CD REVIEW: The Beach Machine - Companion
By Ben Ohmart - 06/25/2001 - 08:03 PM EDT
Artist: The Beach Machine
This is not commercial music. Which validates it. Neither should it be generally termed Experimental, as that’s come to denote an eclectic car wash thru which too many no-talents seem to scrub. The Beach Machine’s method of operation is tuneful, playful, and strictly novel. In both senses of the word. It’s refreshing, yet at the same time it would obviously take a good 300 pages of text to explain what you’re hearing and the story behind each separate character.
Every song is indeed its own character, full of odd features, odors, and completely dissimilar addresses. In some of these 24 tracks and over 70 minutes, it’s possible there is heartbreak, in others there is a wisp of intelligence focused on things from another planet. I don’t know. I have a distinct challenge in figuring out the lyrics, so I won’t. But I can understand the pain of ‘Go To School,’ the heartbeat-cum-record skip beat of ‘Over,’ the home demo/bass attraction of ‘Velocity,’ and maybe whatever’s going on in the noise-induced, opening ‘TV Weekend Sauce.’
As you can guess, 24 divided into 73 doesn’t make any song very long, but they serve their purpose. Like some vast and frantic rock opera (not pop, like Tommy, etc.), you get the feeling that there is a textural, warped consciousness floating through the fighting, slovenly bashful baselines of ‘Concrete.’ And you notice a definite Mothers of Invention grinding from the main guitar of ‘Balance Is My Time.’ Much like the Freak Out album, only with deeper satire, if indeed this is meant for smiles. I don’t know about you, but I prefer it when the joke isn’t in your face. Let ME decide whether or not to laugh.
The band, I believe, is a collaboration between two guys called Playamaqui and Lazaro, a marriage between loops, guitars, and 400 pieces of 90 second songs that boast no drum tracks nor anything as crass as a direct steal. In a world where everything’s already been done, these guys reinvent. And the mechanism often works better afterward. Gotta hear it to believe. Check it!
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