Review & Full Album Premiere: Stone Machine Electric, Darkness Dimensions Disillusion

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Stone Machine Electric Darkness Dimensions Disillusion

[Click play above to stream Darkness Dimensions Disillusion by Stone Machine Electric in its entirety. Album is out April 26 on Sludgelord Records.]

Stone Machine Electric are the bluesy, jammy, sometimes doomed sludge jazz called for by the times in which we live. The Hurst, Texas-based duo have consistently evolved over the course of their studio LPs, EPs, live offerings, etc., and for the last nine years, they’ve been an underrated act lurking in the crowded Lone Star underground, compatriots to Wo Fat and recording at that band’s Crystal Clear Sound studio, but never really touring and so never really getting the attention their particular take deserves. Darkness Dimensions Disillusion is their third album and first to be issued through Sludgelord Records. It follows behind 2016’s Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here) and its 2017 live companion, Vivere (review here), which were at that point the farthest yet that the two-piece of William “Dub” Irvin (guitar/vocals) and Mark Kitchens (drums) had pushed themselves, exploring nuanced reaches of dark psychedelia centered around the theme of the 2016 US presidential election, which was about as appropriate a subject as one could ask for their gleefully bizarre and malleable approach.

That willingness to discuss real-world issues had never been expressed to such a degree throughout prior outings like 2015’s The Amazing Terror EP (review here), 2014’s jam-based Garage Tape (review here), their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) and their 2010 demo, Awash in Feedback (review here), but it’s a theme that Darkness Dimensions Disillusion continues in its four component tracks. Perhaps not to the degree of having a portly rat king in a red tie on the front cover — though the diamond-encased staring-eye skull drawn by Kitchens is righteous — but still, it’s there in 12:48 opener “Sum of Man” and 14-minute closer “Purgatory,” the two tracks that bookend the album, as well as the all-caps “SAND” and “Circle” (premiered here), the latter of which is unarguably the most straightforward composition they’ve ever included on a record. That in itself is emblematic of Stone Machine Electric‘s steady creative evolution. They’re never predictable unless you count the reliable certainty that they’ll try new things. So it goes here.

And you don’t have to wait until the third of the four tracks to get to that point either. The very first movement of “Sum of Man” is indicative of their progressive bent, unfolding with surprising grace over the course of its first four minutes with a minimal but spacious stretch of effects ambience that’s greeted with melodic guitar/keys on a subtle linear build that’s nonetheless interrupted by the drums bringing about the shift into the first verse. Stone Machine Electric have done plenty of jamming in their time, but this is a different way of engaging atmospherics, and it’s more purposeful than a basic sonic meandering — nothing against that either — in terms of setting the mood for what follows and putting the listener in a more open headspace, such that even as Irvin intones “The sum of man is equal to his waste,” and “The sum of man/Can be measured/By the size of the void/Left upon the land,” the languid groove, while plenty heavy in terms of tone, remains laid back in its overarching affect.

stone machine electric

Repetitions of the title-line serve as a hook unto themselves, and after a few verses, Irvin and Kitchens take off on a fluid, solo-topped jam that seems to immediately signal no return. It feels earned. “SAND” is more chorus-based, but at over eight minutes long still has plenty of room to stretch out, and it takes advantage of it with a noisy midsection that parses out to angular turns leading into its solo and a slow, doomly roll that follows with some theremin or other synth accompanying, from whence they drop out and return to the hook in an effective showcase that says Stone Machine Electric know precisely which rules they want to break and when they want to do it in terms of working in and out of various structures, which is only fitting their experimentalist take and their level of craft in general. They are not just another band.

With “Circle,” though, they do toy with the idea of dead-ahead songwriting in a way they never have. At 4:45, it’s the shortest cut on Darkness Dimensions Disillusion by nearly half, and it’s a work of verse/chorus songwriting that pulls away from some of the burl in “SAND” in favor of a more melodic vocal that suits Irvin well, and shuffling snare work from Kitchens that seems to be a direct contrast to the track before. There’s a short guitar solo in the second half, and a sudden stop as if purposefully cutting themselves off before they launch into the next jam. There’s plenty of opportunity for such things in “Purgatory,” though, with a quiet keyboard-sounding intro to mirror “Sum of Man” for the first two and a half minutes and a smoother transition into the first verse — really embracing the “jazz” in “doom jazz”; no complaints — and bringing back the throatier vocals as they shift as well to meatier riffs and an unfolding nod that sounds like a culmination even before it serves as one.

