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Brotherhood Of The Machine - Future Imperfect CD (album) cover


Brotherhood Of The Machine


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.09 | 2 ratings

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4 stars The punningly-titled Future Imperfect is the debut album of The Brotherhood of the Machine, an electronic/psychedelic rock project formed by brothers Dave (synths, drums, percussion, saxophone) and John Francis (guitar, synths), joined by Janne Hanhisuanto (synths, soundscapes). Dave Francis is PA's own modular synth afficianado Davesax1965 (Hi, Dave!).

The album starts off with sequencer-driven rocker "Variations on a theme". The main synthesizer riff reminds me of Zep's Immigrant Song, so you know it's badass. On top of the main riff, John's wailing Gilmoresque guitar and a plethora of electronic effects create an otherworldly ambiance, grounded by Dave's solid drumming.

"To the moon" incorporates excerpts from JFK's historic "We choose to go to the moon" speech from 1962, paired with an uptempo backing track featuring echoed saxophone. An interesting concept piece, but probably my least favorite on repeat listenings due to the speech overshadowing the music at times.

Next is "Beyond the wall of sleep". The track starts with the sound of a clock ticking, soon joined by a man breathing heavily in his sleep, a hazy/hypnotic soundscape and pulsing sequencer. After a vocal sample repeats "Welcome to reality" a couple of times, the track switches gears to an uptempo sequencer and drum driven section.

"Soyuz-1" has an electromechanic mid-tempo sequencer part that is evocative of French electronic musician Zanov. There are periodic excerpts of a radio conversation in Russian, which I took to be from Yuri Gagarin's historic orbital spaceflight. Effects such as sonar pings, wind and beeps help create an unsettling atmosphere. When writing this review, I researched Soyuz-1, because I only knew that it was part of the Soviet space program. Soyuz-1 was the first manned flight of the Soyuz rocket program and ended with cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov's death on April 24, 1967 when the main and backup parachutes failed to deploy upon atmosphere reentry. Then, I listened to what is alleged to be a recording of Komarov's final conversation as he was plunging to the ground and cursing at Soviet officials who let the mission proceed in spite of numerous technical defects found during testing. I had an epiphany and recognized that the same recording is the source of most of the vocal excerpts on this track, which completely changed my perception of the track.

"Hivemind" is a short track driven by a mid tempo alien-sounding sequencer part, with synth drones flying above (get it?).

The pičce de résistance is the epic "The Samarkand Suite". Samarkand is a city in Central Asia (current day Uzbekistan) that benefited from its location on the Silk Road. "The Samarkand Suite" starts with Eastern percussion and a vocal introduction. The next section reminds me of David Stone's intro to Rainbow's Gates of Babylon, with its high-pitched lead synth playing a Middle Eastern tune. The track then goes through several more sections and moods, with flute/ney and violin melodies, droning synths, percussion shaker, sequencers playing Arabic scales. I counted eight distinct sections and none of them overstays its welcome.

The last piece, "Walking on the edge of the night", consists of Dave playing a melancholy tune on echoed saxophone over nocturnal soundscapes. It reminds me of two other plaintive album closers featuring saxophone and synth pads: "Tara" on Pulsar's Görlitz and "Dernier Rendez-vous (Ron's Piece)" on Jean Michel Jarre's Rendez-vous.

The recording quality and mixing are very good. I am particularly impressed with the sound of the drums. I love electronic music that uses real drums, such as Tangerine Dream's Ricochet, Cyclone, and Force Majeure, as I feel they add a very human touch to a genre that can often sound sterile. This was a talented band with a clear artistic vision and I regret that it is no longer active.

Replayer | 4/5 |


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