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Body Musick releases debut LP by Oakland’s Amusement Machine

Body Musick releases debut LP by Oakland’s Amusement Machine

On Friday there was a message in my inbox from Body Musick which is not to be confused with Body Magick which is an annual festival of sacred sexuality held in Tampa Bay, Florida, whereas Body Musick is a record label based in Envigado, Colombia (near Medellín) specializing in “dungeon electronics & vehicles for the soul.” And while that description's maybe not as provocative as a sex conference it’s still pretty close if you’re into stuff like EBM, coldwave, darkwave, industrial wave, and other waves yet to be invented. And likewise the label is international in scope having just put out the debut LP by Oakland-based Amusement Machine who by her own account is “always in the red” but I don’t think that’s a sex thing (the Emulator EP below is what first got Body Musick's attention and indeed it’s an eerie and enveloping tour de downtempo force).

Anyways the label is run by a man named Filmmaker and if you don’t know who that is you should probably check out his video for “Melting Plastic on Frail Skin” below because it’s a sick track and an equally sick video complete with fetish jungle gym and leather-bound chain play and not just one but two adorable snakes. Filmmaker is one of these people who always seems to have more projects going than your average person can keep up with but for one I’d recommend his Kontinent collab with Sad Mafioso from last month if case you’re short of time.

The aforementioned email goes on to say how Columbia is facing “tough times” lately meaning the nationwide protests and strikes provoked by a proposed regressive tax “reform” and which has continued on in a broader fight against malfeasance and poverty and inequality with attendant draconian crackdowns that have left dozens dead plus hundreds injured and disappeared. In other words it’s an especially dark time which is saying something by current standards. The email closes with a modest, direct appeal: “if you’re looking to help during this chaotic situation, this independent label will honestly thank you.”

The past year has certainly driven home just how vulnerable the systems and infrastructures are that shape our everyday lives--some of them clearly and desperately in need of change long before COVID hit--and furthermore just how extra-vulnerable musicians and music venues and electronic musicians in particular are to the ongoing state of collective crisis. But at the same time the resulting trauma has make many of us extra-reliant on music in order to cope, all the while many musicians are simply trying to survive as such. One takeaway being that we all need to be extra-conscious (these days especially) of paying musicians for services rendered when possible. And Body Magick even as a young label renders some serious services when it comes putting out some of the most absorbing and transporting electronic music I’ve encountered lately. Plus they just added four new records to their discography over the weekend.

The first is a full-length release by Panama Papers—a group comprised of Invalid User and GAËL who together founded Piladoras Tapes which is another Colombian electronic label this one based in Bogotá—and it’s called John Doe’s Manifesto. Consistent with their name the music on the album moves with relentless mechanized menace, not unlike the menace of unrestrained and unregulated flows of global capital (call it “trickle-up economics”!) as revealed in the actual Panama Papers. Both sound-wise and concept-wise this would be perfect music for a sequel to They Live if John Carpenter didn’t already score all his own films.

Next up is Fragmentos by LA-based producer Machino. Opening track “California Evil” acts a mood-setting overture for an album (or extra-long EP?) “full of ruthless industrial wave footwork with thick phantasmagorical ambiences” to the point it’ll probably break the needle on your seismometer if you actually live in Cali because everyone there owns one I hope. And then there’s the Transmutative Discipline EP by Black Dahlia comprised of “two banging Darkwave tracks” from the “Australian EBM queen” plus “two remixes by label founder Filmmaker.”

And finally there’s Manipulations which is where we started, the debut full-length by Amusement Machine that’s “loaded with classy coldwave techno and dungeon-esque minimal synth” that essentially takes the downtempo sound of the debut EP and blows it up to widescreen sonic proportions with a resulting vibe that's like speeding down a deserted back highway at 3 in the morning where you completely forget where you’re even going and just become one with road and it’s hard to tell if you’re totally wired or pleasantly wrung out or both at the same time somehow (note to reader: your loyal blogger is probably projecting here because the last time I drove I got a speeding ticket in Staten Island). And with tracks like “Empathy” and “Healing” you should take a cue from their titles and head over to Body Musick’s Bandcamp and you know what to do from there. (Jason Lee)

Published: May 10, 2021 |

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