Kitchens and Irvin are quick to move into more exploratory fare, but they hardly rest there, taking one movement into the next with a marked fluidity en route to the eventual noise wash that emerges with the vocals seeming to echo up from it as they move deeper into the second half of the track, guitar siren blaring amid the distortion flood until the whole thing goes away at the 10-minute mark and they work their way back into an easier groove topped with a highlight solo and the return of the keyboard line from the beginning of the song, which will be the last element to remain after the guitar and drums head out on a long fade, leaving on a note of quiet atmospherics like that which started the album in the first place.

One can only hope Stone Machine Electric continue to follow that impulse as they inevitably move forward from here, since their more confident approach to melody and more patient execution suits them so well, especially in “Sum of Man” and “Purgatory,” but as ever, they serve an intention toward experimentation, and that leads them to new and fascinating places throughout these songs. I wouldn’t bet on what their next record will sound like, but I’m willing to go on record in saying that they’ll keep moving forward, likely in a multitude of directions. They remain better than people know, and a band whose steady growth is matched only by the consistent quality of their output.

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Stone Machine Electric Premiere “Circle” Video; Album out April 26

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

stone machine electric

I’m going to try really hard in this post not to review Stone Machine Electric‘s new album, Darkness Dimensions Disillusion, which is out April 26 through Sludgelord Records. At this point, I think I’ve written about nearly everything the underrated Texas duo have put out, so I’m not trying to get around or anything, but if you check back in on April 25, I’ll be hosting a full stream of the record and reviewing it then. So we’ll get there, but in the meantime, I’m gonna not say everything I want to say about the four-track offering before, you know, it’s time to actually say it. Stone Machine Electric are a fun band to write about, but in almost all cases, reviewing stuff twice is a bummer. “Didn’t I already do this?” and so on.

That bit of procedural declaration aside, let’s talk about “Circle” instead. On Darkness Dimensions Disillusion, it’s an immediate standout for being about half as long as the next shortest track on the record. That is, it’s 4:44 and the preceding “SAND” is 8:19. The bookending opening and closing cuts — the names of which I’m not even going to mention because that’s how much I’m not reviewing the album right now — are both over 12 minutes. “Circle” might also be a standout in the band’s entire discography as well, though, for its straightforward structure. Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo/bridge, chorus, end. While kind of standard for the rest of the various forms of rock and roll, it’s still a shift in approach on the part of Stone Machine Electric, who’ve traditionally been more about crafting spacious jams than hooks, though they’re not exactly strangers to the idea, as their past work has shown.

The tonal crunch of guitar comes accompanied by a more melodic vocal from William “Dub” Irvin, and the changes between the movements in “Circle” are driven fluidly by Mark Kitchens‘ drumming in a way that underscores the jammy foundations shown on the rest of the album — which, again, I’m definitely not going to review now. In fact, I should probably just leave it there until later in the month.

Instead of hearing me ramble (more), why don’t you just go ahead and dig into Kitchens‘ art in the video for “Circle” below and enjoy a little bit of the old elsewhere-rock as only Stone Machine Electric can provide.

Brief comment from the band, live dates and preorder link follow:

Stone Machine Electric, “Circle” official video premiere

Circle is about the monotony that is life as seen from a macro perception, and sometimes you just want something to come crashing into it in order to reset the cycle.

