Artist: Octave One
Title: Love by Machine
Label: 430 West Records
Release: Out Now!
The Burden Brothers (Octave One) perhaps best known for their sublime Detroit-house classic ‘Blackwater’ have been busy rocking the globe with their live show for the past twelve months and here they arrive with a brand new album, ‘Love By Machine’. Recently the Detroit duo has brought the ‘Mothership’ to destinations all over the world and developed their reputation as one of the best live acts in the business. Indeed, much of the material seems to have been honed and refined on the road so if you have had the opportunity to catch them on tour, many of the tracks will seem reassuringly familiar.
Opener ‘In Mono’ is relatively down-tempo angular machine funk, it’s almost as if the brothers are gearing up the machines for the real action to come or perhaps we are being invited down into the bowels of Motor City itself to listen to the rumblings of the machines awakening. The industrial atmospherics of the opener are brought to abrupt end by the no-nonsense 909 thump of ‘Locator’, a rocket fuelled adrenaline trip into tech-house which peaks with the type of dramatic classic Detroit strings which punctuate their productions so effectively. ‘Just Don’t Speak’ comes next, here in its ‘Midnight Sun ReDub’ form, the track is led by a rolling bassline guaranteed to get bodies jackin’ before we are slapped around the chops with the sort of infectious M1 piano line that Woolford would be proud of. The soulful vocals are largely held back on this version but elevate the end of the track nicely. “7 b4 Dawn” with its brooding eighties synth lines and electro zaps sees the boys take the foot of the accelerator ever so slightly however it’s clear that the album has been crafted on the dancefloor for the dancefloor.
Elsewhere ‘Bad Love II’ is the kind of techno jacker that will rattle speakers and burst bass bins while ‘Sounds Of Jericho’ with its Egyptian sounding lead line references the duo’s old school electro influences. The high octane tech-funk returns on ‘(Where) Time Collides’ before the throbbing tribal drum work out of ‘Pain Pressure’ works the dance floor into a frenzy once more. The album finale ‘8 b4 Dawn’ is essentially a beat-less version of ‘7 b4 dawn’ and lets the listener fully take in the beauty of those icy ethereal chords and electro blips.
From start to finish this is the work of two masters of their craft and the production levels are superb. While the album can’t quite capture the irrepressible energy of the Burden brothers in full flow, it nevertheless solidifies their live jams into tracks that DJs can use, while also providing enough sonic invention for home listening. With analog jams being seriously in vogue right now (as listeners and producers continue the never-ending quest for authenticity) Octave One (and their ‘Mothership’ of synthesizers) are spearheading the ‘analog jam’ charge by simply doing what they have always done. What sets the duo apart is their ability to make their machines really sing. When they talk to the machines it seems they really do answer back.