Nearly everything about Feeding the Machine feels unexpected, and that may be the best thing…
Nearly everything about Feeding the Machine feels unexpected, and that may be the best thing about it. Saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd have earned a reputation for their forward-thinking, boundary-ignoring approach to the brand of modern jazz that’s emanated from London in recent years. But this thrilling new salvo is their best yet.
Two collaborators are key to this accomplishment. Max Luthert is an electronics and tape-loop expert whom Golding and Boyd now consider their group’s honorary third member; the three co-wrote every track. And then there’s the aural punch delivered by producer Hugh Padgham, a rock-and-pop veteran best known for the influential gated-drum technique popularized on the Phil Collins smash “In the Air Tonight.” However, the innovation was first heard on 1980’s “Intruder,” a track by Peter Gabriel, at whose Real World Studios Feeding the Machine was cut.
“Asynchronous Intervals,” the opening number, begins subtly, with Golding’s echoing explorations circling like a flock of birds. The sonic swirl builds by way of Boyd’s quirky percussive accents and bursts from Golding that regularly rise to breathtaking heights.
“Active-Multiple-Fetish-Overlord,” which follows, initially seems more traditional thanks to the ripe runs Golding lays over Boyd’s modified-swing stylings. But before long, Luthert’s treatments transform Golding’s tone into a high-tech stutter at war with itself — a disquieting but fascinating effect. On “Accelerometer Overdose,” Luthert layers Golding’s playing into waves that crash over Boyd at his most driving, while “Feed Infinite” finds him unleashing his entire electronic arsenal. “After the Machine Settles” tricks the listener with an opening drone that suddenly erupts into an awesome groove, while “Because Because,” the closer, presents a dense soundscape filled with pleasures to discover.
The same can be said of the album as a whole. Feeding the Machine nods to avant-garde verities but sounds like tomorrow. — Michael Roberts