Upcoming Dates (more to come):
4/6/19 Anderson Mill Pub – Austin, TX
4/26/19 Division Brewing – Arlington, TX (Album Release Show)
5/17/19 Lost Well – Austin, TX
6/28/19 Tin Panther – Fort Worth, TX
6/29/19 Freetown Boom Boom Room, Lafayette, LA
8/31/19 Reno’s Chop Shop – Dallas, TX (Dallas Fuzz Rock Festival)

Preorder Darkness Dimensions Disillusion at: https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-dimensions-dillusion

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Stone Machine Electric to Release Darkness Dimensions Disillusion April 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

stone machine electric

I’m not even going to pretend I haven’t heard this one. Stone Machine Electric have a new album coming out. It has four songs on it, and it’s awesome. The Texan bizarrojam duo have been at it for nearly a decade now, and it’s been nothing short of a joy to hear them get weirder and more comfortable getting weirder as they’ve grown into their own style, and Darkness Dimensions Disillusion is four songs serving as the next step in that ongoing process. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll get to premiere a track or something this time around, but we’ll see as we get closer to the April 26 release on Sludgelord Records whether or not that happens.

Either way, the record is awesome, which is no less than I would expect from Stone Machine Electric, who’ve made that their ply and trade all the while. Their last offering was 2016’s Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here) and its 2017 live companion, Vivere (review here), so they’re due, and as they work once more with Kent Stump (Wo Fat) at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, they’re nothing if not right in their element. All the better.

More to come, but here are the PR wire preliminaries:

Stone Machine Electric Darkness Dimensions Disillusion

STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC – Darkness Dimensions Disillusion

Texas-based duo best known for their weird approach in crafting a darkened and spacious vision of psychedelic jamming are ready to reveal their latest effort. This album was produced, mixed, and mastered by Kent Stump at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, Texas.

Darkness Dimensions Disillusion informs you on the greater picture that is not seen, reinforces the confusion, reminds you nothing changes, and lets you know that you are still not in control.

Track Listing:
1. Sum of Man
2. SAND
3. Circle
4. Purgatory

Darkness Dimensions Disillusion will be released on Sludgelord Records on April 26th, 2019.

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
https://www.facebook.com/SludgelordRecords/
http://instagram.com/sludgelordrecords
https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/new-day-dying

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2017)

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Stone Machine Electric Set to Begin Recording Next Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Clearly working on the model of not fixing that which isn’t broken in the first place, Hurst, Texas, duo Stone Machine Electric will hit Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas later this month to begin recording material for their next long-player. As was the case with their woefully prescient but nonetheless deeply enjoyable 2016 album, Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here), which went on to spawn the complementary 2017 live record, Vivere (review here), it will be none other than guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump of Wo Fat at the helm as producer. Stump did well capturing the jammy fluidity and weirdo-prone spacious noisemaking of the band the last time out, and I’d expect no less of the new outing, which if they hurry could even see release by the time Stone Machine Electric return to play this year’s Obelisk-sponsored Heavy Mash fest in October. More info on that here, but the underlying point is we should all go. You. Me. Everybody. Off to Texas.

It’s July and that’s in October, so unless Stone Machine Electric really bang it all out on the quick — hey, it could happen — the new album’s arrival might be later on or even early next year depending on pressing schedules, etc., but whenever it shows up, it’ll be welcome, as the band always seem to be underrated when it comes to their chemistry and the personality they bring to their songs.

Their latest update follows here:

stone machine electric

At the end of July, we’ll be making our way back to Crystal Clear Sound with Kent Stump (don’t act like you don’t know who he is, coughWOFATcough) behind the controls once again! We’ve got a handful of songs to record, and those will get organized and released into our next album. We’ve got no idea when that will occur. Baby steps?

In the meantime, feel free to raid our merch store so you can help us bring you more news (wink-wink, say no more)! Use the code – electricreport – at our bandcamp site and get 20% off of anything. Anything.

On 7/23/18 we’re playing with Apostle of Solitude and Pale Divine in Dallas, TX as part of their tour: https://www.facebook.com/events/231811624088265/

On 8/4/18 we’re celebrating our good friend Anton’s birthday at Division Brewing with Orthodox Fuzz, Space Ape, CI, and Dead Hawke: https://www.facebook.com/events/197067261107883/

Yes, we’re playing Heavy Mash! Get tickets HERE, read about it HERE

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2017)

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Stone Machine Electric Post Update on New Material

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

A vague update, a merch sale, and then, hey, a send-us-your-address-and-we’ll-send-you stickers-and-whatnot, and yeah, that’s pretty much the latest from Texas duo Stone Machine Electric. Charming as ever, and no, I’m not being sarcastic about that. They’ve had new material in the works for a while now for an album that either will or will not get out before the end of the year, and last we heard from them, they were talking up a CD pressing of their 2014 Garage Tape (review here) release that seems to be available to order now from their Bandcamp.

