Review of Slow Machines [12k2044]

Drifting Almost Falling (BLOG)

The beauty of this album is that while the above album featured Grigoni on all tracks, “Slow Machines” is a beast of it’s own nature. Recorded in 2018, I am not sure which session came first and wonder if the process of “I Drew A Fishhook…” inspired further exploration of the duo’s sound or resulted in Grigoni guesting on the above album. Whatever the case the result is one which is nicely different in it’s nature. Despite being released in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, this is a surprisingly warm, light filled, melodic release. While “Fishhook” had a lot of space in it’s pieces, the tracks on “Slow Machines” are full of hazy, sun dappled sound. The influence of the artist that the track “Arthur Ganson” is named after is the glitchy almost rippling tones that scatter about while Grigoni and Vitiello provide material for each other to work and manipulate with.

“Sheridan, Wyoming” named after the city that is halfway between Yellowstone Park and Mount Rushmore has an open, if slightly melancholic feel to it. Grigoni contributes delicate twangs and arcs of sound, while Vitiello adds in looped field recordings and a slightly gritty, almost stormy dark ambience that together offers up a a pensive mood. There are some percussive like sounds that have a very slight nod to those in “I Drew A Fishhook…” but for the most part the music is one which is hypnotic in nature.

“Purpling Cloud” feels like like the perfect distillation of slow core post rock meets distant squally ambient. The piece has a swirling sound which creates a bed for Grigoni’s playing to cast tones upon. Constantly evolving and coming close to evoking the coldness of winter the track feels like the colour is seeping out of it, leaving a blue haze. After a brief flurry towards the end which is opposite to it’s beginning, the track comes to a close.

“A Clearing” originally I thought we would see the return of the light filled sound we heard on the opener. Instead we are taken into a sonicly rich, overcast but dreamy piece of music that relies on the subtleties of the instrumentation much like tracks did on “I Drew A Fishhook…” The pace is slow with an unwinding feel and a ghostly presence. Grigoni’s voice adds a spectral feel while the music encompasses several layers of sound and vibrancy. In a way the input from Grigoni’s various string instruments is still very much present, but for some reason they feel don’t have a commanding presence, instead they are used very much like a looping building block bringing in texture, tone and variance of sound to the piece.

The finale track “Transparent As A Hanging Glass”which feature label boss Taylor Deupree on Moog bass, Hohner Pianet-T is the most traditional sounding piece on the album that nicely mixes ambience and this particular strain of Americana that Grigoni is making his own. It feels like a piece for the end of the day when you can relax and reflect back on what has been achieved. There is a contentedness that comes through the music with the ultra subtle bass tones and glistening ambience adding to the progressively exploratative string work that conjures up a positive mood.

The success of the album is the balance between the two artists and their individual styles with each artist complimenting the other. Hopefully this is not a one off collaboration and one that possibly invites other artist into the fold to create a 12k super-group (Fischer, Fuller, Durand, Scott, etc… would be valuable additions). If you loved the OHIO album and any of the other 12k collaborative releases, then “Slow Machines” will be right up your alley. “Slow Machines” is available on limited transparent vinyl (200 copies) and Digital.

View Website View Release