Time Lapse is my debut CD album, released by UK record label Hibernate Recordings in 2010. Sound sources include electric guitar, classical guitar, chime bars, vintage keyboards, 4 track tape recorder, loopers and pedals. These analogue and acoustic sounds are combined with laptop electronics and processing to create warm and emotive melodies, fragmented and submerged among beds of droning ambient textures and environmental sounds.
Field recordings give each piece a strong sense of place and atmosphere, with environmental sounds recorded in sites including: a café in King’s Lynn; a Berlin train station; a lake in Porthmadog, North Wales; Liverpool Cathedral; an electrical substation; Mureung Valley, South Korea.
Released by Hibernate Recordings on gatefold CD, in an edition of 300, 29 November 2010
Written and produced by Wil Bolton
Photography by Jonathan Lees
Design by Jonathan Lees & Antonymes
Hibernate Recordings HB22
“Having released numerous albums under his Cheju guise and undertaken various sound art comissions for clients such as the National Trust, Wil Bolton’s debut album under his own name is a natural progression of these two differing aspects of the artist. A beautifully considered combination of his more beat driven electronica work and field recordings that often explore the resonance and atmosphere of spaces, Time Lapse is the product of a truly unique voice.
Using sounds sourced from various locations including a Berlin train station, a Welsh lake and an electrical substation in South Korea, Bolton creates a strong sense of place by restricting the use of these recordings. It is all too easy for the overuse of found sounds to disorientate the listener but a careful and musical approach has been employed here, the sounds becoming as much a part of the melody as the guitar, chime bars and other instruments used on the album. Melody is very much a strong part of the work and yet there is a fragility to the melodic lines, often they become fragmented, such as the disjointed nature of Collapsed Chimes, or are gently interrupted by the sound of anything from a distant bird call to the busy clattering of a cafe. Electronic glitches skitter about amongst drifting tones and harmonics, as in Remnants, where rhythmic pulses occur almost naturally.
The beauty of this album lies in its seemingly effortless combination of the acoustic and electronic, the processed and natural. The dense layers of drifting tones in Nylon are interspersed with brief flourishes of processed classical guitar before an almost music-box like loop of plucked harmonics creeps in towards the end. Corrosion is an electric guitar led minimalist study with slowly interlocking drone-like patterns and flickering crackles that build to an unsettling crescendo. Other tracks such as Substation focus more on the field recording in its own right, drawing on Bolton’s fascination with depicting the history and atmosphere of a place through sound.
Closing track Closures and Delays is a beautifully meditative piece. Overwhelmingly sparse, using just enough to immerse the listener without distraction. Waves wash against the shore while gentle strings swell and retreat amongst them, gradually drifting away and fading into the distance.
All in all this is a stunning debut in the new direction of Bolton’s work, showing an intelligent and musical approach to ombining sound art and melodic work. Using acoustic and electronic instruments as well as laptop processing and field recordings, Time Lapse incorporates many influences and approaches and yet remains cohesive and considered throughout. Highly recommended.” – Fluid Radio
“Hibernate records continues to dominate the pastoral ambient wasteland with this latest missive from Boltfish co-owner Wil Bolton. Better known as glitchy IDM feller Cheju, on ‘Time Lapse’ Wil strips down his sound to come up with something far more measured and beautiful than anything in his back catalogue. Beginning with the reverberating electronics of ‘Falling Away’ this sets the tone for the album, with distant field recordings sitting beneath echoing melodies. Somewhere in-between the electrified shoegaze of Manual and the melancholy electronics of Vangelis, Wil navigates his sound into more acoustic territory on ‘Corrosion’ and into deep, haunting drone on ‘Slate’, but the rich melodic sense is the glue that holds the record together. Bolton might not be breaking any new ground on ‘Time Lapse’, but his production skill and ear for melody make this a thoroughly enjoyable cinematic listening experience.” – Boomkat
“In case you didn’t know, and it’s highly plausible you didn’t as we’re not talking front page news here, Wil Bolton is that Cheju chap and he has a new album out with a pretty picture of a bird on a stick on the front. It’s on the Hibernate label as well so you know it’s gonna be class. He’s released music on Static Caravan, U- Cover, Boltfish, Unlabel, October Man, Distant Noise to name a few. Him’s a busy chappie. Here he’s dropped the Cheju moniker presumerably as he’s doing a different kind of thing altogether. This is more in keeping with the Hibernate output, lush warm drones and soundscapes etc. with nice twinkles and it’s lovely. ‘Faling Away’ has a real synthy feel going on so you kosmische fans will like it. Lots of melodies kicking about so inbetween the interesting arrangements you get something you can potentially hum along to. And who in their right mind doesn’t like to hum. For fans of Home Normal, Under The Spire etc… Lovely!” – Norman Records
“This seems like a well-named album, it could well be the soundtrack to a breakdown of time itself. It is a haunted, skeletal album of electronics and field recordings.
