Machine Girl megapostFebruary 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
I’ve been pretty late to the Machine Girl phenomenon, I hadn’t bothered to listen to their music until they toured with Five Star Hotel a few months ago. I guess I always confused it with the Enduser/Line 47 project of the same name from a while back. As soon as I looked up the newer Machine Girl on Discogs, I knew it was something I needed in my life (just based on “breakcore” and “juke” being used to describe the same releases). I guess Machine Girl used to be one guy but now it’s two, one playing Lightning Bolt-worthy drums and the other causing calamity with electronics and screaming. Total bursts of concentrated power. Machine Girl and Five Star Hotel released a split tape for this tour, and while it doesn’t contain the live drumming, it’s still filled with breaks, noise, and harsh feelings. All of the tracks originated as sketches from their previous tour, and most of them are named after places. “Ohio3” is the type of dose of hard jungle that I need in my life from time to time, and “Luciferian Live Version” is an intense mix of trance, breakcore, industrial, and the occult which never feels like it’s going in too many directions at once. “Portland2” starts out faster and more adrenaline-spiked and then slows down into a mutated version of Baltimore or Jersey club. Five Star’s side flows together perfectly, seeming like it could be the program for one of his live sets. It’s not quite his noisiest, harshest material, it’s a bit more trappy, but it slowly seems to become unwound and unhinged. There doesn’t seem to be any screaming on this one, so it’s not quite as cathartic or painful as Five Star can be, but it ends with a darkwave ballad called “For a Moment” which adds an icy new perspective to the Five Star Sound.
I bought some of Machine Girl’s older albums at the show as well. WLFGRL originally came out digitally in 2014, and I guess was the first Machine Girl album after a few EPs. This one seems to veer closer to ecstatic breakbeat hardcore rather than juke/footwork, which is entirely alright by me. Kind of reminds me of Evil Robot Ted. There’s super-fun kawaii rave (especially the delightful “Krystle”) that never gets unbearably cutesy, and there’s more darkside-leaning moments. “Ghost” is a really trippy, wavy blend of juke and house. “Hidden Power” on the second side is such an epic, awe-inspiring piece. All of this is just really exciting, energizing combinations of hard breaks, ecstatic synths, a few spikes of pure evil, and sick edits. I guess this album is pretty legendary by now. The tape version that I bought actually contains 3 tracks that aren’t on Bandcamp, adding some extra acid-sugar-rave to the album.
Gemini, from 2015 and released by Orange Milk, takes the sound of WLFRGL even further into the dream world. Some of the rave parts and breaks are harder, but then there’s woozier textures and melodies that seem like they’re being played by holograms. There’s maybe a little less of the evil twinges present in the previous album, but the last track is called “Machine Girl Vs. The Demons Of Her Psyche”, so there’s some sort of internal conflict at play here. I guess if Lone was into the breakcore scene some of his music might turn out like this. Anyway, it’s great, all Machine Girl is great, grab all of these tapes if you can.