Review: Dreams – Machine Age Paradise (Bank, Jan 24)

Machine Age Paradise might be the most artificial-sounding record I have ever heard. Each track is constructed from brazenly digital elements stripped down to their barest and unsettling roots: when beats do appear, they’re lethargic, detached, barely interacting with the rest of the track as their industrial clanks and pounds echo from a distance; the watery ambience that soaks tracks like “Light Removal Vacuum” and “Born With Scales” is sickly and uneasy; even the occasional human voice samples sound like alien transmissions. This all sounds very negative, but it’s also what makes the second full-length LP from LA producer Jesse Pimenta (a.k.a. Dreams) so remarkably engaging. Machine Age Paradise is electronica deconstructed, but not in the sense of frenetic “deconstructed club” or any other existing dance subgenre I could think of; it’s more like Pimenta has taken conventional stylistic influences like techno, hardcore, and progressive electronic and gutted them, removed their innards, viciously contorted them to a form in which he’s actually interested. The result is an uncanny palette of sounds that feel empty, humid, somber, menacing, frail, and dark (really—at any given time, any to all of those descriptors are applicable). After a subdued and yet subtly anxious finish with the title track, one is left confused, drained, maybe even scared. The only cure is to listen again.

Pictured here is the cassette cover. The LP is available from Bank’s Bandcamp and comes in a plain sleeve.