Machinedrum – Vapor City

Ninja Tune

Machinedrum’s latest album Vapor City comes with quite the concept. If project head Travis Stewart is to be believed its genesis stems from a series of recurring dreams he had apparently so vivid that this set of soundscapes acts as a tribute to the city’s many districts landmarks and neighbourhoods.

On record though this is very much a traditional-sounding Machinedrum effort as Stewart further dabbles in the dubstep-inflected textures of his solo work and that with Praveen Sharma as Sepalcure. As such this is all about refinement with Stewart further perfecting his blend of click-clacking beat work pitch-shifted vocals and electro-charged dancefloor psychedelia.

Of course Machinedrum weaves in new treads here and there dropping in touches of 4AD shoegaze (“Center Your Love) synth pop (“U Still Lie”) and straight-up ambient textures (“Vizion”). But you get the feeling that even without the slight branching out Stewart could get a whole lot more life out of the Machinedrum formula as he once again proves that not all EDM need come with a thick helping of douchery.