Conforce, Machine Conspiracy

[Meanwhile]


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Boris Bunnik’s music may well have been inspired by the wind swept scenery of the tiny island of Terschelling in the Netherlands where he grew up, but more likely it was the random cassette his father found on a beach one day that shaped his penchant for discerning, electronic music. The faceless, black cassette Bunnik played was full of Detroit techno and it was to be the start of a love affair with those sounds that further developed when he moved to the city of Leeuwarden and forged friendships with both Mohlao and Delta Funktionen. After a short run of acclaimed EPs for Rush Hour, Modelisme and Curle, Conforce’s full length debut, Machine Conspiracy appears on the Meanwhile label. It’s a studied, polished exercise in deep and dubby techno from the young Dutch producer.

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From the outset it is clear Conforce has been deeply swayed by the sounds of Detroit techno and more dub-based fare and these two elements make up the bulk of Machine Conspiracy. “Land of the Highway” opens the album up with a beatless pathway laid out in front of the listener, reminiscent of early work by Carl Craig or Derrick May. Its searching tones and rhythmic rattle of light drum touches set the stage for the album, which continues with the shimmering beauty of “Sonar Conversation” before heading into one of two electro tracks that grace the album. “Robotic Arm Wrestle” may tout some of the familiar flex of proper electro, but inside of the hard shell of broken beats lie pensive melodies and a wistful sentiment. “First Impression” has a stronger spine than “Robotic Arm Wrestle” and also comes across with a cold, Arctic chill, but within its freeze is a glimmer of feeling that comes to the surface. When the album isn’t reminding me various Detroit techno that came before it, it invokes instead the serious lines of German techno, more specifically the work of Central releases and also those by Gadgets.

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The title track is the most derivative on the album; an unabashed homage to the dub-soaked strains of Maurizio and indeed all of the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction output. Its also happens to be the weakest link on the otherwise stunning album, failing to hit the nail on the head as the remainder of the tracks do time and again. While Conforce captures the warm valve compression of the lower frequencies well there is something missing from the melody that you spend the length of the track waiting for but never quite get. This however is a small thing, the only flaw I could feasibly pick from the otherwise impeccable album. “Intimidation” is the most dance floor friendly moment on the album, imbued with the concrete tread of the Berghain sound, though that’s not to say the other tracks won’t find their way from the ears to the feet within the right context. Machine Conspiracy is wrapped up by the light pizzicato strings employed on “Stop Hold,” adding finesse to the endlessly echoing, darker chords that lurk behind them. With a highly impressive array of tracks that show Bunnik’s ease at mining deep, emotive techno, Machine Conspiracy is an album that is effortlessly able to be listened to on constant repeat. The vinyl version of the album contains three less tracks than the CD but if you’ve been following Conforce then those three absentees can be found on his Love & Hate EP from earlier in the year, also on Meanwhile.

Nibiru Planet X  on March 25, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Awesome blog, i love the info, thanks for keeping people informed!

Blaktony  on March 25, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Good job, Boris…. glad you found that tape (aren’t you) & glad you shared those emotional results with the world.

Nils  on March 26, 2010 at 6:16 AM

Boris is a fakkin hero! : )

Hue  on April 6, 2010 at 1:43 AM

a1 def reminds me of the artic. b2 like e2-e4 + Nite Drive + clear… perplexes me about the quiet background. Lovely!

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