It comes from a world that seems to exist partly in nature and partly on Bolton’s hard drive. It could almost be the electronic ghost of Fred Frith’s soundtrack to the film ‘Rivers & Tides’, especially on the track ‘Slate’.
Then after all the rural space, Bolton gives us ‘Substation’ where the swish of traffic in rain and a humming, wet electricity substation make an impressive backdrop to mind-altering electronic drones, as potent as Popul Vuh’s trips into the gardens of the Pharoahs.
The album sucks you in with its profound hypnotic drones, blending the rural and the urban in a shimmering haze of mytho-geography.
As I write this, the UK is covered with snow and the temperatures remain below freezing, even by day. This seems like the logical soundtrack.” – Was Ist Das?
“Hibernate Recordings have been regularly releasing essential works for some time now and with the addition of Liverpool based experimental artist and composer Wil Bolton to its roster, this trend shows no signs of stopping.
Though Bolton has been commissioned for various installations including the Tate Liverpool, most readers will probably know him best for his work under the moniker Cheju. As Cheju, the artist has produced offerings on labels such as U-Cover, Caravan and Bolton’s own Boltfish, to name but a few. Perhaps influenced by the aforementioned sound art work, the tracks within Time Lapse show a change from the Cheju material, sounding more minimal and thoughtful here while working with electronica, synthesisers and field recordings. Indeed, the various locations of the field recordings are of note, with such places as North Wales, South Korea, Tunisia and Liverpool Cathedral being captured and meticulously worked into a fabric of subtle drones and discreet synth ambience.
Time Lapse opens with Falling Away, a beautiful track which combines muted electronic tones and a field recording of a cafe, effortlessly woven together into a lush soundscape. It’s a suitable beginning to an album which then goes on to provide track after track of top drawer audio, proving a perfect companion to the cold December weather. Slate is a standout piece which highlights Bolton’s patience and restraint, slowly revolving around a simple keyboard refrain which anchors the chimes and more pronounced electronica. Time Lapse is a superb album which further solidifies Bolton’s place along with the best of his fellow experimental music artists.
Time Lapse is available now from Hibernate Recordings and comes in a run of 300 CD’s packaged in a beautiful four panel gatefold cover. The digital version is available from iTunes and various other online retailers.” – Futuresequence
“Jonathan at the Hibernate Recordings label can do no wrong at the moment and his choice of releases this year has always been consistently excellent with a great deal of anticipation for each new offering.
Wil Bolton’s Time Lapse album, the first release under his own name, is a fine addition to the expanding Hibernate catalogue of experimental ambient, electronic and electroacoustic drone music. Better known as the glitch/IDM maestro Cheju and Boltfish Recordings label owner, this album is a departure from the norm for Wil and a move into more understated sonic territories populated by shifting electronic textures and environmental soundscapes.
Processed electric and classical guitara, vintage analog synthesizers (eg. Korg MS-10), chimes, 4-track tape, loopers and pedals together with subtly mixed environmental sounds all combine to create a wonderful sense of place throughout this album – the perfect soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon!
Stand out tracks for me included the opening Falling Away with its echoing guitars and cafe atmosphere populated by clinking china, footsteps and faint conversations. Collapsed Chimes has a mix of gorgeous glassy, bell-like chimes perfectly layered over background chatter, whispers and station announcements with minimalist electronic tones weaving throughout. Slate opens with birdsong and a low drone together with the swish of cars passing on a distant road. Sparse notes and brief melodic phrases on keyboards are accompanied by slow footfalls on gravel – a luminous track that conjures up memories of peaceful estuarine or woodland walks.
