him.’

The new album is truly epic, spanning two LPs with four half-hour long compositions. Evans has been ‘really wanting to go back to making a continuous jam. It’s me reverting back from the shorter-form tracks on Luminaries & Synastry. It feels like one continuous circuit rather than chopped up pieces of small thoughts. I hope it has more of a flow to it than my other albums did.’ This clear change in musical direction is driven partly by her finding it ‘more enjoyable to go in and record something that is continuous’ and also developing a ‘bigger appreciation for music that is continuous after writing longer pieces’ herself. ‘The new album started out in the same way as Seeping, the tracks were more like songs in the traditional sense of the word, but in the process of filling up the 2LP format, the tracks became much more continuous.’

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Evans chose it to be an eponymous release, wanting it ‘to embody what MSOTT is – the MSOTT philosophy.’ The original aim of the MSOTT project was to make her voice sound as beautiful as possible. Although Evans maintains that this intention has not changed, she has clearly become more confident in her compositions. ‘When I first started trying to make more experimental music, my voice was the only instrument I felt comfortable manipulating, but as I’ve got more and more into synthesisers, it’s become a balancing act between which one sounds more beautiful. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to make my voice become the synthesiser.’ The experimentation continues even further, seeing her incorporate ‘a larger variety of instrumentation on the new album, including zither, lap harp, and Max/MSP.’

Rachel and Grant’s Hooker Vision label celebrated its 100th release in October – a serious amount of records in two years. Even so, they ‘try to keep a little bit of quality control. It’s all about amazing music, period. I definitely don’t think the quantity affects the quality, if it’s good quality music to begin with.’ But she does observe that ‘in some labels’ cases there starts to be a flaw in the quality of the output as more is released. We don’t feel that Hooker Vision has gone that way. We are really in love with everybody we release, not just the music, but the people. They’re people just like us. There’s a real network of friends behind the label and we’re making new ones all the time.’

Ultimately the beauty of Hooker Vision lies in the pair’s passion for ‘people to be connected to the artists’ music, even if it’s sold out.’ A trip to the label’s website is a dangerous one, for the entire back catalogue is available for free download. But, for Rachel, availability isn’t everything: ‘as much as I like to have the music out there for people to access, I rarely listen to downloads. We buy just about everything that we listen to. We appreciate the tangible format so much more.’