Aug 18, 2001

Suspende Animation by Timonium (Review)

Timonium is adept at playing music in which silence and space is as much an instrument as the guitar or drums.

Suspende Animation - Timonium
Reviewed…

Suspende Animation by Timonium

2003, Pehr

While listening to Suspende Animation, you’ll probably have to fight the urge to constantly turn up the volume on your stereo. Like many of their peers — Low, Bedhead, and such — Timonium is adept at playing music in which silence and space is as much an instrument as the guitar or drums. You could throw Timonium in with the rest of the slowcore bands, but I don’t think “slowcore” comes close to describing some of this music. Timonium must be pretty patient people, because Lord knows they sure take their time in developing these songs. And they better be, since each song averages over eight minutes in length.

And they develop at a pace normally reserved for continental drift. The songs do end up in a completely different place than where they started, but you’ll be hard-pressed to actually map the route they took. In fact, I dare you to find anything closely resembling a verse or a chorus anywhere on this album. Timonium’s songs inch along for much of their length, building up for a climax that you can see from miles away. Nevertheless, when the song explodes (or maybe it implodes from all of the weight that’s been building up), it’s still enough of a shock to send you reeling.

And then there’s the vocals, if you can call them that. If My Bloody Valentine treated vocals as just another instrument, Timonium treats them like an afterthought. Much of the time the vocalists just whisper and mumble, or just sigh wordlessly. Or perhaps they just recorded them in their sleep. I don’t really think you can “sing” lyrics like “The people wavered on columns of air” or “Moods darkened with layers of skin” any other way.

If you’re not in the right mood, you’re going to find much of Suspende Animation downright snore-inducing. Heck, I like the album, and most of the time it’s too intangible for my own tastes. But I keep thinking about the first few minutes of “End of an Era,” in which a weeping guitar does the best impression of an orchestra I’ve ever heard (eat your heart out Mogwai). Or the chiming notes that start “Self Evidence” off like a funeral procession. It’s then that you begin to see just what Timonium was trying to do with all of that silence and space, and you realize just how good they are at doing it.

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