Melodic and crunchy are two great sounds that go great together and Marshall Watson is another in a long line of IDM artists who mix and match playful (and sometimes even quite thoughtful) sounds with the brittle snap and static smack of programmed beats. With the advent of numerous pieces of software created to make the electronic musicians life easier, Watson seems to be more of a throwback to the patch-cord and piles of old equipment school of thought (like Boards Of Canada and ISAN).
The first two tracks on the disc actually feel like they're just sort of setting the pace for the course while laying out some different sounds. "The Dangerous Empty" opens the album with aforementioned stuttery and crispy beats over warm melodic pads while "Fifty In June" takes a much darker melodic path, layering minor-key melodies over a layer of static while more subdued percussive elements snap and pop. It's on "A Boy In September" that the album takes its first real joyous leaps, though. Mixing nostalgic melodies with the soft pitter patter of beats, a vocodored voice sifts up through it all with indecipherable vocals and makes the whole thing feel rather joyous.
The album continues the winning ways with the almost dancey "Heart Of Mine, Beating," while "About The Time I Remembered" pulls back the electronic wall and lets some filtered guitar creep in. Although the disc falls back to more familiar (aka overdone) sounds on "Square Wheels," the disc closes out strong with a batch of very solid tracks, including the childlike and playful melodies of "Early On Later Off," which arrives as one of the best tracks on the album. If you enjoy music from the Morr catalogue or any of the artists mentioned above, you'll probably find many things to love on The Time Was Later Than He Expected.