MACHINE MASS – Plays Hendrix

MoonJune 2017

MACHINE MASS - Plays Hendrix

Plays Hendrix

To the outskirts of infinity: fusion reimagining of highlights from a revolutionary catalogue finds different shades to what’s been known.

Usually, it’s lack of creative ideas that’s the reason of artists’ resort to covering outside material, but for this band doing what they do here seems more of a self-imposed challenge which entails a lot of fantasy. Taking a full advantage of a trio format, although this configuration is different from combos of the one whose songs they refract through a jazz-rock prism, MM uncover fresh flexibility and fathom depth in not-so-deep tracks from a famous music textbook.

Looking beyond “Purple Haze” whose ever-unhinged riff is initially fogged by an abstract, if lively, ivories-delivered vignette but let loose afterwards to meander through the thunderclouds of Tony Bianco’s drums and spaced-out synthesizers, the group transmogrify familiar numbers, yet decomposing and reassembling the pieces’ elements in a new way is only a part of this album’s spectral motion. Perfectly in line with the ensemble’s modus operandi, they bring out the discipline in Hendrix’s classics without reining in the dirt that gave Jimi’s oeuvre an additional layer of appeal. Perhaps, the best example of the collective’s approach is a finely textured and highly strung “You Got Me Floatin'” which was extended to last four times as long as its original, whereas present version of “Spanish Castle Magic” has become, with Antoine Guenet’s organ raving and raging, a psychedelic accumulation of the legend’s baroque flamboyance.

Just as hot, Michel Delville’s six strings dance like flaming tongues in “Fire” to eloquently tell the tale of his late idol’s live adventures, and “Voodoo Chile” taps in the same on-stage source of unbridled energy. You can physically feel it, the fluttering of “Little Wing” as vibrant licks conceal the lower end’s leading of a song into the wild sky which doesn’t invite kisses, while “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” is passed to a stately piano whose solemn mood gets shattered thanks to funk wigout and chases fragility away. There’s also a previously unseen shimmer in “Third Stone From The Sun” that is thrown from a hint at its tune towards a delicate ripple of stylophone and percussion before crystalline guitar picking forms a solid melodic structure and takes off for a free fall until keyboards anchor the flight with a barely-there main theme.

So when “The Wind Cries Mary” playfully resolves it all in ether, the listener’s indifference to Jimi Hendrix evaporates and turns into interest. That’s the real reason for playing his gems again and again.


August 5, 2017

Category(s): Reviews
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