In Beyond Time, a gentle collaboration between fellow Italians Maurizio Abate and Matteo Uggeri, an elegant, softly-lit guitar sits on a marble throne, the glowing sunshine not really filtering into the fine atmosphere from the sky up above but rather flowing from the instrument itself. Light falls all around, calming the atmosphere as it approaches its afternoon riposo. The pale-white stone steps that line the side streets are made brighter with the arrival of this light.
Beyond Time explores the past as well as the present; those sunshine days seemed so real at the time, lived to the full as they were, but as the decades have grown they’ve become intangible, blurry things, just one blot on a fading canvas getting weaker with every passing day. The past claims the moments in the same way that the sea claims its sailors, and while both artists share their personal reflections on the album, the listener can understand these associated images and memories. The music means something for everyone with its long-standing and important themes of family, comfort and love intermingling with the precious recollections of youth. The crystalline experiences stay with you, and they’re usually moments that make you feel truly alive: the cool, shallow intakes of breath while running, mud spraying up over the trainers and onto the legs, or the way that the sky lit up in an amber glow just before sunset. Life has its sweet pleasure and its barren heartbreak, but it goes on. As such, the music is generally positive, tinted by good health.
The music envelops completely; we rustle through it as if passing through slender, Summer-lit shoots of grass, fingers gently bending back the feather reeds and the purple fountains. The white sunshine is in the guitar, glistening with the appearance of every note. And even though the guitar’s notes are, at times, speedy little things, the music itself remains calm and collected; the speed within doesn’t translate to the feeling on the outside. The Indian pitch-lilts of ‘East’ are transcendent beings which act calmly and responsibly; the music is a voyage to a place beyond the reaches of time. In a quiet Italian village, the soft, electronically-treated sounds merge with the day. Colours are slowly made bolder. Field recordings announce passing voices and casual acquaintances. Footsteps echo through the music, but they’re obscured and murky, like a black pool of coffee or an orb of hanging dust, and the sublimely sculpted architecture, of which Italy is famous for, smoothly reflects the music and its beautiful curves.
History has a way of not only bleeding into the present but of repeating itself, as things seem to come back around again time and time again, forever turning in slow circles. The music of Beyond Time can’t be bottled or distilled; it’s a gateway to calm. When we slow things down, we reap the many rewards. Sitting in stillness as the caressing music laps against your body is a meditation in itself. While a piano enters as we go deeper into the ambient music, it’s only a fleeting appearance, and, later on, the muted, cooler intervals of ‘West’ give off a mysterious vibe as the gently treated electronic sounds float by. We’ve come full circle, travelling from east to west, beyond the boundaries of time.