Friday, 20 January 2012

Coloured Lines - Machines for the New Dawn review for Alternative Matter webzine

Coloured Lines is the alter ego of Adam Greenhead, and in his own words, “Machines For The New Dawn” is a “…personal reflection of the current political and economic situation that the world has drove itself towards”. The album opens with a soundscape of minimalistic electronic patterns woven together with the vague disembodied female voice which puts the listener in the frame of mind of the confused paranoid citizen, bombarded with words and sentences they are unable to make sense of and anxious in the modern dystopia. “Scavengers” continues that theme with mournful vocal interspersed with the disembodied voices, over sparse drum, bass and keyboard patterns. The final line, “you’re not the only one”, repeats harrowingly into the subconscious. Some of the tracks, such as “Phobophobia”, are more upbeat in essence but are no less menacing and political in their vocal delivery and content, “maybe you should harm yourself, your filth clenches to my nostrils”, contradicts the vocal style to remarkable effect.

The feeling of paranoia and urban seclusion returns with “Feed Me to the Vulture”, again minimalistic, gossamer thin keyboard lines form the background to words that are barely attainable. The title track “Machines For The New Dawn” and “I Heart Guns” follow a similar theme, this time with a more obvious rhythm track which breaks the mood but not the message. “Happy Meal” is a lesson in consumerism for us all, “I’m so lost, but I’ll cling to my Happy Meal, Festering, I feel the filth”. The most upbeat and candidly funky track on the album “The Wire”, still manages to retain that feeling of menace and bewilderment that by now has come to be the thread running throughout “Machines for the New Dawn”.

It would be deceitful to make direct comparisons to the influences that are cited; Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Cinematic Orchestra and Radiohead. But there is confirmation throughout this release that techniques of layering uncomplicated, delicate passages, and gradually building each composition up to realisation, are evident in abundance, and credit must be given for creating a work of such originality from those elements. The album is available to download from the Coloured Lines Bandcamp site on a pay what you like basis, with a minimum of £4. In this respect too, Coloured Lines are at the forefront of a new model of music distribution for the twenty first century.

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