Time Machines

January 1998

Cover Image

UK CD Threshold House ESKATON 010

  1. 7-Methoxy--Carboline: (Telepathine)
  2. 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Ethyl-Amphetamine: (DOET/Hecate)
  3. 5-Methoxy-N, N-Dimethyl: (5-Me0-DMT)
  4. 4-Indolol, 3-[2-(Dimethylamino)Ethyl]' Phosphate Ester: (psilocybin)

First 3000 came with stickers:
Persistence Is All (with monad)
Persistence Is All (without monad)

January 2002

UK LPx2 Threshold House ESKATON 28

  1. 7-Methoxy--Carboline: (Telepathine)
  2. 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Ethyl-Amphetamine: (DOET/Hecate)
  3. 5-Methoxy-N, N-Dimethyl: (5-Me0-DMT)
  4. 4-Indolol, 3-[2-(Dimethylamino)Ethyl]' Phosphate Ester: (psilocybin)

According to World Serpent, there were 1000 black and 55 clear records, however, World Serpent was found to have been over-pressing "limited edition" vinyl and haven't truthfully disclosed the actual numbers, invalidating the official word.


John Balance
Peter Christopherson
William Breeze
Drew McDowall

According to John Balance, the premise behind this release is that hallucinogens act as time machines - they can conjure up histories of yourself and/or act as predictors of the future. In any case, they can remove you from "temporal reality". These tracks on this disc are not only formulas for hallucinogens, but the tracks have been tested, retested, rejected, et cetera.
There are two links listed inside the disc: and

"We attempted to dissolve time." That's how the late John Balance, half of the now disbanded British experimental musical duo Coil, described the aim of their 1998 release Time Machines (Eskaton). Balance said this with such matter-of-factness that you hardly notice the ludicrousness of his claim. No mere sensation-hungry dabblers when it came to tearing down the doors of perception, Coil certainly had reason to stand behind their assertion. Having logged countless hours drifting in the lapping tides of Time Machine's slowly unraveling synthesizer drones, I can tell you that Balance and musical partner Peter Christopherson definitely succeeded in their attempt. Coil's m.o. with Time Machines can be best summed up by the title of Spacemen 3's 1990 demos compilation Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To (Bomp). Starting from the premise that hallucinogens can remove oneself from one's temporal reality, Balance and former Throbbing Gristle member Christopherson (with assistance from William Breeze and Drew MacDowell), set out to synthesize music that would catalyze and tease out the temporally-disruptive effects of specific chemical compounds. If that sounds a bit dry, there is indeed an aura of scientific self-seriousness to the release. Each composition is titled with the chemical name of the substance it has been designed for - track one, "Telepathine" (an earlier term for the compound found in Ayahuasca or yage, popularized by Burroughs and Ginsberg); track two, "DOET/hecate"; track three, "5-Me0-DMT"; and track four, "Psilocybin." But for Coil, science was another form of magic, something driven home by the album's cover design: a black, glossy oval that alludes to the obsidian "scrying mirror" of Renaissance magician and astronomer John Dee, who supposedly used the stone to conjure spirits. (A limited number of albums also came with a set of stickers that when placed on top of each other depicted Dee's sigil, the Hieroglyphic Monad). I should confess, with much embarrassment, that for the many times and many different contexts in which I have listened to Time Machines, I have yet to experience any of the tracks while on the substances for which they were specifically engineered. That said, the album's transportive effects are noticeable even while listening sober (and are certainly heightened by strong doses of THC). My experience has largely been subtractive: it is hard to do anything or to think about anything with much success, or even "actively listen," while Time Machines is playing. It is the aural equivalent of an isolation tank, in that you don't even notice the vessel falling away, you're so immersed. Turn it on, tune in, and dissolve. - Matt Sussman, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Overall impression: excellent. The line on the back of the cardboard two-fold sleeve probably says it best: "4 tones to facilitate travel through time." The four track names are all chemical names for hallucinogens. The music is drone-based, deep ... very deep ... sub-bass drones that somehow seem to entangle with your very thoughts and emotions as they carry you. I listened to this disc twice with headphones while at work earlier this evening, and although I didn't travel through time, feel like I was traveling through time or achieve an instantaneous erection ... it did give me a strange emotional sensation. I really can't explain it .. the drones maintain a similarity throughout each track, but they shift and become altered without you really realizing what's taking place. They remain what I would call "beautiful" drones, they never become too distorted or resonant ... very haunting yet affirming and all consuming. This disc is another welcome tool, alongside the likes of Aphex Twin's "Selected Ambient Works II", Dead Voices on Air, Propeller, and of course, many Brian Eno and Coil discs, in my collection of ambient and/or ambient/drone works. I sometimes think that JB and PC have come across some greater plane of knowledge that allows them to subliminally communicate with your psyche through sound. Their work is remarkable. Also, be sure to check out the latest single, "Spring Equinox: Moon's Milk or Under an Unquiet Skull". Note: I have not, nor do I intend to use the above disc in conjuction with hallucinogens. I'll leave that to you. - Mark Weddle, Brainwashed

John Balance says "Telepathine is one of the constituent compounds of Yage, the complex hallucinogenic Shamans drink that can be brewed in as many ways as there are Shamans.I think Telepathine was on of the first to be identified as being present in the brew and as one of Yage's powers is to bestow telepathy on participants thats how it got its name."

Clay Pinn says, "I once blanked out for about 20 mins. while listening to time machines. when i came through, i was extremely disturbed, because, as far as i remember, before i blanked out, i was sitting on the floor in my room, but afterwards, i was standing in my closet, with the door open, and the television was on. one other time, i decided to remain awake throughout the night, and i was listening to moon's milk... it was on repeat. i started having very slight and suggestive hallucinations (this was about 2 in the morning, and, in case you ask, i was not sleepy at all.) soon, i had this very stimulating feeling. i was extremely happy, but totally fucking wierded out (i had to say that). i had these ideas streaming through my head, and i could have sworn that i heard rain falling in my room. it was beautiful... truley one of the best experiences (sans chemicals, as well) i have ever had."