All good stuff, and I’m curious to find out if they’ll put together another Heavy Mash for this year. You might recall, the inaugural edition in 2017 was presented in part by this site. Still one of my favorite show posters as well.

Here’s the latest newsletter from the band:

stone machine electric

THE ELECTRIC REPORT 13

We’ve been a little recluse this year, but that’s because we’re working on all that “behind the scenes” stuff you never see. It’s ugly, we’re ugly, but everything is ugly! Don’t fret, unless you’re playing guitar, that means we’ve got news we’re not disclosing quite yet. Nothing big, just working on the newer material. Getting ready to do things with it.

In the meantime, feel free to raid our merch store so you can help us bring you more news (wink-wink, say no more)! Use the code – electricreport – at our bandcamp site and get 20% off of anything. Anything.

You can still email us at band@stonemachineelectric.net and send us your physical mailing address. Maybe we’ll send you a postcard, a sticker, or who knows what! Yeah, who knows what we’re doing – we don’t….

I bet you want to know Will we be playing Heavy Mash again this year? Are you wondering what Heavy Mash is?

Did you know Kitchens released a solo effort under the name Slow Draw? You should check it out!

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http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, “The Demon and the Bird” official video

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Stone Machine Electric Post “The Demon and the Bird” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

stone machine electric

Oh, I do love it when Stone Machine Electric get weird. They’re so good at it. The Hurst, Texas, duo of guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/thereminist/synthesist/backing vocalist Mark Kitchens have a few particularly choice live appearances slated for the next couple months, including one tonight with The Midnight Ghost Train, a slot at the Obelisk-presented Heavy Mash in September (info here) and one at End Hip End It in October (info here) that puts them on a bill with damn near half their home state, including boogie magnates Amplified Heat and reformed proto-heavy rockers Josefus.

Perhaps in part to mark the forthcoming occasion(s) and to follow-up on their late-2016 live offering, Vivere (review here) — which was itself an answer to the studio release, Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here), that came out earlier in the year — Dub and Kitchens are doing that thing they do so well: getting weird. Actually, getting kind of creepy. Their new video, for the six-minute, bass-led experimental piece “The Demon and the Bird,” carries a warning that its flashing lights might be dangerous to those with a sensitivity to such things. It should probably also have a one in there about haunting dreams.

I’m not really sure what’s going on in the clip. There’s someone walking into a building, then there’s creepy-mask-face, then I’m hiding under the table and that’s about where I get lost. All I know from there on out is that the atmosphere of the song itself seems likewise intended to terrify, starting out a little prog noodly and working its way toward eerie drones to add to the tension of the fretwork. It could well be there’s a narrative playing out in the video, though — the band are pretty tight-lipped on the subject — and as they’re never really too long between one offering and the next, current work feeding off prior work as they go, I can’t help but wonder if “The Bird and the Demon” might bode of more darkness to follow.

Then again, could be a total freak one-time thing. Part of the fun of Stone Machine Electric is that you never really know what you’re going to get.

Video, info and live dates follow, courtesy of the PR wire. Please enjoy:

Stone Machine Electric, “The Demon and the Bird” official video

Stone Machine Electric – “The Demon and the Bird” Video Release

The duo known only as Stone Machine Electric (we only have one band name) have completed work on a concept video titled “the Demon and the Bird”.

At this time, there is no further explanation for this video or any good reason for releasing it. Maybe it will make you want to purchase our fine wares or come see us do make-believe on stage.

WARNING: This video may potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.

