Physics is not common subject matter for a song. You certainly don’t hear pop divas trying to sexualise the Second Law of Thermodynamics! In the geeky world of synthpop, however, it’s not unheard of. OMD’s “Gravity Never Failed” is a great example, and has always left me with a yearning to use an overt physics reference in a song. Whilst it could be argued that the subject of time has been my main preoccupation as a songwriter and artist, “Time Is Elastic” is the first song where I’ve explicitly sung about the nature of time.

MUSIC

“Time Is Elastic” is one of my favourites from Future Memories and was always a contender for the opening track to the album, in part because of its long build. The structure of the song reminds me of an 80s extended mix where the introduction would often be about 1:30 in duration.

There are many layers of interesting sounds going on in this song – it’s quite a complex mix which took a long time to get right. There are obvious Kraftwerk influences in the introduction, but the vocal part of the song was influenced by the first Electronic album (a collaboration between Bernard Sumner, Johnny Marr and Neil Tennant). By this I mean, there is a brash, half-sung-half-spoken verse strongly contrast with a sweet chorus melody.

LISTEN

LYRICS

In the same way that there is a strong contrast in the vocal melody between the verse and chorus, there is also an abrupt change in lyrical content – I go from singing about the elastic nature of time in a broad and abstract sense through to a very personal account of loss in the chorus. For me, the loss was that of losing a parent, but I wrote the lyrics in such a way that the words are universal, as we all experience loss in life.

Time is elastic
And a violent mess
Full of distraction
Invisible stress
Time is elastic
Pushed for time
Bends like plastic
Yet undefined

Time is elastic
And it seems so odd
How you compress
For the temporal god

It’s not what it seems
I’m caught in between

I don’t know what to do
I’m trapped in a world
Without you too
I think of the time
I spent with you
I think all the time

Time is elastic
And you never know
Just how far
Or where it will go

Time is elastic
Shrink or stretch
However you wish
Whatever is best

Time is elastic
And it seems so odd
How you compress
For the temporal god

It’s not what it seems
I’m caught in between

TECHNOLOGY

“Time Is Elastic” features sounds from vintage synths, samplers and drum machines, along with some modern synth/drum sounds from UVI Falcon.

• Fairlight CMI (drums, lead)
• Akai AX80 (bass, lead, pads)
• Korg Polysix (bass)
• Oberheim Matrix 12 (bass)

• Roland Jupiter 8 (lead)
• Rhodes Chroma (lead)
• Microtonic (drums)
• Falcon (bass, leads)

ALBUM: FUTURE MEMORIES

TRACK 4: TIME IS ELASTIC

ALBUM PAGE