Monday, September 8, 2008

The Emperor Machine - What's In The Box

I’ve seen this one in the stores for a week or so but its official release date is today. Those of you who are familiar with new electronic dance music will no doubt have stumbled across The Emperor Machine, a side project of Chicken Lips and the brainchild of Andy Meecham. This four track EP is a heady mixture of squelchy, analog synth sounds, funk bass lines and cracking beats. All the tracks are instrumental, with side one featuring the mid-tempo “What’s In The Box?” and “Box Dub,” while on the flip there are the more umptempo, hectic and funk fuelled “Non-Functioning Apeman,” and “Functioning Apewoman.” These tracks will fit in well with tunes by the likes of Lindstrom, Prins Thomas or with classic numbers in the garage, disco, Cosmic and Italo veins.

Meecham started out in the late ‘80s with Chicken Lips co-hort Dean Meredith as Bizarre Inc. They released a mini album and some singles of Chicago house, NY garage and Detroit techno flavored club tracks on the Blue Chip label out of Stafford, England. This was also home to techno outfit Nexus 21, which became the ravetastic Altern 8. Bizarre Inc. scored a huge early ‘90s club hit with “Playing With Knives” (which will undoubtedly be rolled out again when the irony brigade tires of ‘80s re-runs and decides to inflict a ‘90s inflected tsunami on us, minus all the good music of course). Meecham and Meredith recorded much of their material on the now defunct British label, Vinyl Solution, which was based above the London record store of the same name and which released music by Eon and Depth Charge (aka J Saul Kane).

This project evolved into Chicken Lips in the late part of the last decade, as Meecham and Meredith — with the help of Steve Kotey — explored classic disco, electro funk (or boogie, which is currently fetishized from Bologna to Bognor Regis and beyond), post punk and Italo, all with a definite dub inflection, a la Larry Levan on cuts such as “Seventh Heaven” by Gwen Guthrie, and evidenced on their excellent debut album, Echoman, which is replete with stunning dj tools for the discerning deck technician. As this decade wore on the long time partners decided to explore solo efforts too. Meredith branched off into White Light Circus, while Meecham explored the darker side of the dance floor with The Emperor Machine. Both projects are on the DC Recordings label, which is run by J Saul Kane from above the Vinyl Solution store, old connections don’t die easy. And both fuse elements of funk, with moody soundtrack touches and analog synth stylings. Padded Cell also release their brand of pensive dance music on this imprint too.

So if you haven’t checked The Emperor Machine or any of the other artists on the DC Recordings stable please do so now. I’m off to make a nice cup of tea and listen to Goblin, perfect tea drinking music fo shure.


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