Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Premonition Factory - The Sense of Time (2011)

artist: Pre­mon­i­tion Fact­ory
release: The Sense of Time
format: CD
year of release: 2011
label: Long­street
dur­a­tion: 60:50

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

I was really excited when I found the new Pre­mon­i­tion Fact­ory album in my mail­box a few weeks ago. The first album, 59 Air­planes Wait­ing for New York, was warmly received here, so then there’s always some pleas­ant anti­cip­a­tion for whatever fol­lows after. The anti­cip­a­tion changed into pro­found joy, because this is an extremely fine ambi­ent album that is imme­di­ately pleas­ant to listen to, with loads of deeper lay­ers to dis­cover after mul­tiple rounds.

The basics remain the same: Sjaak Over­gaauw, the Dutch­man in Flanders who is behind the pro­ject, uses live loop­ing tech­niques on synth to build his layered ambi­ent sounds, and these recor­ded impro­visa­tions make up the music on his albums and shows. Com­pared to the last album, how­ever, the sound on The Sense of Time is thor­oughly refined, seam­lessly blend­ing lay­ers of soft synth waves, drones, piano melod­ies, and some rhythm here and there.

The atmo­sphere of Pre­mon­i­tion Fact­ory I would describe as abstract ambi­ent: not neces­sar­ily repro­du­cing or refer­ring to ele­ments in the real world, but act­ing as pure sound­forms, and dir­ect aural emo­tion. That Over­gaauw is able to find a per­fect bal­ance in these emo­tions is evid­ent here. Darker musical vis­ions can be found on tracks like “Chas­ing the Unknown” and “Magic Box”, while bright calm mater­ial fea­tures prom­in­ently in the gentle opener and the piano-based  “Medi­ate”. One of the big sur­prises and obvi­ous high­lights of this album is the title track with its excel­lent glitchy rhythmic work, but for the abso­lute peak of the album is “Darkest Hour Pt. 2”, a decept­ively min­im­al­ist track with a melodic pro­gres­sion that brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. Not because it reminds me of any­thing emo­tional, but simply because of the pure emo­tion com­ing from the music itself. It is a calmly mov­ing piece that has quickly found its way into my all time favour­ite ambi­ent tracks.

So, there. Heaps of deserved praise for an album that proves you don’t need to be innov­at­ive if you’re just damn good. I’m not going to waste time by list­ing ambi­ent giants that have gone before and obvi­ously inspired this music. Where some artists impress by push­ing musical bound­ar­ies and exper­i­ment­ing, Over­gaauw achieves equally stun­ning res­ults by mas­ter­ing a tra­di­tion and refin­ing it. Here’s to the next one!

Reviewed by O.S.


1. Darkest Hour Pt.1 (11:42)
2. Chas­ing The Unknown (7:20)
3. Elec­tric (5:57)
4. Dream Within A Dream (5:50)
5. The Sense Of Time (7:13)
6. Darkest Hour Pt.2 (8:59)
7. Des­ol­ate (5:57)
8. Magic Box (4:37)
9. Medi­ate (3:20)