Album Review: Octave One – Love By Machine
Detroit’s Octave One are a techno duo synonymous with quality music and have been for decades. The brothers have released groundbreaking anthems on their own record label and their most recognized hit ‘Blackwater’ has appeared on over thirty compilation albums worldwide with sales exceeding one million collectively. A year after their impressive last album ‘Burn It Down’, the techno legends are back with a nine track double EP that again shows they are masters of their craft. Entitled ‘Love by Machine‘, the album’s name is a nod to the fact that the Burden brothers are such revered masters of their hardware. Both in the studio, where they cook up atmospheric house and techno with soaring synths and vocals and also in the live arena, where they are celebrated as one of the most accomplished and forward-thinking performers in the game today. That is all the more impressive when you bear in mind they have been active since the ’80s, most often releasing on their own 430 West label, which is where they appear again here.
Technology was a dominant element behind ‘Love by Machine’ as explained by the duo:
“We’ve been exploring the theme of connection with this project. How technology gives us the illusion that we are closer to each other more than ever. At some point humanity crossed a line where the devices that we created to bring us together are the same devices that are blocking us from organic experiences.”
“Technology is only a tool, which we also had in mind during the recording process. We decided to go back to how we used to make our records, when we didn’t have so many ‘sophisticated’ audio devices. Back to when we interacted in the studio together as musicians.”
The album starts with the loose metallic percussive line that is ‘In Mono‘, which sets the machine made tone and is filled with promise. ‘Locator‘ then immediately gets to action with a gallivanting techno kick and various synth lines wrapping round each other as you get sucked into the groove. ‘Just Don’t Speak (Midnight Sun Redub)‘ is a more deep and house leaning track with big feel good piano keys and slithering synths that will get hands in the air. Proving they have real range, ‘7 B4 Dawn‘ is a moody and reserved cut with subtle acid pricks, hip swinging claps and a spaced out dead of night feel.
The second half of the album offers peak time business in the form of the spectacular ‘Bad Love II‘, the whirring and cosmic ‘Sounds of Jericho‘ and the big loops and fluid grooves of ‘[Where] Time Collides‘. ‘Pain Pressure‘ has a big bassline and a focus on percussive patterns as well as some vocals with real attitude and last cut ‘8 B4 Dawn‘ ends things in a downbeat and sombre way with sad chords and emotive strings. It is pure Detroit, much like the whole album, and rounds out another fine release from these most revered veterans. This is some quality listening.
The massive ‘Love By Machine’ is out now. Check it out right here and order it today :