Clocking it at just under 27 minutes, Columbus, Ohio electronic music producer Jacoti Sommes’ 2020 release Travel Time is all around better than his excellent 2018 effort Ubermensch. I think the album’s title accurately reflects what it’s all about. Featuring a handful of longer tracks periodically broken up by short ambient interludes (“Phases” I through III) that sound similar to whistling wind or some kind of vehicle whooshing forward, Travel Time strives to represent a journey that the listener is being taken on, a notion established right off the bat by opener “Mars.”
Taken out of context, I could probably be convinced that this album was actually an IDM release from the mid ‘90s. Tracks like “Subblue” and “Pulse Start” conjure the electronic music landscape of yesteryear since they have a much lighter feel than many of today’s more punchy and aggressive offerings. The album’s also downright playful at times, perhaps nowhere more then on the feel good “I Got Your Back” and “Push On” which pops up around the album’s midway point. With its bouncy bass and kitschy sort of sound, the latter somewhat reminds me of stereotypical “porn music,” but it’s certainly well crafted and genuinely fun. Afterwards, “Everything is Fine” plays like a modernized Italo disco track with an interesting array of sonic elements including more cowbell and jazzy piano.
Closer “Bear Bear” delivers a more pensive number that competently preps the listener to depart the world Sommes has created and jolt back to reality, putting the finishing touch on an album that flows incredibly well, an example of an album where outstanding individual pieces coalesce into something even greater. Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed this record, and quite possibly the only real complaint I would have about it is that it is so brief. Considering the quality of the material that’s here and the way the album alternates between more substantive tracks and atmospheric or mood-establishing ones, I would have been quite happy to remain in Travel Time for while longer. It's also precisely the sort of thing that effectively combats the dreariness that 2020 has thus far presented.
7.9 / 10
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