Milkplant and the Automatic Message.- From 0-1

Author amarkey
Mon 7 Apr 14
/ 5

The music video by audiovisual duo The Automatic Message for “Lights at 1000 Meters”, the title track of their new collaborative EP with From 0-1 label head Milkplant, is four and half minutes of tense, shaky, high contrast shots of swarming bees and a beekeeper in full regalia. The nervous tension of the video is an accurate reflection of the EP, which combines the full-throated club cuts “Gathered” and “Colonies” with the more experimental fare of “Lights at 1000 Meters”.

Both Milkplant and the Automatic Message are West Coast techno heavyweights known for a particular brand of boxy, stomping techno that works well in dark and industrial club environments. Their long history with Seattle/San Francisco-based label From 0-1 has shaped the label’s dark and heavy sound and helped turn From 0-1 into one of the most prolific techno labels on the West Coast.

The opening track “Lights at 1000 Meters” layers ethereal pads, sifting noise and strobing, detuned bell sounds over a throbbing kick. The track creates a sense of foreboding, as if something evil is approaching unseen. The evil vibes carry through into “Gathered”, which incorporates a bassline into big hats and claps for a bit of funk. All traces of funk disappear immediately upon cueing up “Colonies”, which opens with an overdriven kick and steadily crushes harder and harder. The 16th note pattern of low toms is a nice rhythmic addition, but the track’s constant intensity and lack of space and dynamics can be fatiguing.

This EP will find a good home with DJs who prefer a dark and clubby 4-on-the-floor sound without a lot of emotion. It’s familiar territory, and this single doesn’t tread any new ground or buck any conventions, but it is a finely crafted piece of work from a trio of studio veterans that could be devastating in the right environment. (Editors Note - 1000 meters was recently played in Arnaud Le Texier's Safari Electronique radio show!)

Review for CGNY by Alex Markey

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