After a full-length LP, a handful of EPs and numerous exclusive downloads, Machinedrum (born Travis Stewart) is set to bring his lengthy Vapor City recording project to a close with one final instalment. The prolific American producer's Vapor City Archives offers ten previously unheard tracks, though the title should not lead it to be dismissed simply as a collection of B-sides. The record is another quality example of Stewart's carefully crafted blend of jungle, footwork and UK electronic influences.
Never one to confine himself to the boundaries of software and computerized instruments, Stewart's taste for the organic is largely present in both the moments of delicate piano and emotive classical guitar sprinkled throughout the disc. Neither instrument feels out of place alongside Stewart's surging circuitry, with the six-string taking the lead on "Safed" and providing a welcome support to the synth swells of "More Than Friends."
Much like other releases within the series, Stewart's compositions abide by a relatively rigid structure and formula, with moments of racing percussion and spliced vocal samples evolving and expanding into deep, detailed soundscapes. "Boxoff," "Hard 2 Be" and "Only 1 Way 2 Know" will sound inviting and familiar to the Machinedrum faithful, while droning, atmospheric moments such as "Vizion (Centered)" and cinematic closer "Endless <3" serve as welcome rests from the dizzying drums. Though it feels relatively safe stylistically, Archives is a very much a welcome closer to Stewart's Vapor City vision. (Ninja Tune)