CHOICE CUT- Motor ‘Man Made Machine’


Motor / Man Made Machine

CD / Digital 

CLRX / Released April 2012

In an apparent attempt to claim the feted ‘Most Fitting Album of the Year’ title techno duo Motor have created something that fundamentally depicts the relationship between man and machine, through music. OK, so that might be going a bit far, but still their new body of work is a great example of what happens when fingertips hit sequencers, voices meet vocoders, and people get creative with kit.

After a series of successful LPs this is Bryan Black and Oly Grasset’s most varied effort to date, and thankfully plenty of people should be taking a look at the results of their toil what with the impressive guest vocalists, and because it’s coming out via CLRX, a new sub-division of Chris Liebing’s CLR imprint. Nevertheless, the arrangements are pretty standout in their own right, not least the off key, broken downbeat affair Autome.

Sounding like some sombre, if not slightly threatening computerised orchestra set to stepping kicks and snapping snares, we break out into piano solos to enjoy brief moments of naturalism. That it’s coupled with The Knife‘s madcap electro frenzy, all harsh synths and rapid arpeggios- complete with singer Douglas McArthy’s rather aggressive musings- is testament to the fact that, vocal re-focus or not, this fourth long form effort is by no means any less experimental, or more accessible.

Still those that get it will love it, hence the recommendation here. Gary Numan’s appearance certainly confirms this, set to the thunderous, smashing percussion and snarling keyboards of Pleasure In Heaven his lyrical delivery- all soft Casio tones- provides a welcome air of positivity to what could be a thoroughly dark, semi-industrial number. In contrast Depeche Mode man Martin L. Gore’s input on the title track saturates everything in post-punkish atmospherics, though that may also be something to do with the sweeping background chords and gritty bassline. It’s also worth pointing out that anything sounding this much like Personal Jesus, but still retaining its individuality, is alright by us.

Though difficult to imagine much else surviving, what with such attention grabbing artists already involved, the noteworthy moments really don’t end there. Billie ‘Loving Arms’ Ray Martin threatens to steal everyone’s thunder with Hyper Lust, it’s droning synth and scary femme fatale posturing. Then again, Reni Martin- an American singer-songwriter currently rising in prominence- helps create the best roller on here, as Hello kicks into heads down rhythms (save for her near ethereal voice) before erupting into Roland heaven. It’s not subtle, but it works, pretty much like everything else on here (not least the closing anthem-to-be Between the Night, its beacon-like hook, warbling chords and wailing melodies… just in case you were wondering).

Motor / Beatport