Infernal Machines – Rife

Posted: 1 February 2016 in Albums

Clang Records – Clang034 – 12th February 2015

James Wells

Infernal Machines is Lars Graugaard and Hans Tammen. Both respected composers in their own right, they’re also, independently sonic innovators. While Tammen is perhaps best known for his choking Disklavier, Rife features a guitar./computer hybrid in the form of the ‘endangered guitar’, while Graugaard brings interactive computer work to the table for forge rare patterns and grooves, with some interesting and, in parts, bamboozling and dizzying results.

Yes, this download album may only contain three tracks but it has an overall running time of 28 minutes and is so texturally rich than any more would be to be left beyond gorged.

‘Is That A Light?’ pings and pops, drones and groans over rapid percussion resembling bongos. Building an intense insectoid scratching clamour, it drills its way into the cranium. The album’s centrepiece, the eleven-and-a-half-minute ‘Ashen Lines’ hits as a laser attack. Pulses form hectic and cacophonous polyrhythms that shift and mutate. Scraping and rattling against one another, churning and circling.

‘Steady Jolt’ marks a radical departure, as a strolling bassline – remarkably conventional, by all accounts – wanders hesitantly toward a flickering curtain of electronic light that cascades and iridesces. Pulsing dance beats emerge as the sonic spectrum slides into another realm.

It’s not a work you can readily pin down, its shape in eternal flux. Constantly shifting, no two bars are entirely alike, as layers build and sounds evolve and transform. By the end, you find yourself wondering just how you arrived at the end destination – not that it matters, because it’s very much about the journey.

Infernal Machines - Rife

  1. […] Tammen’s collaboration with Lars Graugaard under the Infernal Machines moniker, which came out earlier this year, was more about utilising the Endangered Guitar in a tempered, moderated and counterbalanced way. In contrast, this live recording, the title of which references the theatrical practice of lowering a ‘god’ character on stage using a cable device in order to resolve a troublesome situation in the plot of a play, and in which Tammen casts himself the role of the actor, lowered to the stage to daringly intervene, is built on improvisation and a wide-ranging exploration of the hybrid instrument’s capabilities. […]

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