REVIEW: Mazut – Sarajevo (2021)

Released in 2021 on the Polish label Positive Regression, Warsaw-based duo Mazut’s Sarajevo is a driving industrialized Techno EP free of the Industrial genre’s tackier connotations.

Reminiscent of the early works of Front 242, Sarajevo’s Industrial framework is a maximalist fantasy built from a plethora of minimalist motifs. The 4 song EP has a clicky analog tonality- plenty of warmth, with cold electronic drafts. Go-Go percussion is pressed into the ‘4 on the floor’ mold of Techno creating driving rigidity with dance persuasion.

Mazut articulate the intrinsic beauty of mechanical function. Countless motifs interlock and counteract in dense, lengthy tracks. In this way, Sarajevo comes across as a spiritual companion to Post-Modern artist Chris Burden’s sculpture Metropolis II, in which hundreds of 1:64-scale toy cars fly around an abstract model city in traffic purgatory.

Art, as artifice, will always have shortcomings if it attempts to react and express in a literal manner (this could be said for derivative works too). It’s important to let our environment speak through us, dictated not by our literal perception of our environment but by the environment’s emotional presence within ourselves. What makes a record like Mazut’s Sarajevo or Ouxh’s Machines in Care worthwhile is their ability to channel the expression of this presence through the appropriate thematic textures and musicality. This is only one tool in the kit of craft, but what does it say about the work itself?

The cohabitation of machine and human is perhaps the definitive trait of our current age. Humanity’s identity crisis between animal and mechanical has been pondered endlessly in sci-fi and horror works, and this doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. In the case of Sarajevo, somewhere between technological and organic, Mazut presents the human identity as it sounds.

Should you choose to watch the Metropolis II documentary, consider re-watching it with the original audio muted while playing this album. It’s incredibly fitting!

For fans of: Front 242, KLF, Filmmaker

Like Mazut? Give these a listen: Ouxh, Schwefelgelb, VOM

REVIEW: Ouxh – Machines In Care (2019)

Stealthy office park chic for your listening pleasure.

Machines In Care is the 2019 release by the enigmatic Ouxh. Released on Melbourne based LKR Records, Ouxh delivers 3 finely crafted Electro dance tracks over a 17 minute run time.

Titular track Machines In Care sidesteps Electronic music’s fantasy of the singularity for the tranquil co-habitation of our shared world with the man-made, that is to say, printers and the machines used to create the music on this record.

Middle track Birdman opens with the reverberating echo of a dull alarm until kicks and snare get the rhythm flowing like the first lurches of traffic on a cold city morning. Electronic chirps begin to punctuate the track’s cold atmosphere as Birdman’s sweet sunrise melody works its way into focus. Textural warmth of crackles and pops blanket the track as small melodic motifs gradually reveal themselves. It’s sonically serene yet supplies dance floor rhythm worth getting up for.

Much like Ambient music, Machines In Care rewards both active and passive listening by striking a balance of active drive and hypnotic slow growth across much of the album. Throughout, Ouxh utilizes what stereophonic technology has to offer, pushing the bilateral dynamics of each track without waning to cheap psychedelic auditory tricks.

Closing track Coma Void does exactly this with a chopped and processed vocal loop and a delightfully dizzying Kraftwerk-esque staccato melody which swirls around its captive audience. Having traded in winter mornings for a more hyped-up driving force, Coma Void may not necessarily keep the cool tranquility of former tracks, but remains harmonious in Machines In Care’s city-sonic palette and dance floor operations.

For fans of: Aphex Twin, Adam F, Goldie

Like Ouxh? Give these a listen: Joe Koshin, Radioactive Man, The Disciples of Jovan Blade

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