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

TRIP HAZARD

Brotherhood Of The Machine

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.39 | 9 ratings

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Replayer
5 stars Trip Hazard is the Brotherhood of the Machine's second and, sadly, last album to date. In my humble opinion, the album improves on its predecessor by taking the best elements and further refining them. The album title is once again a pun, since "trip" can be taken to mean "fall" or "drop" as well as "journey" (which I venture can refer to both a physical and psychological kind).

Clocking at 48 minutes, the album exceeds the time limitation of the classic LP length, but is comprised of only three tracks. Trip Hazard is recorded in entirety by brothers Dave (aka Davesax1965 here on PA) and John Francis. Dave plays keyboards, saxophones and is responsible for drum programming, while John is credited with guitar.

Featuring a stately Middle Eastern melody and percussion, Meditation of the Blue Serpent continues in the vein of the debut album's Samarkand Suite. Dave Francis' echoed saxophone makes a return, playing the main melody at times.

In a nod to its Berlin School influences, the second track bears the German title Hin and Züruck, which translates to "Roundtrip" or "Down and Back". Clocking in at over 36 minutes, this mammoth rhythm-oriented track is the album's pièce de résistance and serves as program music for a psychedelic train trip, complete with train whistles, rain effects, German vocal samples and sequencer parts that vividly evoke the chugging of a steam-powered engine. In spite of its length, the track maintains the listener's attention by having instruments and sound effects continually drop in and out and having the sequencer part change every few minutes. Interestingly, the sequencer patterns reflect the roundtrip concept by cycling in reverse order back to where they stated (something like ABCBA). To summarize: this is a great effort in the style of Berlin school electronica that should appeal to fans of mid-70s Tangerine Dream. A bold effort, chaps.

The album closes with Flying Saucer Patrol, a high energy electronic rocker with Dave's thundering drums and John's distorted guitar overlaid on top of a pulsing sequencer part. This is a fantastic album closer that pumps up the listeners and leaves them wanting more; I'm just not sure on how to parse the title: does it refers to a patrol that is on the lookout for flying saucers or are the flying saucers out on patrol themselves?

I'm not sure whether the trip concept is restricted to Hin and Züruck or whether Meditation and Patrol are also meant to be trips, though I can see how they relate. Regardless, Trip Hazard is an excellent effort that should appeal to those who like their electronic music with plenty of drums and a psychedelic flavor.

Replayer | 5/5 |

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