February 2021 CD of the Month: Time Traveler

Time Traveler's Sky Falter Echoes February CD of the Month

It was just a couple of years ago that we were introduced to Eleon, the recoding persona of Michael L. Rogers. It took him 8 years to create his debut album, Dreams Beyond Terra, but then he quickly released two more recordings. Now, he’s created a third persona, Time Traveler. His premier in that guise, Sky Falter, is a melodic electronic downtempo album of soaring melodies and rhythmic drive.

Time Traveler is not only the artists name, but the concept of Sky Falter as the album takes us out of our time and into the future and the past and sometimes, as on “Ancient Wanderers”, both simultaneously. Rogers is clearly having a lot of fun on this track. It’s like an ancient culture on another planet. You hear samples of African vocal cries before a snaky downtempo groove emerges, singed by middle eastern-like strings, sitar twangs and tuned percussion resembling an African balaphon.

Sky Falter lives in that rhythmic space between downtempo and EDM, often slipping into darkly articulated ambient spaces like “Languid” or the loungey, romantic moods of “Casper’s Cove” with its lush sampled strings and serenely buoyant melody that call up 80s Tangerine Dream.

Michael L. Rogers has worked with artists like guitarists Jeff Pearce and David Helping, but while those musicians have been going into deeper and deeper ambient expanses, Rogers’s Time Traveler revels in melody and rhythm. These aren’t compositions you drift through, these are compositions you dance to in your head, as the insistent rhythms of tracks like “Lifeforms Detected” propel you through a sound world of breathy, disembodied voices and a fragmentary melody etching out secret codes.  “Explorers Beware” rockets out and proceeds in warp drive like an explorer who is not going to beware as he pummels through time and space on a thudding groove.

Fans of Eleon albums like Dreams Beyond Terra and Cerulean will find comfort in the landscapes of Sky Falter. It has a lot of the same rhythmic drive and Rogers’s unerring sense of melody. But the sound has become a more open. There is a sonic spaciousness that’s apparent from the opening track, “Time Apparatus Clear for Launch.” You can drift off beams of electronic sound that pulse in and out of the free-floating expanse. That spaciousness and point-of-sound feel is apparent on even the most driving tracks.

You can probably discern from the titles that Rogers is a science fiction fan. He also drew the triple gatefold sleeve of the album depicting a man garbed in black, armored clothes that remind me the crew on The Expanse. He’s depicted meeting humanoids and androids on desert landscape with buildings mixing ancient and futuristic architecture. That’s his vision, but you can create your own with Time Traveler’s Sky Falter because, given the last year or so, who wouldn’t want to travel, maybe back to 2015 or forward to anywhere away from this.

Hear our interview with Eleon in the Echoes Podcast.