In a strange way this collaboration came about through illness.|
- Space & Time
- Lost in 1969
- Time Machine
- Alternating Timeflow
- The Morning after
- Rock of Ages
Robin Banks is a classically trained pianist who composed music for TV, Radio and Production Music libraries, and was a keyboard player with a number of bands, one of which included multi-instrumentalist Steve Smith.
Over time he became disillusioned with the music 'business', and when he developed an ear condition known as Ménière's Disease (causing partial hearing loss, vertigo and tinnitus) he decided his music career was over.
Steve Smith is well known in EM circles as one half of successful duo 'Volt' and one third of the trio 'Tylas Cyndrome'
Before starting on this project Steve was suffering from a deep depression, but felt that working on a new project might help, and managed to coax former bandmate, and now friend, Robin Banks into the studio to experiment with co-writing a few tracks. Despite their various ailments they found themselves creating something energetic, melodic, positive and upbeat, which eventually developed into a roller-coaster ride through many styles from Rock to Pop to Classical to EM. One characteristic of their music was the frequent use of strange and rapidly changing time signatures, and so they decided to work all this into an album very loosely based around concepts of Time, Time Travel and related matters - 'Stealing Time'
This collaboration has taught me a lot about making music with multiple time-signatures and how to deal with them in the recording process. It has certainly been the most challenging but also most rewarding musical project I have ever been involved in and has helped me through a state of deep depression.
Working with Steve on this project has helped me to re-discover my love of music and I am now busy writing again after a break of several years. I expect to complete another album project within the next few months. Collaborating with Steve has been fantastically enjoyable from start to finish and I definitely want to repeat the experience!
Here is an album of typically English EM. “Stealing Time” is the artistic fruit of a meeting between two musicians who were in a bad patch. Robin Banks is a pianist of classical formation who wrote music for TV and commercial jingles for radio besides having played for diverse rock bands, among which one with Steve Smith. Disillusioned by the industry of music and affected by Ménière's Disease, he abandons his musical ambitions. Steve Smith is a character relatively known in the milieu. He is half of Volt duet and a member of the famous trio Tylas Cyndrome. Suffering from a deep depression, he considers that working on a new project could help him with his depression. He succeeds to make his old friend change his mind who accepts to visit him in his studio. In spite of their divergent points of view on music and in the way of writing it, Robin Banks and Steve Smith sign a little jewel where the differences turned into perfect symbioses.
A ballet of shooting stars and percussive effects introduce the awakening of “Stealing Time”. A piano lays down a short evasive melody throughout a veil of sound effects and two minutes later, "Space & Time" takes the guides of a good electronic rock. The structure of rhythm is weaved in a formula which changes visage between its lively approach, where the strummed melody becomes as lively as this stream of sequences of which the keys tumble swiftly in mode Poland, and a less livened up vision, where the effects dance with the percussions and the riffs nevertheless starved for the next phase. And then the rhythm starts again! The melody of the piano is taken back by a creative synth and its superb solos which coo within layers of mumbling voices. With its structure of want- don't want, "Space & Time" opens the way to a wonderful album built around some very beautiful melodic phases and where the rhythms are born and dying in some harmonious pearls or still in very good ambiospherica l passages. The musical adventure of “Stealing Time” develops with rippling layers which decorate the atmospheric setting of "Lost in 1969", a title of lost ambient elements that the duet found again in the corridors of time. We hear dialogues felted by an effect of interstellar distance here while that 70 seconds farther, a first pulsating movement opens an ambient rhythm. Each pulsation amplifies the presence of the intergalactic noises. The synths throw waves of charms and harmonious solos which sing among the murmured hummings of an astral choir. These quiet chants live in harmony with a rhythmic progression which increases serenely its intensity to eventually implodes after the point of 7:30 minutes. Heavy, slow and decorated by pretty good layers of old organ, this tempo always bears the acrobatic chants of the synths which sound like two philosophers dreaming about ancient times where we could possibly modify the course of events. Intergalactic dusts welcome a distant voice w h ich explains how to build a time machine. And after the tick-tock of uses, "Time Machine" proposes a rhythm which skips slowly. This mid-tempo ornamented by a flotilla of motionless sequences is revamped by a good circular line of bass. The percussions are sober and follow a pace divided quite often by phases of ambiences but especially of harmonies which catch immediately our attention. Reflections of sequences dance with the bass line whereas the synth espouses the rotatory motion of the bass. The phases of harmonies are devastating to every music lover. They circulate by a beautiful piano and its astral notes as well as a guitar with very David Gilmour solos. Besides the effects of voices, of narration smothered by a long distance and of universal tick-tock, violins lines hatch the movement with effects staccato. This is a great track which has landed in my iPod, section better titles of 2017!
We fall in the phase of big electronic hard rock of “Stealing Time” and its furious rhythms which are interrupted by ethereal passages where the melodies live on their charms to make the strings of our soul vibrate. "Alternating Timeflow" develops with an ambiospherical vision. The sequences, perfumed slightly of Richard Pinhas' attractions in his period East/West, swirl in the background, in a rippling mist where mutter guitar riffs. Riffs and solos cry in an electronic setting which gets enriched by its thicker mists, by lunar chords and by orchestrations. The pot bubbles with these elements while a tear of cello captures the intensity by inviting a piano to play a short melody. A good phase of English electronic rock clubbed by good percussions follows and the layers of voices are powerless in front of the domination of the guitar solos which turn into some delicious synth solos. The piano phase comes back to charm our senses. The rhythm comes back either to shake them! This structure of want-don't want also shapes the polyphased approach of "Transmutation" wh i ch invites an organ to oversize this musical depth already very rich of “Stealing Time” which breathes of its permutations surprisingly and splendidly coherent. Slower, "The Morning After" lays down some good melodious lines with an exchange between a superbly romantic piano and a synth which likes bringing some modifications to the tenderness of the piano. It's like a duel between Richard Clayderman and Paul Nagle. "Rock of Ages" is a big rock, with less crazy moments, where the synths exclaim in the fury of the percussions which are hit with drive. Riffs of guitar roars endlessly and follow the keen kicks of this big heavy and lively electronic rock. The piano always remains dominated by this electronic envelope and in front of these synths which have this possibility of bringing the melodious lines in luxuriant gardens of colorful tones. It's possibly the most homogeneous structure of an album which flirts constantly with the universes of Pink Floyd, Pyramaxx, Andy Pickford and W avestar. “Stealing Time”!? It's English electronic rock at its best!
2018. Sylvain Lupari
Listening to this perfectly composed and produced masterpiece on the theme of time travel, I couldn’t help but compare it to the likes of Rick Wakemans Journey to the Centre of the Earth. I found the many layered pieces revealed something new each time I listened and could feel the hope, endeavour, loneliness and fear space and time travel might arouse. Images from many of the time and space travel classics were brought to mind, particularly, for me, H G Wells The Time Machine. I recommend Stealing Time to all interested in experiencing the theme of time travel.
2017. C Lane / UK