Machinedrum Human Energy Ninja Tune
With 2011’s Room(s) on Planet Mu or 2013’s Vapor City on Ninja Tune, there was an air of hope in Machinedrum’s music that was so brittle it felt like all the bass-loaded percussive rattling would shatter at any given moment. With Human Energy, the message is clear. Delivering a record that bellows warmth without any internal resistance, Stewart’s lust for life seems to have been fully reformed. And it’s predominantly pretty blissful.
While Vapor City‘s concept concentrated around a chimerical metropolis with each track dedicated to one of its dream-like districts, here Stewart’s approach is to conjure immediate feelings of intense familiarity by utilising the more candied aspects of mainstream pop. What Stewart has done is take his typically perplexing polyrhythms and douse them in a sinkhole of syrupy goodness. It’s like his own deeply sincere interpretation of the pop umbilical cord that currently keeps the PC Music roster well nourished. Tracks like Angel Speak, Isometric and Dos Puertas effervesce like the dispersion of carbon dioxide from a sealed cola bottle. Spectrum Sequence, White Crown and Colour Communicator own a serious spasmodic bounce to them, like sentimental odes to classic footwork conventions. Guest features from the likes of Melo-X, Ruckazoid, Tosin Abasi and RnB futurist D∆WN are periodic throughout the record, yet Machinedrum’s archetypal vocal dissections dismantle almost any recognition of a voice that sounds entirely human. If anything, Human Energy succeeds in being indulgent, excessive and occasionally silly. But happily so.