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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SUNDIAL: Made in The Machine (2016)

“Made in the Machine is a splendid collection of 14 titles all with a strong psychedelic essence of cosmic rock and pure lively electronic psy-rock”

1 Meltdown 3:43 2 Contact 3:51

3 Ascension 4:38

4 Sea of Rain 3:30

5 Spacedust 3:55

6 Aurora 4:13

7 Sun Gate 4:11

8 Regenerator 6:38

9 Eclipse 4:14

10 Autopilot 14:26

11 In the Machine 3:50

12 Dark Planet 6:09

13 Slipstream 2:59

14 The Gates of Eden 5:31

(Cosmic psychedelic E-Rock)

I fell in love with the music of SunDial as soon as I played the awesome Science Fiction for a second time in last July. Normal that I contact Dave Schmidt, aka Sula Bassana and the founder-owner of Sulatron Records, to delve a little deeper into the universe of this group whose destiny is tied to the guitarist Gary Ramon. For Synth & Sequences, it's also another music sector tied to the foundations of EM and which also broadens the horizons of my Blog. We are always in EM! In fact, we are in this musical exploration developed by the hippies of the 60's with effects of reverberations and inaudible voices on motorik ambient beats which were the essence of cosmic rock and which would become a kind of precursor to what the specialized press was going to nickname shoegazing music some 20 years later. This album, proposed on a double vinyl and on CD, follows a long silence of 4 years started by Mind Control and whose title such as Mountain of Fire & Miracles extends its ashes on this MADE IN THE MACHINE which also attracted the praises of psychedelic electronic rock chroniclers.

Meltdown opens this impressive 14-track skewer with siren effects heralding a nuclear attack. Bright sequences jump with alacrity, structuring a pace as melodic as fast. The drums fall quickly and pick up this beginning of atmospheres to convert it into a rather sober electronic rock. Who sings? Impossible to know! But the voice flows with a beautiful harmonic fluidity and introduce the psychedelic effects of the title. Meltdown will be the first of a great series of electronic rock anthem with very diversified rhythms and musical horizons. Contact follows with a fast flow but with a little Funk approach. It's an interesting fusion between two styles in a more electronic approach with floating arpeggios while discoloring a melodious spectral vision as well as riffs and effects that bounce into an echoic and reverberations texture. Titles are short and avoid a confusion of redundancy, except for Autopilot which is yet quite magnetizing. Ascension offers another psychedelic rock with much more sci-fi effects on a more spasmodic structure. Sequences and electronic percussions combine rhythms attacks that embrace the different genres related to a vision of Electronica as well as electronic psychedelic rock. We are not bored and the themes of the album flow with a disconcerting ease for a music that is quite far from the commercial genre. The beats and melodies are catchy while the various effects stir the curiosity of our eardrums. Spacedust and Aurora are two other lively tracks, whose very opposite intonations join this hallucinogenic rock palette of MADE IN THE MACHINE.

Sea of Rain is a good lunar ballad with a voice hidden behind a lascivious structure that reminds me of Beck. The guitar is dreamy while the bass line is rather suggestive. Sun Gate is another slow title with beautiful laments of a tasty aerial guitar that rolls its loops of solitude in good effects of echo and reverb. Regenerator is simply sublime with its essence of Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun which was also found in Mountain of Fire & Miracles from the Mind Control album. Eclipse preserves a bit of this essence of Pink Floyd in a kind of interstellar Blues with guitar's chords/riffs that float between airy synth pads. Longest title of MADE IN THE MACHINE, Autopilot proposes a rather hypnotic minimalist structure sculpted in a phase of ambient motorik beat. The dialogues of a fuzz-wha-wha guitar as well as the liquefied harmonies roll in loops with the company of good lunar arpeggios. It's a genre that is similar to the psychedelic music of the 60s with a beautiful Hindu spiritual essence that becomes even more realistic with beautiful layers of voices. In the Machine reminds me of the industrial rock of Dead in Vegas with gurgling effects and of computer's bip-bip on a rather enticing structure. Only the voices of Nicola Kuperus or Susan Dillane are missing! Dark Planet offers a musical infusion of cosmic atmospheres where are howling winds encircled of voices. Layers sealed in orchestrations of violins fly and float in spite of a rhythmic structure enriched by percussions while the ambiances get drinking of sound effects which flirt with a vision as psychedelic as horrifying. Slipstream also possesses the attributes of a film music, but with a vision much more of the pink romance genre for teenage girls. The guitar is very David Gilmour here. The Gates of Eden concludes MADE IN THE MACHINE with a very vintage vision, like Pink Floyd in A Saucerful of Secrets.

I had several flashes while listening to this 2nd album of SunDial on Sulatron Records label. From Jefferson Airplane to Ash Ra Tempel, from Beck to Pink Floyd to Orbital or a Krautrock à la Neu!, MADE IN THE MACHINE casts a wide net, offering a superb collection of tracks whose psychedelic fragrances soak a music that one tames quite easily, the references helping and a curiosity for a spiced music, a more thought music is helping even more. Dominating from start to end, I understand even better why it appeared on several Top 10 of 2016.

Sylvain Lupari (October 1st, 2018) *****

Available on Sulatron-Records

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