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Review

Gilbert/Lewis

8Time

During their frighteningly productive period in the early 1980s, Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis recorded a shop's worth of albums, staged art exhibitions, and produced Desmond Simmons, A.C. Marias and Michael O'Shea. In the midst of this flurry of activity the duo somehow found the time to make the album 3R4 and release two singles for 4AD, all of which are collected on 8Time.

Like this for Ages and Ends with the Sea (a reworking of Anchors) echo Dome's song-based material; so while there are all manner of interesting noises going on in the background, there is still a reasonable tune. However, the bulk of the release is taken up by three long instrumental pieces that explore similar abstract sound worlds to Wire's Crazy about Love.

Kluba Cupol is the most notable departure, concentrating on rhythm without any real concession to melody. It ends up coming across like an early, more focussed forerunner to MZUI:Australia. Growing from a fragmentary rhythm, the piece swells to become faintly sinister and, although captivating, it is too rigid to become truly hypnotic. By comparison 3.4 progresses with a more fluid minimalism without every really going anywhere.

The pick of the bunch is undoubtedly R, which opens with clanking percussive noises before giving way to an extended choral sample. Heavily Eno-influenced, it continues to drift while various fragmentary elements appear and disappear. The effect is languid and beautifully mesmerising.

8Time is often more 'Dome' than Dome itself and, although sometimes ponderous, is often fascinating listening. As well as providing a missing link between various Dome threads, 8Time can also be seen as a partial blueprint for later pieces by Gilbert and Lewis.

Graeme Lamour (February, 2001)

Cover artwork