[sic] Magazine

Kontakte – These Machines

“Guitar noise and shimmering electronics”

Got your attention? Got mine. Kontakte are one of those interesting acts making electro post-rock with clear influences coming from classic shoegazing and ambient. The album We Move Through Negative Spaces was superior stuff, as was Soundtracks To Lost Road Movies. Plus they take risks. ‘Shut Your Eyes and You’ll Burst Into Flames’ is a serene vista of ambient drone. The perfect closing track in other words. Kontakte choose to open their album with it. There are playing with our expectations. You have to admire that. At 11 minutes though ‘…Flames’ is somewhat challenging and I guess many listeners could do without the 3 minute guitar ‘wig out’ which concludes the track. The next piece is known to me already but it still floors. ‘Fear Of Music’ is the title track of an EP Kontakte offered for free (or a donation) and it really works. Imagine a thrilling visceral fusion of m83 and MBV. Real punchy beats elevate this beyond many electronica peers whilst the airbender, ‘tremolo bar’ guitar playing soars. ‘Fear of Music’ is so good that it’s hard to see past it. Why go on? Why bother? Just hit repeat and kick back.

Wrong. There’s more to investigate here, much more. ‘Alpha Beta Gamma Delta’ sounds like an OMD or Kraftwerk title and could be a relative of those luminaries, albeit on the blander side of what those acts do. I think that is deliberate though. The emphasis is on the ‘machine’ aspect. As a result ‘Alpha Beta Gamma Delta’ is rendered both anaemic and catchy. If there was to be a ‘singularity’ event and computers truly took over, but they decided to keep music, I guess it might sound a little like These Machines. The rest is in similar vein. ‘Sci Fi Rising’ (loving the titles) repeats the trick though in truth it is far more epic, with swathes of guitars breaking in a various points over its nine minutes. As we progress it becomes clearer and clearer that we’re being led toward the albums epic conclusion ‘Immortal Engines’. It is here where the Kraftwerk comparisons are most valid.

We’ll play out with ‘All Watched Over’, a reflective guitar piece, pepped up by sad/optimistic keys. Somewhere in an alternative universe Badalamenti is collaborating with Mogwai on the score for a mysterious foreign television show. Lucky alternative French people. Until somebody invents trans dimensional travel we’ll just have to comfort ourselves with ‘All Watched Over’.

These Machines is released Monday 8th September. There will be a limited edition CD, hand numbered, hand stamped, 24 page artwork booklet housed in a bespoke, eco-friendly card sleeve. The album will also be available digitally. The free ‘Fear Of Music’ EP is available via the link. Please support Kontakte.

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