The second album from Bill Weita, the visionary behind Kent's psychedelic/ electronica band Fuzzhead, doesn't spell the end of Fuzzhead. Rather, Weita, who released his first solo album, Substance D, three years ago, merely uses his solo material to test the limits of his keyboards. And without the rest of his bandmates -- who play in various side projects themselves -- Weita focuses more intensely on one particular instrument and sound by using no vocals and only occasional samples.
While Weita plays only a synthesizer here, the sounds he gets out of his instrument are exotic. At times, he makes his synthesizer hum as if it were an industrial machine -- you'd swear he's sampled the sound of ratcheting lawn sprinklers, humming refrigerators, accelerating jet aircraft, and purring kittens. Weita's background in art (he's a painter and studied art and film at Kent State) plays a large role in determining what the music sounds like -- he creates a strikingly visual picture that could be the soundtrack for both sci-fi films and Dr. Seuss cartoons.
Compared to Substance D, Subsidized Time succeeds because it's more loony and comical, but less apocalyptic and dark. Songs such as "Jazzmodic" and "Full Blown Robot" are complex works that build in intensity as Weita stacks layers of sound upon each other. But unlike much electronica (particularly trance), Subsidized Time is stimulating and not sleep-inducing. While electronica and industrial music are often employed as the background music for modern art gallery openings, Weita's music wouldn't fit in that setting. Since it's a work of modern art in itself, his music would dominate an art show and require that listeners pay close attention to it -- and that's a testament to Weita's talent.