In the headphones: Machinedrum, ‘Rooms’
Room(s) is rife with crackling vinyl grooves and tumbling garage beats — a gauzy and melodic electronic record coated with warbled vocal samples and fast-dissolving synth lines. While producer Travis “Machinedrum” Stewart might object to this characterization, Room(s) is the full-length I’ve been waiting to hear from Sepalcure, the project that he shares with Praveen Sharma. In fact, if someone were to discreetly spin this riveting set of jungle-inspired productions — in all of its stylish and stuttering beauty — I’d wager that we were hearing more of the Sepalcure work that I wrote about for PopMatters in early 2010 (“The Statue” sounds as if it should’ve landed on that EP, actually), rather than the solo stuff Stewart has been doing for years. Distorted vocal cutups bounce off a chaotic set of drum breaks in “U Don’t Survive” while organic-sounding rhythms underpin a dense and similarly-rumbling “Youniverse” on Room(s), and not unlike the work on Falty DL’s new one, it’s difficult to highlight even a couple of tracks on Stewart’s album. It’s probably not for heads who aren’t consumed by this stuff, but on a technical and structural level, this is a really fantastic record. Right-click for his “TMPL” from XLR8R and check out the interview at Little White Earbuds. The album is available digitally from Planet Mu on July 25th, vinyl/CD to follow.