Another thoroughly recommended release from me for an album which has already proved to be very popular with reviewers and listeners since its release on November 29th.” – Savaran
“‘Time Lapse’ is the debut CD release by Liverpool, UK-based composer Wil Bolton, who has produced melodic electronica and IDM under his Cheju moniker since 2004. He has also worked as a sound artist since 2007, producing several site-specific commissions and exploring notions of memory, nostalgia, loss and disappearance.
Bolton presents here a slow-paced and intimate album that departs from his precedent projects. His sound-palette consists of vintage keyboards (sometimes reminding of Brian Eno’s ‘The Shutov Assembly’ or Boards of Canada’s ‘Geogaddi’), guitars (mainly processed), loopers and pedal effects, chime bars and such-like, augmented by environmental sounds recorded in sites like a Berlin train station, the Mureung Valley in South Korea or an electrical substation.
Throughout the album, Bolton shows a deliberate restrain in using those field recordings – they inhabit the music like a perfume, but never become too overwhelming. In ‘Substation’, they give a strong sense of place but Bolton goes further and carefully utilises their textural qualities to echo and underline the droning bed of sounds. When used as environmental or location cues, those field recordings assume a very filmic quality, like in ‘Collapsed Chimes’. Here Bolton suggest a movie and creates a soundtrack that tells a story of loss and separation – the beautiful chime-like tones achingly whispering a secret as the world keeps going round. And this is not only the textures that conveys feelings and emotions but an understated talent for restrained but beautiful melodies, like in ‘Falling Away’. The mood is never too sad or too melancholic though, often multifaceted and changing from one track to another. In ‘Nylon’, the droning core of the track sits firmly on the darker side of Bolton’s work, but is nicely balanced by some pastoral field recordings, giving it more depth and dimension. Upon repeated listening, ‘Slate’ is certainly the highlight of this album, combining all the aforementioned elements, but sounding even more intimate and subdued – the modulated floating drone is enveloped by warm tones of bell-like instruments that ebb and flow throughout the track and could be looping forever. A track that reminds of the excellent Slaapwel label; a meditation on sleep, silence and beauty. ‘Closures and Delays’ wraps up this beautiful release, leaving the listener in an alternate state of emotion, locked between undulating drones of processed strings and evocative field recordings.
‘Time Lapse’ is a very strong debut album, that will fit nicely on the young yet impeccable Hibernate label. It is an album that invite the listener to experience various places and emotions but knows how to avoid unnecessary drama. Listening to Wil Bolton’s work is like flicking through a worn-out diary, conjuring up disjointed memories that condense into beautiful kaleidoscopic pictures.” – Static Sound
“”Time Lapse ” is the first album released under his own name, but Wil Bolton is no stranger to music. Since 2004, he has been recording as Cheju, but a he also created quite a lot of fascinating site-specific works. Some beautiful examples can he heard on Bolton’s website (I strongly suggest you take your time to listen to all sound samples provided there!)
Although “Time Lapse is labeled as Bolton’s debut release, every single track (of which there are nine) demonstrates his experience in music and sound design. And the power of restraint.
The basic sound sources are mostly analogue and acoustic, but they are processed and combined with laptop electronics. The ‘natural feel’ of this album is further enhanced by environmental sounds of different kinds and places. They fit together well, as if the music was part of the environment when it was originally recorded.
