Man In The Machine

Bow

Independent release, 2012

http://bow-music.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/03/2012

Chris Van Der Linden is a guy who has his hands in many pots. This Dutch drummer formed a solo art-rock project called Fourteen Twentysix in 2006 that has now metamorphosized into a full-fledged band, which he is the vocalist for. The music of the band can be characterized as goth-rock, like A Perfect Circle in a mellow mood and with more electronic sounds thrown into the mix. After the band released its latest full-length, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 In Halflight Our Soul Grows, earlier this year, Van Der Linden immediately embarked on a new project, Bow.

Released in September 2012, Bow’s debut Man In The Machine is fully crowd funded. Although it does sound like a sibling of Fourteen Twentysix, it is an instrumental album. As Van Der Linden expresses in the video on his page on the Pledge Music website: this is an album about the dilemma of whether it is better to be a man, have a soul, but not know one’s purpose in life; or to be a machine, have a purpose in life, but have no soul. The music is very cinematic (in a science fiction sort of way), but never attempts to be over-the-top dramatic. It is surely dark and brooding, but is surprisingly not heavy; the 45 minutes fly by fairly quickly and entertainingly.

Even though the concept of this album seems deep and philosophic, the music thankfully isn’t so; except, however, for the tracks with spoken words, which try to give a profound narrative to the story but aren’t really of any effect. Fortunately, the spoken-words are not for the most part forced onto the music of any track, but are mainly short separate tracks on their own, and there aren’t many of them.

The makeup of Man In The Machine is similar to the instrumentation on a lot of Nine Inch Nails music. The rhythm of the drumming, the suffocating ambient sound, and most importantly, the inclusion of real instruments like the harp and the violin lurking behind the synthetic electronic texture of the music all come together to give the music its unique, ominous effect. The music arrangement, too, is equally as complex and sounds nearly as sophisticated as any work by Trent Reznor. Man In The Machine will make for an impressive soundtrack for any science fiction fan; just pick your fantasy.

Rating: A-

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