MachineCode: the two headed tech machine unleashed from the minds of Current Value and Dean Rodell. Considering both men have solo careers, it’s a pretty prolific machine too… They’re about to drop their fifth album since in seven years. And it’s a conceptual beast.
Coming our way via Eatbrain and entitled Mechtropolis, the album’s theme and narrative pitches us in a recognisable world not so far from the relative future where the machine mind has finally reached the stage where it has learnt enough about humans and has the right resources to takeover from its fleshy creators (AKA humans)
Not just a bleak sci-fi concept, Mechtropolis showcases their broadest, boldest range of sounds to date, too. We caught up with Current Value (or Tim to his friends and humanoid well-wishers) and Dean to find out more. Get to know…
We last featured you both almost exactly a year ago… Was Mechtropolis even in the pipeline when we spoke?
Tim: It might not have been as such by name, but we were definitely working on tunes for it at the time.
Dean: We were talking about it with Jade at the time for sure! I believe a few of the ideas that were bouncing around when we last spoke made it on to Mechtropolis.
Is MachineCode still a Wednesday project followed by curry? And do the curries vary the deeper you get into the album process?
Tim: Wednesdays changed as I’m in Poland for longer periods so we do the work over the internet or when we are both in Berlin. The curries never vary – we have our favourite curry each. Sometimes we even treat ourselves to watching a film after the work is done and if time allows… Rock n roll eh?
Dean: It’s always something along a fiery madras if one can… But unfortunately in Berlin the curry is never very spicy to say the least.
Diversity is a key theme for Mechtropolis, right?
Tim: For an album it is necessary to show a wider range of what you are doing and in the case of Machine Code be able to give dignity to both producers direction and vibe.
Dean: Like Tim said really, it’s pretty important that an album shows a diversity of what a project is about and not a collection of singles. I think this is something we have both always found important on albums and I believe we have carried that through on most.
Perhaps some influences that have helped to create this rich variety might shed some light here. Significant sounds you’ve heard, releases you’ve made, moments in your lives, the political climate even…
Tim: Our work is never political. That would be an awful limitation to musical expression itself. It is more the influence of others music or sounds you hear that inspires us. We watched the film It Follows, which really inspired us in terms of its music.
There’s also a distinct sci-fi tone and a narrative here – does that become apparent as the album develops? Or do you establish the theme and direction from the off as a framework to work within?
Tim: I think when the idea of doing an album took shape it gave us a bit more freedom to be more narrative and thematic in our tracks. I also think it is Dean’s love for prog rock that led to the hymn character here and there. Themes developed while working on the individual track – it’s something “we hear” while the music plays.
Dean: That sci-fi narrative I believe will always manifest itself within MachineCode one way or another. I’m sure if we did a banjo based track it still would find a way of being there. We don’t really work on anything with a framework as such. Themes and directions build naturally between us and the project. As soon as you start saying it has to fit a theme then you might discard something that is on the money just because it doesn’t fit exactly what your ideal of the framework is.
Where in the cosmos is this Mechtropolis?
Tim: It is located in the middle world planetary system, that still strongly communicates with earth and understands its language.
What year? And is there anything we can do to prevent such a bleak future happening to mankind?
Tim: It might be a thousand years in the future maybe less but it’s an inevitable future, we think.
Dean: Predicting a date on Mechtropolis is a tough one but I feel we are closer to that dystopian landscape than we are from some sort of utopian ideal.
What’s the bleakest, most on-point, scarily accurate sci-fi you’ve ever seen or read? (Mine is Farenheit 451) And could it be argued – or at least hypothisized – that technical electronic music is the new sci-fi?
Dean: Farenheit 451 is spot on. There are a lot of classic sci-fi novels that have shaped the movie world and composers alike. For me The Road by Cormac McCarthy is pretty darn bleak . A father and his son in a post-apocalyptic world with no hope whatsoever, but they still carry on and exist knowing that it’s futile. I’m not sure whether or not that technical electronic is the new sci-fi or not. It definitely fits the bill better than some of the mainstream sci-fi that is out there. Still, if it’s predictive sci-fi, such as post-apocalyptic sci-fi – I think the composers in the 70s probably nailed it best.
Finally… You make tough music that takes time to penetrate and understand. Please counter that by showing us a vulnerable side and sharing your deepest innermost fear.
Tim: My innermost fear (if it appears) is the loss of love.
Dean: Mine is not as soulful. Tim choking on stringy mozzarella puts the fear of gods in me!