Stone Machine Electric live:
AUG 24 The Grotto, Fort Worth, TX w/ The Midnight Ghost Train, Huffer, Gypsy Sun Revival
SEP 7 Lola’s Saloon Fort Worth, TX w/ The Atomic Bitchwax
SEP 23 & 24 Division Brewing, Arlington, TX – Heavy Mash 2017 featuring Wo Fat and more!
OCT 7 Division Brewing, Arlington, TX w/ Gypsy Sun Revival
OCT 21 & 22 End Hip End It Music Festival, Old Town Spring, Spring, TX

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Stone Machine Electric Working on New Album; Live Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Never ones for keeping still for too long, Texas duo Stone Machine Electric have announced they’ve begun work on their next batch of material, presumably with an eye toward an upcoming studio release. Their latest outing, you’ll likely recall, is earlier 2017’s Vivere (review here), a live album issued as a companion-piece to the 2016 sophomore full-length, Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here). We might very well get a release from them before another record surfaces, as they have done in the past putting out tapes of jams or intermittent live digital offerings, etc., but cool that they’re working on new stuff either way, in whatever form it might show up.

They’ve got live dates booked for the summer months around TX, and in October they’ll take part in End Hip End It alongside DoomstressThe WellAmplified Heat, the new lineup of Josefus and a slew of others. More to come on that, I’m sure. In the meantime, Stone Machine Electric sent the following down the PR wire:

stone machine electric

What’s going on with Stone Machine Electric? I guess we can tell you…

Looks like everyone is digging our latest release – VIVERE. You can still pick up a copy on our bandcamp site, along with any other merch you should be interested in. Europe folks can get them at Shiny Beast and save on that shipping!

Us two dudes have been working on a handful of new songs. This means our live set is fresher (because it is always fresh, but now fresh-er), so you should come to an upcoming show if we’re near you. If we’re not playing close enough, let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

SHOW DATES
5/19 – Hellcat Cafe – Houston, TX (w/ Boudain and The Dirty Seeds)
5/20 – Babylon Sportsbar – Metairie, LA (w/ Boudain)
5/26 – The Grotto – Fort Worth, TX (w/ Doomstress)
6/30 – The Grotto – Fort Worth, TX (w/ Burn Thee Insects and Mountain of Smoke)
7/1 – Leftwoods – Amarillo, TX (w/ Burn Thee Insects)
7/14 – Division Brewing – Arlington, TX (w/ Forming the Void and Orcanaut)
10/22 – Walter’s Downtown – Spring, TX End Hip End It

http://www.shinybeast.nl/item/442600/stone_machine_electric_vivere.html
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Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2017)

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Stone Machine Electric, Vivere: Dormiendo Somniare

Posted in Reviews on February 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

stone-machine-electric-vivere

Last Spring, Texas duo Stone Machine Electric — who by my estimation remain underrated as only a non-touring band can — self-released their second long-player in the form of Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here). The timing on that is important. It was May, and as a grueling primary season wound down, the US presidential election was beginning to take shape as a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The Hurst-based two-piece acknowledged these current events in the cover art, which depicted a rat in a suit and a telling red tie standing in front of an audience of sheep, with his arm raised in front of a building burning with a giant skull behind it. Not subtle in visual metaphor, and the translation from Latin of the title — “nightmares are reality” — was correspondingly blunt.

Among what passes for a left-leaning contingent in the States, it would be difficult to see Sollicitus es Veritatem as anything other than prescient in hindsight. Songs like “Dreaming” had a bent of social commentary that never came at the expense of the liquidity of Stone Machine Electric‘s jamming, which has been central to their appeal over the last half-decade-plus, across offerings like the 2015 The Amazing Terror EP (review here), 2014’s Garage Tape (review here), their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) and their 2010 demo, Awash in Feedback (review here). Working frequently in the studio with Kent Stump of Wo Fat, guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/thereminist Mark Kitchens (also synth and backing vocals) have developed a sound able at once to convey straightforward heavy roll and an echo of unpredictability, so that the listener never quite knows when they might take off and just where they might be headed on a given track.

That ability is a big part of why I call them underrated above, and it’s writ large over Vivere, their new live CD recorded June 3, 2016, at the Doublewide in Dallas and issued through Off the Record Label. As the Latin title — the infinitive form of the verb meaning “to live” — hints, the six-song/40-minute set is intended as a complement to Sollicitus es Veritatem, and it very much functions on that level. Its longer tracks, opener “I am Fire,” “Dreaming,” “PorR” and the finale “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” all come from Sollicitus es Veritatem, and with the proximity of one to the other, another mixdown by Stump, and the general live feel that Irvin and Kitchens bring to their material, there’s no shortage of commonality between Vivere and its studio predecessor. Particularly for someone who’s grown to be a fan of the band and hasn’t been fortunate enough to see them play live — as I have and haven’t — the draw should be obvious.

