The Machine in the Garden - Live And Two
The Machine In The Garden have been a premier dark ambient
musical endeavor for a half decade now, stepping slowly and tentatively onto
the scene with their release of the Veils and Shadows EP. They've moved
across a spectrum of moody industrial dance to a more soundscape-like and
captivating sound since then with full length releases of Underworld and
One Winter's Night
Founder of the Machine In The Garden, Roger
Fracé, has found a beautiful partner in Summer Bowman. In their latest
release, only the second CD from the new Middle Pillar Presents label, their
sound shows a stronger maturity and growing quality. (--Pan--)
With the addition of
Summer Bowman to the one-man line-up of Roger Fracé, The Machine In The
Garden's second album takes on a more ethereal and darker side, departing from
Fracé's more metallic past. Songs like Dreams Of The Absent and
Words In Heaven Lost set quiet moody backgrounds against Bowman's vocal
talents. It's a good formula, but it seems over-used. Fortunately, in Corpus
Christi (Love Will Die) Fracé adds his deep voice to the mix, making
a much more interesting vocal arrangement. They keep that interest going with
some percussive help in Shadowy Depths, and then a faster paced
Spiritus Ex Obitus Sanctus, but the real shocker is Dark Splintered
Heart - it harks back to sounds like My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. A
remix, it's the kind of song you'd buy the album for, and then gain an
appreciation of the rest of the album afterwards.
Overall the album seems like a bit of Bowman here, then some
Fracé there, while the group tries to find the right blend of both. It's
not a spectacular album, but a good transitional one for a band still searching
for "their sound."
This is the first album of theirs I heard, and the one
that led me to delve deeper into the group's works. Creatively a powerhouse,
it's not the kind that will keep the goth clubs jumping. Instead it is ambient
and ethereal enough to be almost New Age. Their first release with Middle
Pillar Presents, it also seems like they've found "their sound."
It leads off with Summer's self-declared favorite
Falling, Too, a complex background mix and some outstanding vocal work
by Bowman. Control is less ambient, and probably more the goth-club
danceable type of song, again containing great background work set against
excellent vocals. It only gets better when Fracé adds his bass voice to
The Sleep Of Angels.
They're expanding their range
also, putting Shakespeare to music in Fear No More and then doing the
same with Aeschylus in Io's Departure, which also has a powerful
drum-based ending. This is the kind of album that previous fans of tMitG have
been waiting for, and one to generate a lot of new fans in the future.
Live at QXT's, Newark, NJ
Pan and I had
the pleasure of seeing them live at a club called QXT's in Newark, New Jersey.
Their stage presence matches their musical style - low-keyed (where some groups
are SO goth it's almost kitsch!) but intense, well-crafted music. I was
enjoying myself too much to write down the whole playlist, but they did start
off with a number of selections from Underworld, and then continued into
One Winter's Night. Afterwards, while a local group set up, Pan and I
got to talk with both Roger and Summer (who made Pan's evening by accepting the
offer of a drink). Unfortunately, we couldn't talk long, as they had flown up
from Texas that day and were set to do a show in NYC the next night before
returning there, but they seemed as pleased to talk to us as we were to talk to
I just had to put up with Pan all night after that: "Oi.
Mang! She let me buy her a drink!"
Post: the Machine
in the Garden, PMB 234, 4815 W. Braker Lane, Suite 502, Austin, TX, 78759
Phone: (888) 763-2323, (212) 378-2922
Click to Buy!
Click to Buy!