Like the cover suggests, there is no unrest in this album, no dark disharmonies. At times, it seems that there is a lot more ‘dark’ ambient music around, simply because the ‘comfortable’ kind is much more difficult to create. Here, every detail finds its place, resulting in a peaceful overall feeling throughout the album. “Time Lapse” is a perfect album for any season – but it may especially be very helpful to keep warm in this very cold part of winter.” – Ambientblog
“One might have expected Time Lapse to appear on Wil Bolton’s Boltfish Recordings, given that he co-owns the label, but in this case Boltfish’s loss is Hibernate’s gain. Surprisingly, the album is also Bolton’s debut album under his own name, even though the Liverpool, UK-based producer has issued numerous recordings under the Cheju alias. His stock-in-trade in that guise has been melodic electronica rooted in the IDM tradition and presented in an accessible synthetic style armed with broken beats and heavy on atmosphere. Time Lapse, not surprisingly, shows a slightly different side of Bolton’s artistic persona, as it’s more in line with Hibernate’s penchant for ambient-drone soundscaping. Melodic elements are still present but they’re largely woven into an overall fabric built from textured drones (produced using electric and classical guitars, chime bars, vintage keyboards, and assorted gear) and field recordings (among the locales that Bolton draws upon are a café in King’s Lynn, a Berlin train station, a lake in North Wales, and Liverpool Cathedral). “Slate” serves as a good representation of the material’s style in this regard, as bright keyboard patterns hint at melodies as they meander alongside a flow of natural sounds of birds and water. Similarly, the industrial sounds of an electrical substation are just as much emphasized as the ominous electronic tones that shudder throughout “Substation.” Put simply, the material’s gleaming synthetic dimension gives it an appealing, old-school dimension that recalls the early ambient recordings of Eno and Harold Budd, while the inclusion of field recording details gives Bolton’s meditative set-pieces a more contemporary feel.
Among the memorable pieces are: “Remnants,”which fuses analog (electric piano, synthesizers) and purely electronic elements into a concise dronescape; “Collapsed Chimes,” whose tinkling bell tones reverberate peacefully while the murmur of a cafe crowd appears in the background; the fleeting “Mureung” (its field recordings stemming from the Mureung Valley, South Korea), which sounds like a gamelan combo warming up and testing out the timbres of its instruments; and the long-form closer “Closures and Delays,” whose shimmering synthesizer streams extend across field recordings of what sounds like traffic noises during a rainstorm. Throughout the collection, Bolton strikes a deft balance between electronic and acoustic sound sources, just as he does with the melodic and field recordings aspects. It would be inaccurate to describe Time Lapse as representative of Bolton’s more serious composer’s side, as doing so would suggest the Cheju material is in some measure frivolous by comparison, and that’s clearly not the case. His Cheju releases are as well-crafted as Time Lapse but simply focus on a different style that Bolton’s as serious about and committed to. Think of Time Lapse, then, as a vehicle for allowing another artistic dimension of a multi-faceted creator to come into being.” – Textura
“I had never heard of Wil Bolton, or his nom-de-plume Cheju before I got this, and yet this is one of the most beautiful CDs I have heard in ages. Processing field recordings and instruments like guitar (classical, electric), chime bars, keyboards, tape recorder et al., Bolton may not exactly reinvent cinematic drone-cum-electronica, but after a year of analogue synth worship, “Time Lapse” comes as a most welcome change.
“Time Lapse” is his debut under his own name, apparently drawing from both his earlier Cheju electronica work and his more ambient sound installations. Indeed, the ten tracks on this album lean towards one of these sides now, and to the other later. The chirping birds of “Slate” are submerged by ambient synthscapes and forlorn melodies while an indistinct buzz washes away in the distance. Earlier on, album opener “Falling Away” lures the listener into Bolton’s version of the sonic sublime, reminding me of the early releases of the Type label, as if Khonnor and Deaf Center were performing together inside a deep sea aquarium. And album closer “Closures and Delays,” at more than 12 minutes by far the longest track, drowns the listener in the dark essence of all manifestations of ‘water’ imagery usually applied to ambient drones. Which is not entirely unheard of, but gorgeous anyway.
The CD comes in an exquisite, stunningly illustrated digipack. Even if you don’t usually buy CDs, this release warrants an exception.
8/10” – Foxy Digitalis
“Nos plus fidèles lecteurs et les mélomanes de bon goût en général, auront peut-être reconnu derrière ce nom véritable, Wil Bolton, le side project du génial Cheju. Oui Cheju. Celui qui dirige d’une main de maître avec son comparse Mint la maison britannique Boltfish. Celui qui a pondu de splendides albums d’IDM ou d’electronica organique comme Broken Waves ou Waiting For Tomorrow. Sans délaisser la maison Boltfish, il a choisi de sortir ce très ambient et très drone Time Lapse sur le label trop rare mais référent en la matière : Hibernate Recordings. Cet album s’annonçant forcément comme son oeuvre la plus personelle, nous nous devions de vous en livrer notre humble témoignage.
