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John Foxx And The Maths - The Machine

  by Keith How

published: 20 / 9 / 2017

John Foxx And The Maths - The Machine
Label: Metamatic Records
Format: CD


Futuristic stage show soundtrack from John Foxx and the Maths which evolves into a serious electronic masterpiece

'The Machine' was music commissioned for a stage production of writer E.M. Forster’s prophetic short story, 'The Machine Stops'. Unbelievably written in 1909, Forster’s chilling vision of the future imagines human beings existing underground, communicating remotely and being controlled by 'The Machine' (This all sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?). Foxx and his long-term collaborator Benge (Ben Edwards) were approached to create a soundtrack for the stage show. Who else would you approach to produce music for a dystopian future run by machines than John Foxx? A breathtaking soundscape ('The Ghost in the Machine') sets the scene, evoking a desolate landscape with solar winds and brooding bass tones, and from there on we have a master class in electronic composition. What follows is atmospheric and ghostly. 'The Other Mother' gently throbs with a muted heartbeat, while (presumably) analogue synthesisers tinkle away in the higher registers. 'A Dark Illumination' is short but very sweet and has a slight echo of early Tangerine Dream. This is magnificent stuff. 'Tidal Moonlight' finds us in 'London Overgrown' territory, echoing Foxx’s magnificent electronic impressionism. The minimal lonely melody line hangs in the air while those electronic solar winds moan and float eerily in the mix. 'Hive Frequency' throbs and pulsates with menace before 'Transworld Travelogue' takes off. It is a busy affair bleeping and bubbling along, and seems to symbolise the intensity of 'The Machine' (or the internet) as we hear percussion for the first time on the album. Foxx and Benge create noise that seems to whir and buzz in regimented unison . In 2016, John Foxx and the Maths previewed some of this material in a live show, 'The Bunker Tapes', promising this full release. Listening to these refined compositions now, it is brilliant to hear the completed recordings. 'The Machine' completely captures the sense of an alienated electronic world. The music is not cold or unapproachable. 'Animal Mechanical' pulsates almost angrily and 'Memory Oxide' features Foxx’s distorted angelic vocals, reminding me of his wonderful 'Cathedral Oceans'. Evocative and fragile, this is just superb. The album closes out with 'Vortex Logic', a chaotic machine breakdown. Synths gasp and moan before the beautiful 'Orphan Waltz', a classic Foxx pastoral landscape, offers a peaceful end. It is gentle, restful and totally captivating. 'The Machine' is superb and another contemporary classic from a man always ahead of the game.

Track Listing:-
1 The Ghost In The Machine
2 The Other Mother
3 A Dark Illumination
4 Tidal Moonlight
5 Hive Frequency
6 Transworld Travelogue
7 The Iron Bible
8 Animal Mechanical
9 Genetic Hymnal
10 Memory Oxide
11 Vortex Logic
12 Orphan Waltz

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Howl (2020)
Fantastic fifth album from experimental electronica act John Foxx and the Maths, which finds Foxx reuniting with his former Ultravox bandmate Robin Simon

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