BROEKHUIS, KELLER & SCHONWALDER: Musique des Machines (2005)
Updated: Dec 3, 2020
“Be advised: you will be amazed by this dance music album which visits all the 90's Electronica styles, including Trance & Goa”
1 Musique des Machines 1 26:20
Recorded in concert in Eindhoven, Netherlands in 2003
2 Musique des Machines 2 43:43
Recorded at the Alpha Centauri Festival, in 2004
(DDL 70:03) (V.F.)
MUSIQUE DES MACHINES! Because it's mechanical. That simple? No! Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder leaves the comfortable paths of their minimalist and hypnotic Berlin School to offer 70 minutes of an infernal EM that puts all its ties together in an explosive canvas of Dance music. The EDM known now as Electronic Dance Music. Rough and dynamic machine music that can be danced more than it can be listened to, both through its incessant beat à la Juno Reactor, Prodigy and Future Sound of London. It's House and wild Techno in a universe of sound effects, percussions and twirling metallic layers that emerge from it. On repetitive music, BKS explodes of ingenuity and of creative daring in dance music. A music of machine which imposes a hypnotic and frenzied rhythm. A music which astonishes by its length, in particular the second part of this concert at the Alfa Centauri in 2004, and the inexhaustible resources of the German trio because at no time do you get bored as you get tired of this rhythmic redundancy. There is always something happening that wakes you up, something unexpected that gets your feet going.
Musique des Machines 1 begins with metal on metal. Metallic chords get suspended across a steel-blowing wind. Contorted, the synth waltzes hesitantly. More agile chords circulate among heavy and vaporous sound effects. The rhythm tumbles on a twisted metallic synth, behind heavy synth pads in suspension. It goes down in a spiral with metallic percussives' effects and tablas' percussions which warm up a sordidly cold ambience. A bass wave installs a little warmth, completing this introduction where clearer chords circulate on circular movements and giving the impression of embracing a Techno in its Goa clothes. Hypnotic the rhythm skips on the same chords, instead of taking advantage of the percussions to give grain while the keyboard invents steel melodies on beep-beeps flowing like liquefied metal and ritual chants invested with insanity by good reverberation effects and loops. The pace slows down a bit, amplifying more the techno and synth-pop effect, especially with the metallic percussions which slam like steel thong whips. Multiple and variegated sound effects adorn this steelworks's symphony whose rhythm finds nothing more to put under the pulsations, becoming the vestige of a good piece of dance music from a trio with a thousand resources.
Although recorded almost a year later, Musique des Machines part 2 respects the musical imprints of its younger sister. A long, hypnotic track tinged with some fragmentary approaches of a minimalism synth pop, à la New Order, that can be enjoyed more on a dance floor than in a living room watching the four walls, although the effect on a good hi-fi system is surprising especially if you like the sequencing parts of BKS. The beat, flown over by techno bats, goes into the floor and into the feet. The sound effects, and there are numerous, come out with as much strength as astonishment between synth waves and dense enveloping layers. Big layers of throbbing violins, as well as of ethereal choirs drag their melancholies in a universe of rhythms with the flavors of the new Techno, the EDM. The bassline is vicious and supports a rhythmic section that surprises with its unruly percussions that capture the attention of the feet as much as the sense of rhythm. The trio multiplies the blows of geniuses throughout Musique des Machines part 2 with sudden movements and new unforeseen and daring rhythmic assaults from a creative sequencer in mode Dance Music as well as ever more aggressive percussions. On the harmonic side, the jerky orchestral layers and the violin's banks of mist exchange roles in a harmonious vision where an interesting panoply of sound effects are grafted, always capturing the attention and the astonishment, at the same time blocking a possible disinterestedness. Which is no small feat for a techno pace that breaks the 40-minute mark. I'm not a fan of techno or DJ music, except here Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder really got me into it.
Once the surprise passed, I was fascinated by these interchangeable and sometimes hellish dance rhythms that took us back to the 80's and 90's, when synth-pop merged its ideas along the many House styles. MUSIQUE DES MACHINES remains an EM linked to the Berlin School genre because of its minimalist approach, its numerous synth solos and these rhythms drawing a ghostly train. It remains an astonishing CD that is well worth its discovery, whether you are a fan of Keller & Schönwälder or party music, dance floor. This is great minimalist dance-music which has its place in any Rave party.
Sylvain Lupari (September 12th, 2006) ***½**
Available at Manikin Records Bandcamp