My name is Xaos and I’d like to begin my role at Salacious Sound by reviewing the latest work from a fellow San Francisco production group, The M Machine. Ben Swardlick, Eric Luttrell, and Andy Coenen founded The M Machine in 2011 and have been impressing the likes of Skrillex, Porter Robinson, and Madeon since. Following up on Metropolis Pt. 1, The M Machine experiment with a variety of styles which successfully display the diversity of their production skills.
In keeping with the space-age theme that Metropolis stands for, they open up their EP with The Palace feat. Blake Hazard. After a few bars of deceptive piano melody, they jump right into some distorted synths, evocative of a guitar solo, to really set the stage for the rest of the realease. Next come Blake Hazard’s beautiful, ominous vocals which quickly give way to my favorite drop on the EP. Layering some very tastefully sampled lyric snippets among some very dynamic hits, The M Machine really hit the mark with this track.
Ghosts in the Machine takes a nice little turn towards Indie Dance with Pennybirdrabbit lending her voice to, once again, reaffirm the album’s Spacey feel. Though I’m not usually the biggest fan of Indie Dance, this track has grown on me every time I listen to it, and it leads very nicely into the next song on the EP.
Tiny Anthem is just what its name suggests. It’s another Indie Dance track, with very reserved synth arpeggios, that feigns the feeling of an anthem, while maintaing its Indie feel. The vocals compliment the “distant” sound that this track commands, and though this track doesn’t cry out to be played to pump up a crowd, it does get your feet (or at least mine) tapping. All in all, though Tiny Anthem isn’t a great stand alone song, it fits right into the EP, and makes for easy listening.
Moon Song takes the EP to the land of Electro, where it fits right in. After maintaining the Spacey vibe of Tiny Anthem for the first two minutes, the song takes an unexpected turn into pure Electro House. What I really like about this track is that the drops have completely different feels from each other. The first drop draws you in, a short vocal keeps you waiting for more, and the second is such a great contrast giving a breath of freshness in what becomes a little bit redundant, but what Electro House song doesn’t have a little bit of redundancy?
Schadenfreude is easily my second favorite song on the EP. Though the track starts off rather slowly, a steady crescendo keeps you ready for what is to come. After a false drop, The M Machine tease the listener with a very beautiful synth section and a nice vocal line, only to get serious once again. They go on the offensive and follow their beauty with a dynamic drop which has the potential to really rev up crowds during the summer music festival season.
Luma is a phenomenal way for the group to end their EP. Sampling thunder over a beautiful piano to start sets the tone for a resolution. The first few minutes of the track remind me of the end of Tron, but at the 3:40 mark, they leave beauty by the curb, and unleash a driving drop that I couldn’t stop moving to. Then, unexpectedly, the track ebbs back into a beautiful arpeggiated section topped with some choral vocals that scream (not literally) climax. After a few more twists and turns, the track fades into some white noise of their fictional dystopian “Metropolis.” The EP ends with a minute of beautiful synths that left me craving more.