Monday, 2 September 2019

Mind Machine Album "Remix The Machine" Reviewed

Mind Machine are an electronic duo, based in the states and originally formed in 1989. They split in 1995 and reformed in 2016 and released a compilation called "Movement", which featured the very best of their music from 1990-1995.

In February this year, they self released, the very impressive album, "Return To The Machine", read our review of that album here.

The band then reached out to the independent synthpop/electronic music scene, in their quest to put together a remix album, that would feature remixes of tracks that were featured, on "Return To The Machine".

The remixes have been compiled, and now, the band present "Remix The Machine", a stunning 16 track package, with a lot of remixes by regulars on our Radio shows, including, DarwinMCD, Nature Of Wires, Parralox, Fused, Frozen Plasma, The Frixion, Uncreated, People Theatre and Zoon Politicon.

DarwinMCD remix the opening track "We Keep Walking", a fantastic remix that has industrial rhythm sounds that take you back to the Depeche Mode "People Are People" era, wonderful synth sounds give the song a warm makeover, the rhythm aspects are top notch. Nature Of Wires provide the next remix "Enlightened Heart", as you would expect from NOW they give the song an uplift with their trademark pad and synth sounds and strong rhythms, even the Casio VL-Tone Calculator/Synth makes a brief appearance, what I like about this mix is the vocals get a chance to take centre stage, the duo write excellent lyrics, something that probably goes a bit unnoticed.

A remix album wouldn't be the same, without an offering from Parralox, the Australian synthpop band, and what a gem it is, the song "Here And There", is taken to a whole new level, italo disco bass-line, fabulous melodies and sequenced parts, the strong chorus works a treat with this mix, quite possibly the best remix Parralox have ever done, one of the best tracks in this collection, nearly 8 minutes of synthpop heaven, , brilliant!

Surely a major candidate for a single release.

Talking of singles, the Fused remix of "Clouds Of Doubt", was chosen as the lead single off the album and what a wise choice that was, Fused have impressed me greatly with their remix work and are getting more and more requests to remix tracks by other artists, his own releases have been fantastic to, I highly recommend searching out their covers of Depeche Mode's "Dreaming Of me" and "Love In Itself". So to "Clouds Of Doubt", as you would expect this has been given a "Depeche" style makeover, the song is very strong in it's own right (excellent vocals and lyrics again), choosing Fused to remix this particular track is a masterstroke as it is a perfect fit, a big highlight on this album. "The Pain You Feel", remixed by Provision is upbeat and darker but, with stunning sequencer segments, the pad sound they have used adds depth to the track, I love that chugging Bass-Line, another excellent remix, this grows on you the more you listen to it.

Really great to see a track remixed by Frozen Plasma, they lend their remixing skills to the track "Further Than Far" and they have done a mighty fine job too. Lots of nice melodic parts, the drums are superb and it has a more powerful impact than the original version, the melody sound for the middle eight is outstanding, perfect! Add this to the list, under "Impressive Remix".

MDA have remixed "Hundred Thousand Million", a mid paced gem that has been given another "Depeche" sound makeover, I like the sequencers on this mix and the vocals sound strong, the vocal type sound is very effective too, a fascinating remix to listen too as they is a lot going on behind the vocals.

The Frixion have done an amazing job on remixing the instrumental "Return To The Machine", pure pop, warm sound and a superb job done on the structure and the make up of the sound on the track, well done.

The New Division have also remixed the track "We Keep Walking" and they, like DarwinMCD have done an excellent job, this is such an infectious track in it's own right and this remix has kept to a strong pop blueprint, strong bass-line and a catchy melody, again a big thumbs up.

The track "Here And There" receives the remix treatment for a second time on this remix album, this time by Eisfabrik, they give the track more of a dance makeover, which is refreshing, as it is different to the Parralox remix, strong bass-line and the lead into the chorus is exquisitely done, overall this remix has a harder edge to it.

Uncreated have remixed "The Pain You feel" and Patrik has given the mix a Vanguard/Uncreated soundscape, some nice synth touches here and excellent use of sequencers. People Theatre are well known for their remixes on the independent electronic music scene, so I am delighted they have remixed the track "Natural Emotion", this is another that is given the dance treatment, lots of strings against a four to the floor beat, the chorus section is especially "banging! :) Very enjoyable.

Zoon Politicon get to grips with remixing the track "Enlightened Heart" and once again we have a good solid remix, the bass synth is given room to shine and I do like the use of pads, the vocals too, get a chance to shine on this remix, elements of the remix reminded me of The Human League, a dark and haunting remix that again demonstrates the variety of remixes on the album. Excellent!

"Clouds Of Doubt" gets a second remix on this album, this time by Graflex, there is no doubt that this song is the closest to being a Depeche Mode track, a track that I am liking more and more, the vocals have been given an effects makeover, which works a treat, a really warm sound to the vocals, the music backdrop is pure Depeche Mode and that, in my book is a good thing, brilliant again.

The Grey Disorder turn their remixing skills to the song "Further Than Far", fantastic intro, sweep pads, choir sounds, then strings to give the opening segment drama, before the song kicks into synthpop terrortory, strong bass sounds and uptempo rhythm but for me it is the use of synth sounds that grab my attention on this mix, without a doubt, a standout remix.

The album closes with a remix of "A Letter Never Written" by Circuit3, a remix that has a big Vince Clarke influence, fanatstic rhythm section and a "Personal Jesus" bass-line punctuated with wonderful synth parts, the vocals and instrumentation work together perfectly.

It isn't very often you listen to a remix album and fully enjoy it from start to finish but this album has accomplished that, Mind Machine have planned this release carefully and they have definitely pulled a masterstroke in approaching well known artists on the independent electronic music scene to remix their songs, who knows White Lion Radio may have played a part in that factor.

What this album does show, is the songs themselves, are clearly very strong and the remix work has elevated them to an even higher level, my words don't really do justice to how impressive this collection is, so I highly recommend you check this album out, truly, you won't be disappointed.


The Remix album is available from Bandcamp on CD & as a Digital Download:

The original album "Return To The Machine" is also available from Bandcamp on CD & as a Digital Download:

Check out the bands earlier material recorded between 1990-1995 on the compilation "Movement - The Very Best Of Mind Machine 1990-1995)", which is also available on CD and as a Digital Download from Bandcamp:

Mind Machine are also on Facebook:

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