Motion Sickness of Time Travel’s Luminaries sounds like flowing water in parts and in others a kind of slowed-down Pheonix. The opening to “The Walls were Dripping with Stars” uses a metronome that seems to disperse into the rest of the song, as if Rachel put a drop of meter into a particularly viscous drone note and let it slowly spiral out. Sped up, the album could have approached something like a chillwave beat. This is less chillwave and more ethereal. Motion Sickness of Time Travel captures the water on certain tracks, with notes of water bubbling in the background and fading into high, round notes that sound like synthetic bubbles all in themselves. It recalls Bjork’s Oceania without the vocals. The album is slow, the songs repetitious, loosely structured. Luminaries is completely yin. The album almost demands that the listener be in a meditative state to begin with, or it could get boring. Luminaries does risk sounding like a Nova special on whales. Less airy synth and more sped-up wah reverbs could have fixed that problem, or simply added structure and beat. However, Luminaries is still a very pretty and relaxing album. If one were trying to go to sleep with white noise and there were no streams or live whales nearby, Luminaries would be a fitting substitute.
Enough electronic/indie music is being made these days with a fixation on nature and rhythm- an interesting direction for a genre so synthetic- but in many places nature needs to be manufactured. As it grows more and more scarce it holds more fascination than ever. Motion Sickness of Time Travel’s Luminaries captures not so much actual nature as what that might sound like to a human. So it culminates in an album that is of this world, the water, but also ethereal like the inside of a person’s mind. With no lyrics and no speed the album is a little blank. Listen to it repeatedly and it would have the same effect as continuing to meditate on a blank wall, or a strip of water. Luminaries is whale sounds with imagination, nature personified. Motion Sickness creates a comfortable list of tracks to zone out to. This goes beyond chillwave. Luminaries is vegetative.