Machinedrum melds emotional RnB with frenzied dance in ‘What is This’
After changing direction with his album, Human Energy, last year, MACHINEDRUM has been following up with a few standalone releases including ‘What Is This’, a new collaboration with vocalist ROSIE LOWE. The track is a far more subdued offering from Machinedrum, still offering those skittering chords and stabby synths he’s known for, but stripping it back and focusing more on the vulnerable vocal.
The track moves from organic to synthetic, starting off as a guitar loop that gets filtered into a warm and plucky main line. Rosie Lowe‘s vocals, even though they too are computerised and doubled, bring another element of tangibility to the track and ground this synthetic soundscape. After collaborating with vocalist D∆WN on her debut record, Machinedrum has become a pro at balancing and optimising the vocal and showing off in the breakdowns.
His glossy sound works well in this dance RnB style, the dense chords and experimental chopping sitting alongside the vocals. The lyrics detail the confusing emotions of falling in love and jealousy, but the song still feels uplifting and peppy, telling the story with a kind of optimism through the juxtaposition of the lyrics and the production.
Of the track, Machinedrum has said that he and Rosie “wrote this tune a few years ago in a London studio. It was originally quite somber and slow moving, a song about learning to trust the ones you love and to let go of jealousy.” When his sound started changing, he decided to return to the track, saying, “When I was working on Human Energy I pulled up the vocals from that session and decided to give them new life.”
Machinedrum is rumoured to have more music in the works so let’s hope we get to hear more sounds of this Human Energy era soon.
WORDS BY HOLLY O’NEILL