REVIEWS


reviews...... sounds...... pictures...... words...... links...... info


from Hans Stoeve, Power Spot (a weekly program on Eastside Radio (89.7) in Sydney, Australia)
Visit the Power Spot website for playlists and reviews.

eM - motor sessions e.p


I reckon Michael Bentley has a great sense of humor; it's obvious in his industrial soundscapes. There is this sense of childishness at play which appeals to me. Hey, even I could do something like this if I knew how to play a keyboard and then deconstruct what I had recorded into something unrecognisable. eM is one of many Michael Bentley personae, depending on his musical mood. Here are four short pieces based on the sounds of motors, slowed down and remolded. It's an interesting release and one I feel many people would enjoy given the chance to hear it. The actual recording brings back fond memories of listening to a band like The Residents (circa Eskimo), with their use of distortions and hazy sonics; machine cognate (track 1) is like listening to a slowed down Lee Marvin singing "I was born under a wandering star" while a demonic beat keeps the track ambling along like an old man who is not quite ready to give up the ghost. This really is quite humorous to listen to. Ratchet is almost environmental in ways, the sound of the motor processed till it resembles an insects voice amplified. Always in the background it's metallic heartbeat reminding you that the source of these recordings is not human. Eno of course explored similar themes in White Cube, though the similarities stop there. bee's house burning circuits is filled with electrically charged chaotic analog pulsations. Definitely low end synth stuff; I would expect to hear this on a Suicide album (that's a compliment Michael) Finally, dreaming of nod. Another short piece, repetitious, mechanical....sleepy sleepy sleepy. I can't help but laugh when I hear this. It's the shortness of these pieces I enjoy as well. If they had been extended I think I would have given up, but as they are the length is just right for me to hear more. The cd comes in a cardboard sleeve, with an essay. Simple and effective. What Bentley has achieved, more so than most composers who deal in lifeless, cold and unemotional industrial sounds, is give the compositions warmth, vitality and a sense of life...and humor. I can't help thinking my refrigerator is thinking bad thoughts as I listen to this again and again. The lap top too is making strange noises. The cd player is grinding away. Me paranoid, hardly.

As an aside, it's a nice touch on his part to credit Bryn Jones aka Muslimgauze for "showing us something unusual"