Time Lapse est un album magnifique. Derrière son artwork à la fois austère et bucolique se cache un potentiel émotionnel rare. Le terme introspectif, bien trop souvent fourvoyé et placé un peu partout, trouve ici toute sa signification. Même si jamais rien n’est dérangeant dans cet album, force est de constater que Wil Bolton livre ici sa part la plus sombre et la plus mélancolique. Le sublime Falling Away d’ouverture illustre la percée du soleil aux premières heures de l’aube. Rassurant et chaud, il évoque des dégradés que seules les aurores boréales recèlent. A l’opposé de ça, l’exceptionnel Collapsed Chimes fait figure de miroir givré et déformant, mettant dos à dos les doutes et les certitudes de celui qui pensait contempler sa propre noblesse. Simplement bouleversant. Les textures s’électrisent sur Corrosion, avec ses cordes et ses drones enveloppant. Puis vient Slate, fresque qui représente le mieux l’ambivalence du disque. Entre ombre et lumière, on est plongé dans un coma végétatif vers une forêt mystérieuse et inquiétante où le moindre sursaut fait office de stigmate sur le ressenti. Qu’on fasse taire ce corbeau, son croassement est inquisiteur. Si Substation, Nylon et Mureung sont fait du même bois et de semblables field recordings, ils n’atteignent pas les sommets des précédemment cités. Et encore moins du spectral et brumeux Closures & Delays de fermeture, chef d’oeuvre du genre que peu de mots sont aptes à décrire.
Au creux d’un cristal carillonnant ou observant le flux et le reflux sur une plage déserte, le spleen est partout. De même qu’une permanente ambivalence dans les émotions transmises. Le sieur Bolton a probablement été puiser au plus profond de lui même et de son inconscient pour retranscrire une oeuvre comme celle-ci : fiévreuse et ô combien personnelle. On imagine bien, comme l’acteur peinant à sortir d’un rôle difficile, Wil Boton encore transi et imprégné par cette troublante composition. A écouter seul et dans le noir.” – Chroniques Electroniques
“Liverpool-based Wil Bolton may be best known for his electronic outputs as Cheju, a project that has kept him busy for over six years now, with releases on Rednetic, Percussion Lab or U-Cover, or as one half of the team heading Boltfish Records, but he is also an sound artist who has, in recent years, worked on a number of sound or audio-visual installations with exhibitions not only in the UK, but also across Europe, in the US and, recently, in South Korea.
Published on the rather consistently excellent Hibernate, once again as a limited release, Time Lapse is Bolton’s first release under his own name. While it finds some roots in the melodic electronica that has been intrinsic of his work as Cheju, this album is in essence much more atmospheric and introspective. Working from a wide range of sound sources, from classical and electric guitar to vintage analog synthesizers and field recordings, Bolton weaves them into beautiful dreamy drone pieces which, while rarely developing over more than just a few minutes, manage to be deeply evocative.
Bolton shows great restraint here, building each piece from just a few primary sounds, which are arranged into delicate melodies and chords, and upon which environmental noises and sounds are applied. What he manages to do though is make these rather minimal structures sound impressively lush and voluptuous. This is particularly the case on the Eno-esque album opener Falling Away, with its bright electronic sounds dipped in vast clouds of reverb, or later on the autumnal Nylon, a more sombre piece which is given an entirely brighter touch toward the end. Even more potent is Collapsed Chimes, with its delicate sparkles of sound animated by the gentlest of breezes, but it is on the expansive drone structure of Closure And Delays that Bolton really lets his imagination run free as he layers sounds into a particularly vibrant and warm soundscape, placing delicate touches of ambient field recordings around it to underline its particularly pastoral quality.
