Published Oct 04, 2016In addition to releasing a sophomore record with Sepalcure earlier this year, Machinedrum (aka Travis Stewart) moved from New York to California and got engaged. He'd be the first to tell you that life moves have also resulted in musical moves, as Human Energy shifts away from the introspective haziness of his lengthy Vapor City series towards textures that are brighter, more accessible and uplifting.
The endless arpeggio of "Lapis" kickstarts a record of the most pop-oriented material Stewart has produced in years, pushing both electronics and vocals to their glitchy breaking points. On Sepalcure's sophomore LP, Stewart traded found vocal samples for a greater focus on recorded guests, and the trend continues here.
Familiar faces from the Machinedrum universe, such as Rochelle Jordan, D∆WN and Jesse Boykins III, have their recordings manipulated by Stewart's hand, becoming a part of his production as opposed to simply being layered over it. MeLo-X vocal snippets lead the many sonic movements of "Angel Speak," while a heavily effected voice cycles through spoken names of colours and hues on "Spectrum Sequence."
Stewart's reliance on familiar 'intro/build-up/drop' production structures can at times run repetitive, but his own subtle guitar playing, hyperactive synth pads, mallets and bells make the songs anything but predictable. (Ninja Tune)