There’s always this “contemporary” concept indicating all music should have lyrics and if not, then we’re talking about the word boring. In this ephemeral world, where everyone worries about transcending in some way or another, I remember now the words of a famous French writer stating that humans became the loneliest species of the world when they invented words, as they forgot the meaning of silence.
It is under the mentioned perspective that I see this EP by Theory of Machines, a London-based band integrated by three human beings willing to experiment and get the utmost of one traditional sound, to then bring it up to their minds.
EP 1 was released last November 11, 2011 and yes, we survived to this day too; it is under this somewhat enigmatical date that Theory of Machines offers four songs to let our minds and feelings fly completely. There is at times the intervention of samplings, chorus and other hidden elements, but sometimes they come to reinforce the thought or image that you were developing already (scary).
It is post rock, these are progressive notes and some of them would remind me of (not to make comparisons) Tool‘s Justin Chancellor, following that spiral that would eventually lead us to the other side of our initial point of reference, and this is when we start this review from the last song: ‘Karoshi’ (or death by excessive work), evoking images crossed of spirituality through the band’s display of organic sounds, and machinery (through samplings and distortion) that abruptly clash and create a new universe that lasts more than 6 minutes.
It is the general feeling conveyed, like the idea of knowing that two forces can coexist but eventually will collapse and create a third element, all achieved through the motion of opposed elements such as the organic sounds of bass, guitar and drums encompassed by electronic sounds, those that we have heard of before and have already become part of our collective subconscious.
A very good proof of such familiar sounds comes in the penultimate track, ‘Against the Sky’: it includes ghostly electronic sounds that alter the first tridimensional layer of this composition (as said before, the organic one), giving pauses and syncopate notes as alterations to the reality most of us share. As the song develops, those electronic sounds are identified as voices distorted to then become into a famous dialogue (and one of the scariest and honest I’ve ever listened to) taken from the movie Jacob’s Ladder; I remember the first time I heard to that line, and it has not lost its capacity to cause me goose bumps to my skin; it feels like a deep plunge into the sea and every sound is so flexible that allows us building a whole story or movie with every little sound.
‘Ghosts’ is definitely a jaw-drop since its opening bass line, so strong and syncopated that would immediately make you think of triads. It is good coated by evil and then combined to produce grey, this is really a new dimension to us, as we are about to finish this path. Great voice distortions and kudos to the bass player, as it becomes the unquestionable leader to this song with its deep voice.
The last and first song is ‘Obsidian’, and when listened in the right order (not upside down as in this review), it really becomes a warm invitation and explanation to what the listener is about to discover in this band. There is a good and calm introduction of drums with experimental guitars, and then electronic sounds incorporated like gusts of wind and powerful bass line working as the voice of a father. It all depends on perspectives, as this may be also the perfect closing tune of a movie, the conclusion to all facts and dreams fabricated.
It is, again, a question of perspective, which is in turn built by our very own context. This is music indeed that would make you think beyond and cool down your spirit, a good soundtrack to understand the lessons learnt. It is introspection made music, showing that a particular case risks becoming a general matter.