Elsewhere, Bolton chooses to keep things more minimal. Despite stretching well over eight minutes, Slate is a much more controlled and delicate piece, which starts as a sober drone, surrounded with delicate electronic ripples. But, as the track progresses, it is these ripples which eventually become the sole focus. Remnants or Corrosion before it also show signs of moderation, the slightly rough surface of the former and hypnotic guitar loop of the latter giving them a much earthier feel.
Time Lapse is Wil Bolton’s effort to bring his work as Cheju and his art installations closer together, but he may actually have stumbled upon a third way to explore, in which he can develop his sound structures in entirely new ways.
4.3/5” – themilkfactory
“Comme plusieurs artistes électroniques, Wil Bolton, après de nombreuses sorties sous pseudonyme (CHEjU) ou de participations à des groupes (Anzio Green, Biotron Shelf), passe à l’épreuve du disque sous son nom personnel. Et, comme souvent dans cette hypothèse, il fait ce choix pour proposer un album assez différent de ce qu’il peut offrir dans ses autres configurations. Ici, c’est donc une ambient arythmique que compose l’Anglais d’ordinaire habitué aux climats electronica et IDM.
Nappes chromatiques et rares touches mélodiques sont donc au programme de ces neuf morceaux qui se veulent, on ne sera pas surpris, évocateurs et souvenirs de voyages et de découvertes. Dans cette optique, field recordings et captation de sons (un café dans une ville anglaise, une station de train berlinoise, une vallée coréenne) sont convoqués pour une combinaison qui fait régulièrement ses preuves (le chamarré Collapsed Chimes) même si, parfois, elle virerait presque à la caricature (le faussement anxiogène Slate avec son atmosphère se voulant lugubre et ses cris de corbeaux).
Par ailleurs, une guitare peut s’immiscer dans l’ensemble et, distillant quelques arpèges, proposer une autre tonalité (Corrosion ou le plus cristallin Nylon). De même, quand des lames de métallophones sont frappées, Bolton réussit à mêler teintes mélancoliques britanniques et réminiscences est-asiatiques (Mureung). Alternant formes brèves (quatre titres sous les trois minutes) et morceaux plus longs (deux dépassant les huit minutes), l’Anglais parvient ainsi, dans les unes comme dans les autres, et même si les seconds se prêtent mieux au style sélectionné, à se faire convaincant et justifier pleinement l’existence de ce premier album sous son nom propre.” – Etherreal
“With Wil Bolton, alias Cheju, the same thing happens, although his work is not as ambiguous: the camouflaged noise is limited to vinyl loops trapped in a groove, glitches, and the occasional field recording, and the harmony of “Time Lapse” —long violin or piano notes treated with electricity, overlaid with the trilling of birds and water flowing—does the rest, which is to communicate that state of peace, abandon, and solitude that is as relaxing as a bubble bath. Or as the end of the stressful holiday season. More to come, God willing.” – PlayGround
“Listening to Wil Bolton‘s ambient drones, synthetic bleeps, and organic chimes, is like sitting in a crowded public space with a pair of open headphones – the internal guitar loops leak out, while the external plate clanking leaks in. These sounds all mix up and create an atmosphere of their own, a sense of a live performance in an outdoor setting, a feeling of a whole city living in your head. Although Time Lapse is the debut album for Wil Bolton recording under his real name, his past releases on labels such as Unlabel, U-Cover and Kahvi Collective may be familiar to people following his alias, CHEjU. Based out of Liverpool, UK, Bolton has been producing melodic electronica since 2004. Besides the numerous EPs on a handful of netlabels, Bolton has put out a few recordings on Boltfish Recordings, an independent experimental label that he runs together with Murray Fisher (aka Mint). Certain passages on Time Lapse remind me of Celer‘s Engaged Touches – that eerie feeling of pulsating waves penetrating lo-fi field recordings with saturated frequencies. They do, however, have a more upbeat feel, scattering the dark clouds with a gentle breeze of wind-chimes. Blending electro-acoustic tonalities with processed organic sounds, Bolton creates an atmosphere of subtle environmental soundscapes and vast synthetic oscilations. Time Lapse is a perfect fit for Hibernate’s already astounding catalog of music to keep you warm throughout the winter.” – Headphone Commute