It Changes by Ailie Ormston and Tim Fraser
A lush and labyrinthine sound collage featuring MIDI strings, field recordings and samples via Snoopy, N-Trance and the death of the rave
This 10-track collection on bison is a superb collaborative thesis that explores ideas of alienation, desire and cultural consumerism. By twisting and reflecting back sonic elements of the past, Ailie Ormston and Tim Fraser create a platform for voices to ponder more current concerns.
It Changes showcases a thrillingly challenging, yet purposefully fractured, dialogue between deconstructed 90’s UK club music and a fistful of fears derived from more recent political concerns linked to the welfare state and increased surveillance — all wrapped up within the melancholic world of Charles Shultz’s Peanuts characters (the album’s title comes from a Sherman Brothers song written for the animated film Snoopy Come Home).
Lush and labyrinthine sound collages are created from an array of MIDI strings, field recordings and samples. At the heart of these are the different ways in which the classic N-Trance song ‘Only Love Can Set You Free’ is used in the DNA of several tracks as a motif to highlight the slow death in the pursuit of individual freedom and expression.
A version of It Changes was originally presented as part of a larger audio-visual work for the Counterflows festival in 2019. The album was subsequently completed during the first 2020 lockdown by sharing voice notes and stretching a headphone cable between Tim and Allie’s neighbouring flats.
The album sounds very much alive thanks to its collaborative genesis. It shifts and swings through a mutative palette, flowing like melted plastic through a river of collected WAV files, voice memos, street detritus and cultural signifiers leached from previous eras. It’s a clever balance of trash and treasure, the chilled and molten, using echoes and the dying embers of the post-rave scene alongside intertextual references to MMORPG soundtracks to create a cynical, yet also at times, sentimental vision of a changing landscape.
A world very much of Ailie and Tim’s own creation; there are moments when their voices penetrate through their dismantled pop gloss and refracted Charlie Brown social anxiety that resemble a glorious crosstalk of frequencies broadcasting the hyperreal phantoms of These New Puritans or Daniel Blumberg produced by James Ferraro — which is undoubtedly a huge compliment. It Changes is easily one of my favourite albums of 2022 so far.
Listen + support: bison-records.bandcamp.com/album/it-changes