||Over the better half of a decade, Time is Away, the London-based duo of Jack Rollo and Elaine Tierney, have made tender and heartfelt transmissions through countless mixes, sound works and radio. Exploring deeply human themes of memory, persistence and resistance using an assemblage of source material, the duo’s unique mode of storytelling culminates in Ballads, a new suite of songs and, significantly, their first officially licensed compilation. From the opening notes of Horvitz Morris Previte Trio’s jazz romanticism to Gilles Chabenat and Frédéric Paris’s lively reimagined standard, the haunting vocal seance of Tanto Pressanto and the mesmerising swirls of The Unthanks, Yuko Kono and Rachel Bonch-Bruevich, the spirit of Ballads roams through generations of affectionate songwriting and conjures images both candid and surreal. The voice of poet and longtime collaborator Christina Petrie appears briefly and contemplates the “sighs and replies… the space between verses” of the Ballad, its beauty, its place in our lives. What is the Ballad but a reflection of our soul? “Perhaps I’ll wander in search of it”, she bittersweetly concedes. At the suite’s cusp is an alternate version of David Lang’s ’Just (After Song of Songs)’, a thirteen-minute meditation on devotion which featured in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth (2015). The track’s universal themes of faith and desire radiate throughout and elucidate Time is Away’s peerlessly precise yet gossamer touch.