The Voice of the Beat

Eight new tracks from Manchester-based Machine Woman

The new Machine Woman album half-tells stories with bits of spoken conversation, slivers of memoir, fragments of verbiage, sometimes as if overheard, often as if directed at the listener, and then as if the listener were, in fact, a close confidant — and sometimes that conversation is buried deep in the album’s sounds themselves. A warped tape of what seems like voice mail opens “Telephone Calls From Milan to New York (Featuring The Nativist).” A garbled anecdote partially explains the subject of a track titled “Man at the Bus Stop.” These voices that permeate In the Basement of 83 Men seep into our heads, so much so that even on the tracks where they’re not as prevalent, the sounds of Machine Woman’s rhythms seem made from voices. A beat on “The End of Last Year Always Be Beautiful” feels like it was shaped from a breathy vowel. A synth on “Frankfurt Glitch Machine” that moves like a broken Slinky toy blurts as if someone were struggling to say something. And quite clearly (at least to my ears), aspects of “Petrol Sounds I Hear Outside My Window” were certainly clipped from spoken language and reworked into another sort of communication, one built on the common language of techno. Percussive ingenuity and a storyteller’s imagination guide this excellent collection.

Album originally released at Machine Woman is Anastasia Vtorova, based in Manchester, U.K.

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