The Emperor Machine – Like A Machine – Southern Fried Records

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Title: Like A Machine
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If you release a production album spread over two discs, boasting a generous 20 or so tracks, then realistically you need to mean it. This can’t be some half-arsed collection of average tunes that could just as well have been brought out over a series of EPs. It needs to matter, and in a way that demands attention as a whole body of work.

Hats off to The Emperor Machine then, as his latest long form offering, Like A Machine, pulls off exactly what we’re looking for and then some. A double CD outing, split between the eponymous centrepiece and the slightly darker, or at least a little nastier, Return of the Egg, it’s a joyful celebration of the sonic hinterland that has emerged between rock ‘n’ roll, disco, electro, house and techno. Veering from proto-Tarantino soundtrack fare such as Theme From Magical Ring and The Point‘s progressive guitar tones, which bring into mind the likes of Can, to sublime downtempo pop, realistically to try and put more of a label on the kind of wonderful lunacy contained here would do the artist a disservice.

Instead then we’ll concentrate on the overall atmosphere and mood. Dripping in the kind of eccentricity that nods to Crazy P in their early years, Big Hair and, to a lesser extent, Andrew Weatherall’s A Pox On The Pioneers, it’s no wonder Andy Meecham, the chap behind this studio guise, has been described as King of the Weirdigans. And yet there’s probably more musical accessibility here than in most ‘traditional’ dance releases, it’s just the arrangements disregard formulaic patterns in favour of an edgier, live-feeling roughness, and there’s that sense of seeming unpredictability the likes of which could rival Greenskeepers. Take a number and get in line then, the latest prescription of quality aural hallucinogenics is now in stock.


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