Our Alarm Clock – Time Flies (No Label)

326369Time Flies is the latest excursion from Ben Rosenbach’s one-man electronic post-rock project Our Alarm Clock.  Now a Dad in his thirties, he spent most of his formative musical years playing in playing in Christian rock bands.  His latest is a collection on which the worship rock alumni takes us through a secular and mostly wordless song cycle filled with deep pockets of ambient, pop, and post-rock; all of which are all filtered through his spiritually honed inner lens.

It’s an odd juxtaposition to have a set of songs be so polished, yet feel so personal.  While listening, you sometimes feel like he invited you over to audition some of the songs he cooked up in his home studio the night before or while his kid was taking a nap.  The album ebbs and flows in intensity, and moods oftentimes within the same track.  Album highlight “A Sealed Up Secret Wish” starts with minimal backwards-tracked guitars, and slowly builds in intensity until it has morphed into something resembling Godspeed You! Black Emperor, if you could imagine them dressed in their Sunday best, and sporting fresh haircuts.  While on vocal tracks such as “Pictures,” the artist sounds like he’s trying his damndest to work out his existential crises, and unresolved feelings in what sounds like real time.

Time Flies is an album that seems to work best, when Rosenbach allows the listener to glimpse a little more of the man behind the machine, such as on album closer, “Sunrise” which finds him looking up, still seeking the answers, and inviting us to do the same.  While not every track or experiment presented here always works, there’s absolutely no doubt that there’s a real guy at the heart of it trying to get to the bottom of it all through his music.  The world around us would probably be a better place, if more us cast our eyes skyward every once in a while and followed suit.

Buy the album direct from the artist.

Laraaji & Lyght – Celestial Realms (Telephone Explosion / Morning Trip)

RJC 12 Inch JacketIn a pawn shop circa 1974, Edward Larry Gordon made a fateful decision.  Following a clear and present inner guidance from deep within, he traded in his guitar for an autoharp. From there, he embarked on a quest for musical enlightenment, and never looked back. Taking on the name Laraaji, he would begin the building of a massive body of work comprised of his own unique ambient New Age stylings.  One of the most well known stops on his journey was a collaboration with Brian Eno that resulted in the album Ambient 3: Day of Radiance which was released in 1980.  The meeting between the two artists seemed the result of cosmic will, as it was due to Eno catching the artist busking in Washington Square Park.

The self-proclaimed Celestial Musician though has plenty more to offer for those intrepid inner space explorers who choose to dive deeper into his work.  Thanks to the folks at the Telephone Explosion label and in conjunction their new imprint Morning Trip, we’re getting a reissue of his 1986 album Celestial Realms.  Originally released a cassette, it is a collaborative effort between Laraaji and Lyghte (a.k.a. Jonathan Goldman) which consists of two side long explorations into deep inner space.  Lyghte provides a foundation of low sustained guitar and crystalline ambient synth drones, while Laraaji sails above the foundations providing otherworldly sounding bell tones and zither work.  One might make the mistake of turning this album into a passive listening experience. However to do so would be missing out on all that’s being offered here.  As one contemporary critic was keen to point out, this isn’t background music for dishwashing.  If you’re lucky, some active listening of Celestial Realms might just result in the shifting of some brain waves at the very least, and possibly even provide a bit of inner healing.  If you think you’re ready to hop on board, then prepare yourself to beam up now.

Order the album via Telephone Explosion.