I have been a long time fan of the music of Travis Stewart who is most commonly known as MachineDrum. He and I have crossed paths a few times in the past but in the time since I last spent any time with him he has since moved his way up the electronic music food chain and now seems to constantly be on the road moving forward and upward. Years ago I remember talking to him about how so many electronic musicians at the time were simply treading water, following trends and that it felt like the genre in general felt a bit lost. He then mentioned that he just wanted to make the music he wanted to make, despite what others were doing at the time. From what I know, he has always looked to push his own abilities and has never been anything but humble about it along the way. Musically he has had a long winding history within electronic music, from his roots in IDM fused hip-hop to his more recent ventures into footwork/juke and darker early dub step influenced tracks as one half of Sepalcure.
I have to admit his last album Rooms was easily my favorite new album for at least two years running and now sits among my favorite LP’s. With Rooms he accomplished something many electronic musicians don’t do nearly enough these days, he takes chances, and in doing so creates music that helps move ideas forward rather than rest in a holding pattern with the copy cat producers of the world trying to keep up with what is popular at the moment. It was a near perfect collection of songs with a lighthearted depth that gave it a timeless appeal. I could easily see myself coming back to it 10 years from now and enjoy it just as much.
At any rate, Travis recently signed to NinjaTune, home to a long history of amazing music and I am excited to see where he goes next. The record photographed here is the first single from his upcoming album which is a conceptual affair where each track takes place in different districts of an imagined city. Eyesdontlie and its b-side Body Touch have been stuck in my head all too many times since their release. He’s taken an approach that feels more simplified on the surface than his work in Rooms yet it is sharply focused on layered rhythms and melodies that carry you weightlessly through the tracks.
While he seems to be taking a safer approach with this release I still see that same inventive character that has managed to break through what most producers these days are releasing. If I were you I would keep an eye out for Vapor City at the end of September, if you are a fan of electronic music it’s not something you will want to pass up.