North Florida's Time, the duo of creative and life partners Michael and Madhava Collins, are giving devotional music a very radical overhaul. The fervent disciples of Krishna consciousness are taking the frothy, bubbly and extremely, shall we say, secular sonic framework of synth pop and marrying it to ancient prayers and self-penned exhortations to cast away material attachments. A spiritual message with a (ear) candy-coated shell, if you will.
Time started several years back, when Michael Collins, a veteran of psych-weirdos Prince Rama, heard a piece that his wife Madhava had worked out on Ableton and was floored: "I was like, 'Oh my god, this is amazing.' ... And I knew if we teamed up we could make something really amazing." At that moment, Michael Collins abandoned his solo project and the couple's personal and creative lives became inextricably linked. Madhava explained, "You can't separate Time into Michael or Madhava. It has to be both of us together. We write our songs collectively and we each bring something that the other doesn't have."
Another inseparable element from Time's music is the deeply personal spiritual aspect of their music. Michael Collins frames it as the next logical step from being a teenage anarchist punk: "The goal of anarchism is absolute freedom, and when I discovered Krishna [I] found that freedom isn't necessarily found through external rebellion but more of an internal rebellion against incorrect attachments. ... This music is a chronicle of our spiritual struggle and journey – seeking out this absolute freedom through service and through love." Madhava links their music to the broader lineage of Krishna devotional music and chant: "Many of our songs are prayers traditionally performed with harmonium in the temple and we just modernized them with synthesizers and drum machines."
- Photo by Liv Jonse
The ideal way to be introduced to Time's music is experiencing it live; it's enough to make a believer out of the most hard-nosed, Richard-Dawkins-quoting cynic. The twosome are an explosion of light, color, movement, visuals, choreographed dances and delightfully exaggerated gestures. Every verse, every chorus becomes bigger than life, arena-level big, rave-level big. It's no accident to either Collins, both keen observers of popular music spectacle and its hypnotic effects.
"We want our visuals to be over the top – to contrast the sacred with the profane – to give people something to be hypnotized by and also to accentuate the otherworldliness of the music that we're performing," explains Michael Collins. "It's like in rave culture, you see people trying to escape their temporary banal existence in this world by hitting the dance floor and being enveloped in psychedelic lights. ... [We're] just trying to immerse people, take them out of the everyday and place them in this temporary suspension of disbelief – where time almost seems to not exist. That's what we're seeking to emulate and create." Time's music, asserts Madhava Collins, is "a document of [their] spiritual journey." We'd suggest you join them; a suite of ultra-catchy electro-dance music sure beats a dour pamphlet or sermon any day.
Time returns to Orlando this Friday to play the second Always Nothing-curated Femme Hop event at the Henao Contemporary Center alongside ethereal R&B mind-melter Dvwez and loop-chanteuse Tiger Fawn, with DJ sets from Cabyus, Deviant Art Heaux and Fiona. "It's great to see this concept of Femme Hop transform from an idea on the internet to a platform where talented women under the radar receive the recognition they deserve," event co-organizer Cabias Thomas enthuses. Billed as a "tribute to the extremely talented yet often overlooked women in hip-hop fuckin' the game up," this night is a chance to catch some new voices in Florida hip-hop and electro. For some, it might be your last chance to catch them in this intimate of a space.