If two heads are better than one, what happens when you take three minds with an enough mixing experience to fill a bookshelf and give them an appreciation for dystopia-esque machines?
Liner notes written less for the credit of the artists and more for the sake of an epic story happens. The re-invention of electronically produced music happens. A giant M conceived, built, and programmed by someone who didn’t even go to college for electrical engineering or computer sciences happens.
Now enough praise of their technical accomplishments, let’s review the second half of The M Machine’s debut album, Metropolis Part II. Ahem:
There is no ‘becoming’ or ‘on the way’ for The M Machine anymore. This is it. They’re here. Please return your seat backs to their upright and locked positions, power down your electronic devices, and stow loose items.
”But Teneya, you can’t do an unbiased review if The M Machine is your favorite band!”
Not now, Second Me.
“You named your cat after them and talk to them on social media; you’re obsessed!”
This isn’t about that, Second Me.
“You’re their biggest fan!”
Second Me, will you shut your sass mouth for two minutes and let me do this review?!
Good. Where was I?
Metropolis Part II opens with “The Palace”, a hard-hitter that reminds you of the one insanely melodic track on a dubstep EP; the one you that makes you want to buy a piano so you can learn how to play it. (See also: “Saturn” by Kill the Noise and “Cloudburn” by Feed Me). And realistically, “The Palace” is the weakest song on the EP, because it just gets better from there.
“Ghosts in the Machine” is incomparable to any other electronic song you’ve ever heard; one whose combined elements are years (yes, many years) in the making, and supply no shortage of emotion for the wait. The only thing that could come close to “Ghosts” is “Tiny Anthem;” a love song worth getting stuck in your head and chanting loudly at all hours of the day. “Tiny Anthem” is all the things that make your heart pound with love, but are too afraid to express out loud.
And then there’s “Moon Song;” so frustratingly named, that I almost want to smack The M Machine personally for it. There could not be a greater understatement in a title than “Moon Song.” If you didn’t want to be a sound designer before now, the first 75 seconds of this song will change your mind. It’s a space-aged, star-fleet dogfight and an atomic bomb that had a baby. And that baby got out of its cage and is now reaping havoc upon an alien race of dragons. Roaring and phasers ensue.
Once you’re done making spaceship noises as you run around the laser tag arena, you can move in for a heavy assault on the other team’s base to “Schadenfreude.” It is a track that’s simultaneously happy and hardcore. You may pause here to laugh maniacally as you watch the other team getting slaughtered by your assaults. You’ll have plenty of time to cool down to “Luma.”
Yes, “Luma” is nine minutes long. Yes, all of it as good as the first 30 seconds. Yes, there will be more thunder. Yes it will pick up and drop down and be everything you could ever ask for in nine minutes. Oh, is that ending a little familiar? Well that might be because it’s borrowing a bit of chord progression from “The Palace” to trip you out a little. “Luma” is an entity that sends chills down your spine, and it feels like an entire EP by itself. It’s not quite like a video game, not quite like a movie or a credits song. It’s not a boss fight or a resolved little epilogue at the end of a movie. It’s what seals the deal and leaves you begging for more.
Now, as was mentioned earlier, I know I’m already a huge fan of The M Machine; I can’t not be. This band has helped me change my life. But I’m not a sap that just falls in love with whatever band gives me attention on social media sites. That would be tacky. I’m saying this because it’s true:
If you want to be taken on a journey to the end of the universe in 35 minutes, listen. If you want to hear a band that does not have to develop any further in their abilities before they start putting out hits, listen. If you want to hear where electronic music is inevitably headed, listen. If you want to hear what’s going to be played on stereo systems like a bible for decades to come, listen. If you want to hear where not just electronic, but all good music is headed, listen.
The M Machine is it.