A record like Machines can be an antidote against composers dressing their music with fraudulent pricelessness even when it’s fundamentally inconsequential. The LP is the outcome of a series of processes – partially stochastic, definitely fuelled by human actions on acoustic sources – whose intricacy gives birth to a pleasing paradox.
How long we have been talking about “static” soundscapes and/or “complex” interactions, heaven only knows. In this work both adjectives might be valuable, especially if you consider an infinity of sea ripples as a “static” image. Poetry aside, what really counts here is the absenteeism of egotistical implications. The two suites are grounded on multitudes of reiterative patterns spontaneously organized in growingly interlocking figurations. This raises a small hell of variously plucked and picked strings over an irregular percussive texture (sort of “amplified bird feet in a metal cage – Paul Panhuysen, can you hear me? – meets Han Bennink”). You catch chordal capsules, scraped densities, overflowing sparkles and – in general – the sense of a vivacious battle between malfunctioning automatic toys, all of them fairly educated in improvisational terms. A few glimpses of “melody”, too – of the kind that could be emitted by a sitar abandoned to rot in an industrial dump. And yet it’s clearly a wholeness, and we perceive it as such.
Try and understand the mechanisms on which this stuff is based by reading the liners at the link above. For a while I was deluded into thinking that I had; then the playback began, and the machines made a mockery of the listener’s presumptuousness. Let’s quote the late Roland Kayn yet again: music is sound, and sound is self-sufficient. The exquisite discordance conveyed by this product adds strength to the postulate.