09.06.2009, Words by Charlie Jones

Space Beyond The Egg

The Emperor Machine is a kraut/disco/psyche project from Andy Meecham, who has been making weirdo dance music since the late eighties (then in acid house Bizarre Inc, later in deep house-leaning Chicken Lips). Space Beyond The Egg, EM’s third album is more song orientated than his previous releases, like Aimee, Tallulah Is Hypnotised or the beyond-essential Vertical Tones And Horizontal Noise series, more experiments in the rhythmic possibilities of a Roland System 100 and a EMS VCS3 than true albums, using analogue synths to turn the more out-there sounds of the 1970s into hypnotic, trance-like works of supreme texture.

But in 2009, the retro-futurism of The Space Beyond The Egg feels a little tired. Not that there’s anything wrong with the album, far from it – the bongo and bleep sounds of Silvercape (pleasingly enough) reference the Clangers more than DJ Mujava and Kananana is a sunny, singalong track. In fact, if there is one theme that ties the sonics tother here, it could be the exploration of afrobeat’s link to the more propulsive kraut sounds, with You Clapper shamelessly mining an electro Jingo. It just doesn’t feel new or particularly exciting, and while this album is full of really, really good songs, and great textures, its arch delivery grates after a while. Actually, maybe I’m being a little churlish, so (7).

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