Having had what could be considered a busy 2011 – two albums and four EPs across solo and collabo projects – Machinedrum shows no sign of slowing down yet as he follows the LuckyMe “SXLND EP” that opened his 2012 with “NastyFuckk EP” for NYC-based The Index, an imprint set up (I believe) by the always interesting Raz Mesinai aka Badawi.
Four tracks deep, “NastyFuckk” stays firmly in the 160 bpm world Machinedrum has comfortably inhabited for most of the past year. It flirts with the juke and footwork templates he’s made his own, but it also delves a bit more into weirder, deeper and one could argue more experimental variations of it. The title cut is a good example of this, with the juke template used to build a much more paranoid groove than most would dare. The lead melody slowly creeps in before growing more and more omnipresent, repeating the process in a way that could make techno-juke an appropriate – though fully tongue in cheek – moniker for it. Soundcloud used acid Juke as a tag, and that also works perfectly well. Expect to sweat even if you’re just sitting at your desk listening to it. Next up is a Machinedrum remix of Badawi’s “No Schnitzel” featuring vocals by Sensational. More sweaty, paranoid techno/acid juke ensues with serious sub pressure and Sensational’s vocals hypnotically looped over more creeping melodies. If Pacman was turned into a movie with its lead character endlessly stuck in mazes chasing pills and avoiding ghosts, this would make a pretty good OST.
“What U Wanted 2 Feel” changes the mood entirely as Machinedrum drops the paranoid acid/techno vibes in favour of something that’s – on the surface at least – more laid back and experimental, though not a million miles from some of the cuts on his “Room(s)” LP from last summer. What’s so great to me about this track is that is keeps the same bpm template but swaps the normally hectic, dancefloor vibes of juke/footwork for more ambient, abstract ones in a way that shouldn’t work but does, and quite brilliantly too. Making use of a looped vocal of the track’s title, Machinedrum builds up tension with synth melodies over a half time riddim before releasing it and starting all over again with added, effected vocal samples. Add subtle yet deep bass beneath it all and you’ve got music that’s like the trailing echoes of a modern rave headlined by the likes of Kode 9 and Machinedrum himself. Closing the EP is a remix of “What U Wanted 2 Feel” by Russian producer Pixelord, who turns in what I think is his best work for a while. Keeping the original’s ambient, ethereal vibe he rebuilds it on a dubbier backbone and throws in 2-step influences, his trademark bleepy melodies and a new set of vocal samples that manage to compliment the original without outshining it.
“NastyFuckk” could perhaps be summed up as the musical equivalent of a personality disorder, one side paranoid and twitchy, the other side more laid back and dreamy. As the lines keep blurring between styles and genres around the 160bpm spectrum of dance music, it’s people like Machinedrum that keep things interesting.