Machinedrum – Vapor City
After a slew of releases on labels like LuckyMe, and a stunning album for Planet Mu, 2011's Room(s), Machinedrum returns with his Ninja Tune debut, reportedly “inspired by a dream city” in the artist's mind.
From Gunshotta's opening, which sounds like a fistfight between Burial and Congo Natty – with the former's glacial calm and timestretched vocals battling the latter's infectious jungle rhythms and muted ragga vocal stabs – it's a fascinating place to visit, taking in rhythmic flourishes from juke and footwork (Infinite Us), dreamy electronic shoegaze and hypercolour synths (Center Your Love), to the gothic, R 'n' B-inspired night-work of oOoOO (U Still Lie).
Far from a dystopia, Vapor City is an enchanting destination, and the complex, interlocking styles on show align with remarkable coherence. Machinedrum is one of the most inventive producers at the high-tempo end of modern bass music, and this is his strongest, most coherent work to date. [Bram E. Gieben]