Review of Slow Machines [12k2044]

Net Sounds (UK)

Multi-instrumentalist Michael Grigoni (formerly M. Grig) and electronic musician and sound artist Stephen Vitiello collaborate to produce mesmerising ambient album, Slow Machines.

Ambient music is not for everyone.  Personally I am fan and over the years albums by the likes of Boards of Canada, Tangerine Dream, Sigur Rós and Brian Eno have made a healthy contribution to my record collection.  Artists that have shifted moods and taken us to new places.

More recently I came across the beautiful, Field Notes (2016) by M.Grig.  Michael Grigoni (formerly M. Grig) is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in dobro, lap steel guitar, and pedal steel guitar.  His music combines electric and acoustic textures, field recordings, and dense layering techniques. While he seeks to display the personality of the steel guitar in ways both familiar and strange, he also creates sonic landscapes in which the personality of the instrument is buried, at times to the point of erasure.

And that brings me to his latest release.

Slow Machines brings together veteran Stephen Vitiello and 12k label newcomer Michael Grigoni, whose debut for the New York based label, Mount Carmel made an impression for its merging of the pedal and lap steel guitars with a hushed, ambient sound. With both calling the southern mid-Atlantic region of the United States home, the two met up and discussed a collaboration in which Grigoni would provide the guitars and Stephen the electronics and processing with a goal of combining each of their artistic languages into a new form.

Slow Machines is an accessible ambient album – the two musicians produce a soundscape of dreamy electronics and an array of treated pedal and laptop steel guitar passages.  It creates an otherworldly and alluring listening experience.  The melodic and quiet soundscaping make it an interesting and striking collaboration.

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