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Brotherhood Of The Machine - Trip Hazard CD (album) cover


Brotherhood Of The Machine


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.31 | 10 ratings

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4 stars Breaking the spell

I have to be honest: when I first heard this album my mind instantly conjured up images of Tangerine dream ca 1973. The analogue synthesisers and wonderful sticky organs almost screamed Phaedra in my ears, yet for some inexplicable reason I found it increasingly hard pinpointing exactly why that was. Over the last couple of weeks though I've come to the conclusion that while Brotherhood of the Machine quite openly employs the same kind of gear you'd find in those early days of Tangerine Dream, you'd be hard pressed to find any other similarities between the two.

It's the same problem most bands face when they start incorporating acoustic 12 string guitars and mellotron into their work. People yell GENESIS at the top of their lungs and the band in question very quickly receives a rep of being one of those inferior sounding clone bands that never really sounds as great as the big Kahuna - the real McCoy. Well....there are certainly hundreds of Genesis and Tangerine Dream clones out there, so I guess there is something to be a little wary of when facing new acts with strong ties to either progressive electronic or symph prog, but, and I must stress this, it is a real shame when something extraordinary comes along with but a mere hint of the olden days that instantly gets thrown in the copycat bin, because some dude over the internet believes that certain sounds and instruments shouldn't be allowed outside maybe two or three bands, as they were the first ones to employ them.

While Brotherhood of the Machine does implement the kind of esoterically charged and hazy feel of ze Germans and their equally riveting sense of improvisation, you still get music that stands proudly on it's own two feet....yeah well maybe that's a poor analogy, as most of the material featured within Trip Hazard is the kind of saucy moonlight batter that'll have you floating out among the stars with huge teacup eyes and the milkyway streaming through your toes like a sensuous interstellar liquid. Fact of the matter is that I've finally come across a modern electronic/psych band that sounds old and analogue in all the right places - yet without ever losing it's own persona.

Starting off with Meditation of the Blue Serpent, Trip Hazard lures you into a slow moving ouverture with a simple hand drum pattern, electronic carpeting (like in thick cashmere rugs and prog rock beards from the 70s) and this deep melodic saxophone that very eloquently takes you by the hand while evoking pictures of sand dunes and Middle-Eastern bazaars. The feel is enigmatic, larval and pensive like a man contemplating what the heart of the mountain really looks like.

After this wonderful welcoming the album unrolls it's piece de resistance with Hin und Zuruck. With it's 36 minutes of delightful delirium it, perhaps inadvertedly, challenges today's music fans and their short attention spans - hopefully taking them prisoner in a beautiful dreamscape where music that pulses, writhes, contorts and floats with time transforms into something completely different - something I find electronic music does with great gusto and conviction: elegantly and with much ninja-like behaviour erasing the need for the tangible and straightforward in music. The hypnotic and almost stroboscopic gestures of the synths slowly but comfortably work their way into your mind and after a while you sense a change - you feel ripples multiplying in your inner head lake and suddenly the music echoes from within you and the very line between the sounds and you vanish, disappear. Hin und Zuruck very eloquently showcases this slippery idea of mine, and to anyone interested in the arts of meditation and the ever persuasive wormhole of the mind, please take a chance with this thing. When it works and you really disconnect your brain-seatbelt, you change or metamorphose and go from the hard surface-like structure of the human body to the sparkling and flowing entity of a white rolling river. If that's too far out for you, then imagine the modern US Electronic duo of Zombi and their combination of rock and Electronic, only here conveyed in an old school analogue dressing.

A lot of people have a hard time getting into this kind of thing - especially folks coming from branches of music that revolve around the guitar and a noticeable drum beat. Well even for those poor souls it seems as if Trip Hazard could be the gateway drug into the electronic genre, as you get wonderfully charismatic guitar playing as well as some beefy drum kit action to boot. The latter though most likely generated by a computer......but it does what it's supposed to, which is to infuse a bit of wild and reckless rock attitude into the mix - something that pours gasoline over the electronic embers and suddenly you see hightowering flames licking sensuosly at the clouds. Still, I would've loved to hear this album with real drums - y'know the ones that exude natural warmth, the oak tree note as I'd like to call it.

I'd recommend this album to anyone into psychedelic music and sure to fans of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze - just don't expect it to sound the same. This is music for tunnel-digging in your head - for watching cloud movies in the sky - shooting the breeze without bullets and perhaps most importantly: for proving to the world that similar sounding instruments don't necessarily equate to clones.....but sometimes, rare as it may be, lead you into altogether new sonic avenues.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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