For others, the question becomes what does Vivere have to offer that Sollicitus es Veritatem doesn’t? Fair ask. For one thing, like the studio counterpart, it’s the most cohesive Stone Machine Electric live outing yet. Their last one, 2013.02.07 (recorded, clearly, in 2013), was performed as a trio with Mark Cook on warr guitar, and caught them in the midst of a series of lineup shifts before they settled on the Dub/Kitchens duo as their seemingly permanent configuration. I don’t think I’m giving away state secrets in saying they work best in this form, and that shows itself from the nodding “I am Fire” onward here. It’s not uncommon for a live album to represent a band’s stage presence well — there are very few that are truly “warts and all” — but something else Vivere does is mirror the immersive listening experience of Sollicitus es Veritatem in how one song plays into the next via two short, seemingly-improvised transitional pieces: “Mindless Meanderings” and “Invented Passages.”

Though these are quick courses run at 2:54 and 2:42, respectively, and the broader impression of Vivere is found in moments like Dub‘s execution of the hook in “Dreaming” — the lines “Hustlers ain’t in the alley/They’re runnin’ the global scene/They’ll take you down/And take you further/Oh, how I wish I was dreaming” standing out as something of a centerpiece and summary of the set as a whole, let alone the track itself — and the raucous uptick provided at the end by “I am Fire (Slightly Burned),” on which Kitchens joins in a vocal call and response, both “Mindless Meanderings” and “Invented Passages” are crucial to the flow of Vivere. The first arrives between “I am Fire” and “Dreaming,” and gives Stone Machine Electric an even more atmospheric space in which to work, shifting via guitar lead and drum fills between the one longer song and the other without stopping. They are a band of few words, it seems.

Amid an initial hum at the outset of “I am Fire,” Dub says, “Yeah, we don’t talk. We’re just Stone Machine Electric,” and over a closing bed of synth drone in the ending of “I am Fire (Slightly Burned),” he follows up with “We’ve been Stone Machine Electric…” and something else only semi-intelligible, but other than that, they move from song to song without stopping. Accordingly, “Invented Passages” rises from the end of “Dreaming” with a bit of rhythmic push from Kitchens and a winding riff to accompany but hits the brakes well in time to start the familiar drift of “PorR,” which tops 13 hypnotic minutes riding that progression — down from over 14 for the studio version — and builds to an apex of thud, rumble and slow-motion riffing that moves via feedback into “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” feeling both practiced and unforced; the closer picking up after about a minute and providing Vivere‘s final movement, which turns to brief cacophony just before ending in a way that seems only to re-suggest the improvisational elements at root in their creative approach.

The reinforcement thereof is another aspect of Vivere that shines through especially in its following Sollicitus es Veritatem, which was arguably the most song-based outing from Stone Machine Electric to-date. Still, this is the part where I say that one doesn’t need to have heard the studio album to appreciate the live one. A cliché, and probably only half-true, but valid when considering the molten nature of the band’s execution in either sphere. One of the joys of following Dub and Kitchens over their years together has been the way in which one release has always fed into the next — the debut into the first live album and Garage Tape into The Amazing Terror into Sollicitus es Veritatem — and Vivere adds to that line, acknowledging what they’ve done before and using it as a basis for moving forward.

What makes it even more engaging, though, is that the songs themselves do the very same thing on a meta-level, and are reshaped and recontextualized by this performance on this given night. One expects that as Stone Machine Electric put more distance between themselves and their second full-length headed perhaps toward a third, the evolution of their ideas will likewise continue, and the multi-tiered fluidity they’ve thus far shown will reach its next stage. That’s the hope, anyhow. But though their heavy psychedelia is often tinged with a darker, brooding sensibility, and Sollicitus es Veritatem certainly had its air of cynicism, I hear nothing on Vivere to make me think that core vibrancy will dull anytime soon. And who knows? If the live album turns out to be as predictive as its predecessor, we might all just survive these curious times in which we’ve found ourselves.

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2016)

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