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Maschine: Rubidium

Having both recently been involved in the ever evolving The Tangent, guitarist/vocalist Luke Machin and bassist/vocalist Daniel Mash will be familiar names to those who closely follow Progressive Rock (Machin has also worked with Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Robert Plant and Jeff Beck). Less familiar however will be Elliott Fuller (guitar), Georgia Lewis (Keys/vocals) and James Stewart (drums). However that is all about to change with the debut effort from Maschine, Rubidium being both Progressive with a capital P and pretty damn impressive. This is no nonsense stuff, darting through intricate musical interplay and deftly melding three-part vocals into an ever shifting landscape that almost leaves the listener short of breath. You could say it is uncompromising, yet that gives and unjust image of music which is cold, remote and aloof, something Maschine never are. However like the metallic element from which the album takes its name, Rubidium is reactive in a way that leaves it threatening to burst off on a tangent (no pun intended) at any given second, leaving you on the edge of your seat whether a million notes a second guitar part grazes your ears, or a seducing jazzy interlude slides into view. Both are key aspects on an album that rocks, progs, jazzes and fusions in equal measure, jumping and jostling from one idea to another almost on a whim, but again that gives the wrong impression. This is not an album thrown together, or jammed into being. No, Rubidium is crafted, calculated, honed and perfected. Yet it still sounds loose, lively and full of twisting, turning surprises that remain affective even after numerous listens.

Machin is a fine, engaging vocalist, but choosing to harmonise and bounce off Mash and Lewis for much of the album is a clever way of constantly changing the focus in a way that reminds of Pure Reason Revolution. Although musically they have little in common. Instead Maschine are a band with a well travelled sound, where aspects of Europoean Prog from the likes of Italy and France rushes headlong into a more US jazz fusion sound and while there is a huge helping of "traditional" Prog values, the one thing this band do not sound like is exactly what they are, English. However that leaves the quintet with the scope to use a broad and pleasantly unusual blueprint to create music that while keen and willing to reveal influences and common bonds, is reassuringly difficult to actually pin-down for a band to band comparison. Which is rather smart.

In truth there are a few moments across this album which meander just too far from the beaten path and which possibly should have been reined in during the composing process. However as a debut effort Rubidium is a mighty statement of intent and one that promises great things to come.

Track Listing
1. The Fallen
2. Rubidium
3. Cubixstro
4. Invincible
5. Venga
6. Eyes Pt.1
7. Eyes Pt.2

Added: September 25th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Maschine Online
Hits: 4048
Language: english

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