2011-08-05T20:06:14+00:00 2011-08-05T20:06:14+00:00

Machinedrum – Room(s) [Album Review]

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To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Machinedrum's newest album, Room(s), which was released on Planet Mu on July 25. I think I like it, and I definitely think it's worth giving it a listen if you like this type of music (and by "this type of music" I mean glitchy bass music that falls more toward the ambient side of the spectrum while still incorporating a beat and some pop or hip hop elements so it's not pure noise). I wouldn't post something if I didn't think it was something you'd benefit from checking out, I'm here to please. But the vocals on this album make me feel more ambivalent towards it than I might if they were less domineering.

      03 Sacred Frequency
Download: Machine Drum – Sacred Frequency

Room(s) might be cited as an especially poppy example of its genre because of the almost-constant presence of a human voice (and an autotuned one, at that), but I for one think that this description is overly simplistic. Yes, there are vocals everywhere, and you might at first try to grasp onto these vocals to better understand the music itself, but you really have to let go of the vocals to like this album. When there are vocals in music, the norm is focus our attention on them, but with Room(s), your best bet is to let them blend into the songs the way you would any other instrument.

      10 Door(s)
Download: Machine Drum – Door(s)

Try to focus on everything else that's going on, and you'll probably enjoy giving this album a listen-through. Then you can make an individual choice about which tracks overdo the vocals for you and which you can enjoy in spite of, or even because of, the vocals. Maybe the glitchy vocals included here are enjoyable for some, but I personally prefer for my music to fall further towards one side of the spectrum or the other: either make a song that relies heavily on a vocal track, or make a song that focuses on the instrumentals, but don't try to do both. And if you do try to do both, take notes from the shoegaze genre–incomprehensible vocals should behave more like an instrument and blend into the existing sounds, but here, they still feel like vocals, which makes for a somewhat confusing listening experience at times.

      11 Come1
Download: Machine Drum – Come1

"She Died There" was difficult for me to get through, which is kind of bad, since it's the opening track and might deter new listeners from exploring any further, but other tracks, like "Sacred Frequency", "U Don't Survive", "Door(s)", "Come1", and "Where Did We Go Wrong?", make it worth putting up with the less agreeable ones. And here's a little bonus for you: Machinedrum's Mary Anne Hobbs mix is available to listen to for free on Mixcloud. Even if his production isn't entirely your cup of tea (or should I say glass of milk?), he makes a great mix.

Purchase: Machinedrum Room(s)

alyce@earmilk.com / @omgwtfalyce

Album Review · Glitch-Hop


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  • I agree….indeed some cool shit- but the 'sameness' of the vocal sampling makes the album slightly boring to sit all the way through

    Phil August 5, 2011 9:01 PM Reply
  • Nice read Alyce. Definitely cant call this album boring at all though. There is enough energy in the instrumentation alone to keep you at attention, regardless of how the vocals hit you (Which in this case, I'd agree he was mostly using as another element of the beat itself)…atleast that what it sounded like to me.

    Jahn P August 6, 2011 2:02 AM Reply
  • I disagree. The harmonies between the vocals and the other instruments on these songs are truly incredible. I actually didn't really like it at first but now i can see that this album is amazing.

    Jawsh August 19, 2011 12:45 AM Reply

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