Saturday, 4 July 2015

Album: The Midwestern Bass Machine - Don't Want To Live Here

The Midwestern Bass Machine Don't Want To Live Here

The Midwestern Bass Machine, 'Bad Timing'

Info: The Midwestern Bass Machine is a one-man project from Brock Splawski of Green Bay, Wisconsin, following the release of a self-titled E.P. in January this year he has just released his debut album, Don't Want To Live Here, last week. Describing his background Brock says; 'I started this project when I was fifteen as a place to experiment with the various instruments and software I had lying around the house, and throughout high school, I released tracks under this moniker. Being that I cannot play the guitar (I use the assistance of labelmate Nick Williams of Freudia to handle guitar duties), I’ve always had a synth-driven vibe to my tracks. I take a lot of influence from multiple acts, the biggest ones being Animal Collective, Tame Impala, The Strokes, and J Dilla.'

This album almost tragically slipped by me due on my part to some over-zealous filtering, thankfully that didn't happen and I ended up instantly falling for it in it's entirety half-way through my first listen. The album has a perfect balance of drifting tracks that make you mentally disconnect and just let them happen, whilst also throwing up a number of songs that demand your full attention by virtue of their sheer beauty.

The Midwestern Bass Machine Don't Want To Live Here Album

Don't Want To Live Here bounces from sharp electronica to lo-fi shoegaze with complete ease, opening track 'Bad Timing' sets the tone for the former, it's opening beats immediately capturing your attention, okay, this is nice but what follows has to be good, and it is, the synth progression is like a fish-hook that you can't get out of your head and the harmonies have a familiar yet hard to pinpoint sound to them. The albums title-track is a gentle number, almost classical sounding keys, sombre with a feint swirling sinister sound dwelling deep at the back. 'Youth / Last Chance Before College' is a meandering piece of escapism, a trippy interval which is an example of the disconnected feeling I mentioned previously. 

The fourth track on the album had a particular impact on me, this is what I always want from the music I'm listening to, something special and beyond enjoyment. 'Real' is desperately sad, but not in an unhappy sense, if that makes sense! I had listened to the opening couple of tracks and was really enjoying them but this one just kind of progressively messed with my emotions, as it went on I felt more and more washed out, it was one of those moments where what I was listening to on my headphones seemed like the perfect soundtrack to the hustle and bustle of people rushing around the city before me. Bearing in mind music is entirely a personal and individual taste I have come to the conclusion over the last few days that 'Real' is one of the most beautiful 6 minutes of music I've ever heard, almost enough on it's own to be taken with The Midwestern Bass Machine.

The Midwestern Bass Machine, 'Real'

Almost as if to give you time to recover Splawski provides an interlude, 'After The Riots Have Ceased (Sleep I)' is like cosmic mindfulness and leads into the drone of 'Last Night We Had A Lot Of Fun (Sleep II), the sub-titling being more than descriptive enough. Towards the albums end we rediscover the electro side of proceedings with the excellent and dream-pop stylings on 'Teenagers, Don't Give Up' (above video), it's short, sweet and happy and I loved the echoed background vocals too. If there's any doubt about just how talented this young gentleman is before you head into the albums closing track it's immediately assuaged by 'Alone', stripped down and bare, it's like listening to piano playing on an old 30's or 40's 33rpm phonograph recording, it's in some ways simple, yet powerful. That someone so young can make an album such as Don't Want To Live Here is an absolute joy and to be celebrated, you can download the entire album for free at the below links, but you might consider what you're getting for nothing first.

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