Reading about two artists forming a new label in 2012 is about as exciting as watching cardboard age. As an example, in the 31 days of March, I received no less than five Kickstarter fundraising appeals for new labels. Don’t get me wrong: Kickstarter is a solid way to subvert the whole process of seeking “investors” and instead use the site to raise money through pre-orders for vinyl (and using the pre-orders to pay for pressing, right?) … But all of these were digital and to quote Ice T, I don’t think an electron microscope could find the one molecule in my body which gives a fuck about a sampled Disco hook and some of Joey Youngman’s sample pack beats dropped underneath them.
But worse than that is the insularity that comes with people releasing their own tracks in a void. Someday (and with collaborative labels like Visionquest and Apollonia, maybe that day is now), people are going to realize that digital vanity labels aren’t really adding anything of value either for the artist or for the greater culture, that five mediocre releases in a month just to say you’ve released something ain’t helpin’ anyone either, and that teaming up with your peers rather than doing remix trades with them can be a good thing, even if it hurts the hilariously paltry financials of even a “hit” release these days.
Ben Sims and Kirk Degiorgio are to my mind two of the best techno has to offer and the duo have formed a collaborative partnership through the “Machine” club night (which emphasizes no music more than one year old) and now a label that imports that ethos into the realm of recorded music. Sims’ “Metalworks” kicked my ass back and forth – like a purist making the kind of music that might play in a crowded club, drenched in hallucinogenic light during the stalker scene in a suspense thriller.
You can’t have a brand without a theme, and “Machine Theme” by Degiorgio brings the goods. Interestingly, this was dumped on SoundCloud more than a year ago, presumably before the idea of a joint label got off the ground. It tickles you where “Metalworks” takes measured aim – the synth work is uplifting in a way techno sometimes is not. This seems to be saying something. “Eight Minutes With A Science Fiction Title” is probably a cruel but accurate description of 90% of the techno that I hear. In contrast, corny as it sounds, by the end of this track, I was soaring right with him.
So welcome to the Machine (yeah, I had to go there). Supposedly these folks have a ton of European dates planned for this summer as Machine goes mobile. Perhaps there’s something to this old idea of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.