When I was a child, and through to early adulthood I had a recurring dream. It was more of a scene than a narrative. In it I was lying on a bed in the dark facing a window. The sky outside had a milky moonlit glow, and in the faint light I could make out the iron latticing of the foot of the bed. The view was of dimly lit, steeply gabled town houses of the kind you find in central Europe. All was still, save for the sound of the occasional horse and carriage clopping along the street below, the faint sound of a soprano singing with piano accompaniment somewhere nearby, and the tock tock tock of a grandfather clock in the room. That was it – nothing ever happened, but it was as vivid as if I was there.
When I first heard Global Communication’s “14:31”, the ominpresent ticking of the clock through the track immediately made me associate it with that dream. I no longer have it, but the images remain clear, and every time I play this tune, it brings them back.
76:14 remains one of the very best ambient techno / IDM / electronica (call it what you will) albums of the mid nineties. The album title and all of the tracks were simply named after their duration. “14:31” is the longest and best of these. The insistent ticking of the clock beats through distant samples of jets taking off and landing, and an understated melody. It’s a hypnotic track that always sounds fresh, no matter how many times it’s played.
Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard recorded a couple more singles under the Global Communication monicker, but 76:14 remains the duo’s only album. Perhaps they couldn’t see how they could better it. The duo collaborated on a mix album for Fabric in 2006 (Fabric 26), but whether there will be any more recordings remains to be seen.