Binker & Moses: Feeding the Machine

Binker & Moses: Feeding the machine

(Gearbox records)

LP|CD|DL

Released February 25, 2022

Pre-order/buy here

Stronger than Note 4 war bomb

Binker & Moses are reunited. Alongside electronic musician Max Luthert, MM. Golding & Boyd team up again to bring us Feeding The Machine. It is an exciting and intense journey. Gordon Rutherford review for Louder than War.

The Darklands is a spooky fantasy setting in Marlon James’ brilliant novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf. It is a dense forest where one becomes bewitched by spells and evil magic until a point is reached where the lines between reality and dream worlds are completely blurred. The first time I listened to Feeding The Machine, Binker & Moses’ new album, I felt like I had been seduced by The Darklands. Such heady intensity. Such propulsive kinetics.

Binker Golding and Moses Boyd introduced themselves to the world in 2015 with their MOBO Award-winning debut album Dem Ones. This was followed by a second album, Journey To The Mountain Of Forever, in 2017, before the duo made the decision to focus on their own projects. These have been acclaimed, with Boyd’s 2020 album Dark Matter being nominated for the Mercury Prize. Twelve months earlier, Golding had won Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year for his quartet’s album, Abstractions Of Reality Past And Incredible Feathers. The time has now come for them to meet again. However, they absolutely do not retread old ground.

For starters, they introduced a whole new dimension to their work by collaborating with electronic musician and composer Max Luthert. Its haunting loops and incredible ability to distort acoustic sound take Feeding The Machine into whole new territory. There are ambient textures and tapestries of electronica here that weren’t present on the duo’s previous outing. To further increase the sound palette, the presence of the legendary producer Hugh Padgham behind the desk who, with the co-producer of the album Darrel Sheinman, brings a touch of mastery. Taken together, all individuals combine to form a formidable force.

Boyd reportedly said he felt the duo “needed a little more experience under their belts to attempt a record like this”. It’s quite logical, because it’s a collection of such complexity that it’s impossible to think that it could emerge on a first or second album. In many ways, Feeding The Machine reminds me of Bell Orchester’s album, House Music, which came out last year. Binker and Moses went into the studio to record this album with nothing prepared or pre-planned. The recording process had to be extremely experimental and improvised. To demand a level of experience and self-confidence that comes from previous successes is an approach that would be very difficult to apply on a debut album. Regardless of experience, this is an extremely risky approach. There are many things that can go wrong. However, it’s one that has undoubtedly paid off for Binker and Moses here, as the spontaneity of the moment has resulted in a pretty stunning record.

Binker & Moses: Feeding the Machine – album review
Photo: Dan Medhurst

In describing this album, allow me to draw another comparison to 2021. Feeding The Machine shares the same hypnotic and haunting quality as Promises, this tour de force of Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra. It has that same ability to keep you hooked for the duration of the album. The needle drops and you’re immediately spellbound by Luthert’s repetitive four-note loop at the start of the album’s opener, Asynchronous Intervals. Asynchronous. It’s an apt title for those non-simultaneous notes that combine to create an edgy feel. Golding’s saxophone presents itself, soaring celestially and bringing the ambiance of warm summer nights to the heart of the city. Meanwhile, Boyd rolls on his tom-toms. It is a piece that seems frozen in space and time even as it propels itself forward.

Binker and Moses seem to have applied the Ronseal principle when naming their songs on Feeding The Machine. The third track on the album is called Accelerometer Overdose and, like the first track, it describes the action perfectly. An accelerometer is an instrument for measuring the acceleration of a moving body. No wonder it’s an overdose, given the blistering speed of Boyd’s quicksilver paws and Golding’s notes. This particular track, however, takes its time to get to this point. It is a slow burner, which builds gradually and steadily. Luthert expands on the sound by taking Golding’s moaning saxophone parts and looping them. This creates an overwhelming sonic maelstrom, again a vortex from which there is no escaping. But who would?

On Feed Infinite, there’s the joy of hearing Golding’s rich sax tones pierce through the ether while, below, Luthert erupts sonorous synth notes. They combine cleverly. There is a bit of respite when After The Machine Settles kicks off. It starts out as an electronic, glitchy, jittery, distant treat like Burial. If you enter Feeding The Machine at this point, you’ll assume it’s an ambient album. Three minutes later, your mind changes when Binker and Moses enter the room. Golding’s sax is happy and soaring, while Boyd’s attacks the kit with incredible aim.

The album is closer, Because Because, brings even more diversity. It is introduced by a deep baritone sound. I don’t know if it’s Golding on tuba or bassoon or if Luthert is playing tricks on us. The music turns into something dreamy and haunting, featuring an instrument that actually looks like a bagpipe. Halfway through, the track gets intensely frenetic and it feels like the horns are locked in battle, furiously waging war on each other. Towards the end, the warriors collapse from exhaustion. The sound of the baritone is all that remains.

Feeding The Machine is an incredibly intense experience. Like a tornado, this is an album that sucks you deep into its heart and takes you skyward. Sometimes searing and fierce, sometimes thoughtful and reflective, it keeps you on your toes throughout. Binker and Moses are now experienced enough to understand how to play with light and shadow and they use both brilliantly. Much like The Darklands in James’ novel, you will be completely spellbound.

~

Binker & Moses are on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Gearbox Records can be found here. They are also on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

~

All the words of Gordon Rutherford. Other writings by Gordon can be found in his archives.

Gordon is also on Twitter as @R11Gordon and has a website here: https://thedarkflux.com

About Clara Barnard

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