Time and Space Machine at Rough Trade East
If you’ve ever watched The Mighty Boosh episode The Priest and the Beast – the one where massive-haired Rudi and Spider go to the desert to find their new sound, start tripping and enter a psychedelic, tie-dye world – you’ll come very close to what you’d get when you see Time and Space Machine.
Founder and frontman Richard Norris self-proclaims that he has been creating music since he was 14. He tells the crowd: “I came to a Rough Trade Records with my dad with 500 copies of my record; they paid for it right out of the till, so thanks Rough Trade!” You get the idea that Norris is someone who plays music for himself; he genuinely loves it.
That, in a lot of ways, is what Time and Space Machine’s music attempts to project – a sense of love, as if trying to transport you back to the 60s. There’s a hint of irreverent adoration as well. Norris quips, “This song is called More Cowbell,” referring to the Saturday Night Live sketch about the making of Blue Oyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – a song that can clearly be said to have influenced this band. More Cowbell delights the audience, Norris utilising that cowbell brilliantly.
Explosions in the Sky is a pleasant number; its echo-y element gives an outer-body effect. Good Morning is another song to put a smile on your face: the crowd nod in sync and enthusiastically to the repetitions of “Good morning, time to face the day”. The music forces euphoria onto you. It’s an unsettling trance of repeating one-lined lyrics – or in fact no lyrics at all – and heavy, bending distortion.
Initially a one-man project, the band has expanded to five, including Richie Crago providing guitars and singing harmonies, Stuart Carteron on bass, drummer Wildcat Will, and Terry Miles on keyboards. From their banter, Norris and Crago seem like an odd but perfect pair – their presence matches the psychedelic atmosphere complementarily. Their banter is friendly and welcoming, making sure that there’s a feeling of gratitude as they also try to fit as much music in as they can.
The only problem with Time and Space Machine (though for them this might be more of a goal) is that all their songs are so similar – it sort of feels like one big trip. Admittedly, Norris says: “our songs usually last like, 8 minutes. You’re really only getting snippets”. At points it’s hard to tell when one song ends and another begins. Having said that, on a bright, sunny, warm day like this Time and Space Machine is exactly what you need – complex but subtle, cheery and uplifting.
Listen to Good Morning here: