Enough Records, 2014
Review by Kent Manthie
The latest release from Azureflux, Mean Machine, is a 5-song EP, which starts off with the intense, frenetic, epileptic “Wizard House”, goes next, right into “Graveyard Shift”, “Beastmode”, “Reckless” and finally, the last cut is actually Azureflux’s remix of The Prodigy’s “Wake the Fuck Up”.
The theme of Mean Machine seems to be a video game soundtrack, complete with the sound effects of what sounds like a ray-gun being fired and blasting the video game “enemy”. I don’t say that as a negative thing: the fact that it’s a perfect background to a futuristic video game with intensity and excitement is a lot better than a typical bubblegum pop song you’d hear on a “STAR” top 40 radio station.
It’s sometimes hard to tell where the seriousness tapers off and the fantasy humor begins. At only 14 minutes it’s a small record. But I do hear potential throughout these numbers: as they do a remix of a Prodigy tune at the end, I can see that taking other electronica tunes and adding their own spin to it, with a few zips, zaps and buzzes, they seem like a good “go-to” outfit for reformatting versions of club favorites. For example: “Wake the Fuck Up” takes a typical hardcore electronica, British techno tune, in this case a Prodigy song and, well, if you’re a big Prodigy fan, you’ll know the song of which I speak. Plus you’ll also know the super bad-ass thumping bass and whiplash frenzy they’re known for cooking up. Azureflux’s remix of “Wake the Fuck Up” is kind of like seeing The Prodigy performing this, say, on stage or, more aptly, in the studio and, with some kind of sci-fi magic, “zapping” Liam Howlett, shrinking him down and inserting him into a fast-paced, future-war-style video game and, while not changing the initial song, breaking it up into pixelated colors: yellows, reds, oranges, greens and purples – music which is moved up the spectrum into a wavelength of visible colors, yet, in a sort of lysergic way, still retaining the sonic quality, only reshaping it to fit perfectly with the blizzard of action going on – rockets coming at you, having to blast them before they get you first, moving up, down and around – going forward, linearly, but now and then dropping down (or bouncing up) to grab a “bonus” object.
The music itself is infectious, laden with layers of computerized bytes of digitized sonic datastreams. I’ve not heard anything quite like Mean Machine, outside a video game. But I’ve only heard this small sampling of their music; now I want to hear what they have planned next – some remixes? Original work? I do hope they can expand a little more and not have a duplicate follow-up. That just would not work. The sound, as I wrote, is intense, computerized, as if glazed eyeballs were staring at a computer screen, unblinking, keeping up with the fast-paced environment of gaming.
Using a computer as an instrument and not just a tool can bring the promise of almost infinite possibilities of pre-programmed a beat-and-sound sensation, only limited by the creativity of the person who shapes and molds it. -KM.