Machines In Heaven – bordersbreakdown [Hotgem]

This is an expansive and constantly surprising debut LP from Glasgow-based trio Machines In Heaven.

Following up from last years’ The Glasgow Jihad, Machines In Heaven have been hotly tipped by local industry players and have received Radio One airplay courtesy of Ally McCrae and Vic Galloway.

bordersbreakdown holds up on the promise that their debut EP held, these guys present a diverse long player featuring an excellent range of work of synth-based electronica.

From dancefloor inspired drum loops and brooding synths, to euphoric high moments – bordersbreakdown presents a whole landscape of electronic vibes to explore.

Dark, dubstep inspired ‘The National Monument’ opens the album with a searing synth and bass loop before haunting, muttered vocals and a thick-layered synth section transforms the song.

The trio provide a masterclass in versatility, the driving intro to ‘Be The Media’ ventures into techno, before a beautiful guitar track turns the song into a triumphant moment for the LP.

This is a common theme throughout bordersbreakdown, it’s a constantly transforming album, moving between moods and ambiences almost effortlessly.

At countless points a well-placed guitar or drum track will add a new dimension to the atmosphere half way through a track.

With a huge range of influences evident, the album is best described as a love letter to the development of 80s and 90s electronica, with a real talent for exploring both the uplifting, melodic and dancefloor inspired, rhythmic sides of the genre.

The triumphant, dazzling harmonies on ‘bordersbreakdown’ are truly inspired by the lighter, optimistic moments of 80s rave culture; this is still how every clubber wants to end their night, enveloped in a cheap smoke machine haze and lifted far away by synth magic.

It’s occasionally endearing in drawing on electronic influences, when ‘bordersbreakdown’ finishes there is a throwback to the innocent fascination of B-movie sci-fi, which can only be described as the sound of an intergalactic cruiser taking off.

There are a lot of high points over the course of this LP: the opening chimes used on ‘bordersbreakdown’ suggest a talent for inviting, hook laden instrumental compositions.

Lighter, more chilled out moments of melancholia on tracks like ‘Remembrance’ showcase an instrumental versatility and true talent; as understated guitar licks perfectly punctuate expansive, hovering synth chords and snarey, dance inspired drum loops

‘The Eternal Now’, the ten minute closing track, is ever shifting and, as with the rest of the album, showcases an ability to draw on a huge range of influences capped by an original ear for short and appealing melodic hooks.

A fantastic debut in which Machines In Heaven prove their talent for overlaying a hulking rhythm track with guitar and synth arrangements that change the musical direction into more             experimental, intelligent electronica.

Words: Tom Deering

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