Delicate AWOL – Time And Motion Studies Deep Underground
From Delicate AWOL – Time And Motion Studies Deep Underground EP
Released on Fire Records, 2003, UK

It’s funny how many biographical details one can find about alternative and post-rock bands from the late 1990’s – early 2000’s on the internet. No matter how obscure the band is, it seems that some people (probably the band members themselves) carefully documented the various periods of the band’s life. For instance, Delicate AWOL is definitely not a major act from the British post-rock scene, yet, it has an astonishingly detailed Wikipedia page. Therefore, I will not copy and paste their lengthy biography here. I won’t even focus on their music in general, and will only write about this one song, that stands out both physically (it was released as a single) and musically (it sums up the band’s musical experimentations and influences while sounding like nothing else they released) in Delicate AWOL’s discography. It’s also their best song, maybe because it drifts from the seriousness of the album it’s lifted from – and perhaps from the seriousness of the genre itself.

Contrary to what its title suggests, I don’t think that Time And Motion Study Deep Underground is a very eloquent song – but then I thought the same about Elephant Chateau’s Dreamings – and that’s why I’ve loved it for so long. Like Dreamings, it evokes many things and says little. And like Dreamings, Delicate AWOL’s song recalls some summer afternoons, laying in a hayfield, probably coming down from an acid trip. Happy memories.

It has an arty-crafty touch that I particularly enjoy here as it meets precise production and arrangements: from the soft guitar hissing sounds to the subtly layered vocal harmonies, there’s a sense of attention that emanates from the whole that recalls detailed miniatures or a ship in a bottle.

I had this record for many years but I think I enjoy it even more now that I had the curiosity to listen to more music from the band. To me, they are clearly in a state of grace on this one particular song: indeed, it is a study about motion and time, in a perpetual movement itself, calmly oscillating never too far from its core. This is what makes for a blissful listening experience: perfect balance found by chance.


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