Scottish royalty rule the techno template in high-definition
'Machine Cut Noise'

How to make arena techno dictatorship effortless, elevating you and rattling your core at once; ‘Machine Cut Noise’ is strikingly simple, forgoing the patience of previous album ‘Reverse Proceed’ with a need to lash out at will. Logarithms, algorithms, techno mathematics and theory are not the be all and end all. Like Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle proved on their last outing, there’s nothing wrong with going with what you know — and what Slam don’t know about techno isn’t worth knowing anyway.

Ambient soundscapes give off a pale, eerie glow, then it’s on with the techno turbos, an air of superior majesty hanging over bedevilled beats playing their role in a game of master and servant. Synth minions scurry over ‘Inception’, filtering their way over the panic button. Bursts of release retract back into widescreen, 4D calm; said composure and unease of relaxation reflecting techno norms of dystopia and mushroom clouds dissipating, the clinical means of malevolence and futuristic sterility.

Not an album full of happy campers then, but perfectly poised to get brainwaves firing, so that limbs will follow. Heat-seeking oscillations (‘Viginti Quinque’) enable the trusted sensations of chrome-finished suspended animation and moth-like magnetism, surgical precision emitting singeing blowback.

The cyber engineering of ‘Ecclesiastic’ is simple, brutal — one basic loop programmed to rule the world. ‘Psalm’ casually summons the god of hell fire. ‘Evite’ and ‘Corridors’ dictate from a computer keyboard as the album’s foremost exponent of arrhythmia and arithmetic, buried in the snugness of the earth’s core: a further maximising of the techno commandments.

Slam are controlling this transmission; so what if the checklist rings a little too true, the strength of execution is majestic. Transfixing with a lack of warmth versus running into a fever of cold sweats expressed through silent screams, ‘Machine Cut Noise’ is anatomically correct, but atmospherically supreme.

8/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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