Ian Middleton
Time Building
LP (E66)

“I started making music in earnest in 1994 with a Casio keyboard
and a four-track cassette recorder. Since 1996 I have been using
a Korg MS10 analogue synthesiser and some effects pedals which
I have added over time — delays, phasers, a ring modulator and
a pattern generator. Occasionally I use acoustic sounds as well.
On this LP, I made extensive use of a pattern generator (a Moog
Murf) in combination with other effects.
  Before recording anything, I spend time designing and shaping
the sounds I’m going to use, many of which I tend to reject at
this stage. Each piece is built up layer by layer. The synthesiser
and effects are all cyclic in nature, but when used in combination
the sound never repeats precisely. It is a continuously varying
stream which I bring under control.

My starting point is a clear and inquisitive frame of mind, and a
certain kind of energy. I never hear a finished piece in my head
before it is made, but to some extent I am trying to make real
an idealised music which aspires to be useful, beautiful and new.”

Edition of 250 copies

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Middleton with his Korg synth and effects recorded in 2007 and
2008. On Beam he experiments with foreign bodies and pieces
of metal junk, but remainder of album is his usual austere pulsing
and droning music with tiny subtle details bubbling below the
surface. The major high points include Well Spring and Cycle,
and The Tower which is a gorgeous little miniature. Middleton
can produce some quite odd and almost alienating records, but
this one has a sunny disposition and an optimistic frame of
mind. Middleton reveals in writing that he made use of a pattern
generator for this album, and it’s not insignificant that he tells
us about his electronic equipment before anything else. Inspired
by nature in an indirect way, he is aiming at a form of "idealised
music", and most of the work takes place in the planning stages
and careful building of layers in his recording devices. His methods
always results in an exceptionally clear electronic sound, and there
is considerable economy in each idea; there is no need for him to
drone endlessly for 20 minutes when the point can be made in
a fraction of the time. As a result, his music is satisfying and un-
cluttered. Triple-filtered vodka for the heart and mind.

Ed Pinsent in The Sound Projector

Arriving from a certain class of musicians and artists whose
dedication to their craft pays absolutely no attention whatsoever
to trends or the demands of the listener, Ian Middleton has been
forging his own path in the often enticing world of analogue synth
drones and related areas since the mid-1990s. Although he now
employs a wider range of tools to help realise his work, it has
always aspired to reach heights so many others who are similarly-
inclined completely fail to [reach]. Sometimes Ian Middleton’s
work may flounder slightly due to various limitations but, mostly,
it succeeds in being extremely natural, beautiful and mesmerising
simply due to his possessing a very clear idea about his objectives.
On Time Building, there are six pieces evenly divided over both
sides which are not only dedicated to the repetitive outdoor sounds
Ian likes so much but capture them perfectly. In the past, I’ve
generally likened Ian’s work to those rather more obscure or
hidden places either around the world, or on others, and whilst this
may be true to a certain extent, it’s also very clear he’s catching
nature’s cycles closer to home too. Layered oscillating tones that
forever metamorphose form the main body of these pieces, yet
other sounds glide in, make subtle and brief appearances, and
occasionally take over altogether, overtly resulting in music that
feels alive. Always engaging and never once afraid to explore all
the available contours that present themselves, Middleton’s work
is up there with everything at once extraordinary and inspiring.

Richard Johnson at Adverse Effect

Ian’s masterful follow-up to Swill Radio’s Aural Spaces LP.
A beautiful set of long, slow, and stately synth instrumentals that
drone on gorgeously. Ian’s attention to beauty and detail grows by
leaps and bounds these days. Time Building is impeccably paced
and sequenced throughout. Ian’s music has a timeless quality,
removed from the hype and the dreariness of the modern world,
without regressing into a faux recreation of the past. Excellent
stuff. You really shouldn’t be without it. The shimmering essence
of a very different world.

Scott Foust

Time Building, the latest album from Ian Middleton, [contains] six
long drones that shimmer like heat haze into the room. Certainly a
more focused effort than [its predecessor] Aural Spaces, the pieces
are mature and thoughtful in their construction, time being spent
on finding the correct sounds to layer together, the music being
created from the relationship between the repeating loops, shifting
and phasing with measured beauty. Mainly recorded with a Korg
MS-10 and a handful of effects, this is a lesson in restraint, a work
of purity as one listen to the magnificent Wellspring will tell you.
This is a collection that can stand beside My Cat is an Alien in
its quality and presence, something that means it is absolutely
essential for fans of electronic music and drone.

Simon Lewis at Terrascope Online