Music Reviews

Fantastic Plastic Machine


Emperor Norton

Fantastic Plastic Machine is just so damn good that it’s kind of ridiculous. Normally known for its smart mixture of dance-favored electronic beats and all kinds of time signatures and orchestrations, Beautiful takes the resourceful turntable a step further. This time, heading up the breakbeats and house grooves is an eclectic assembly of genres and styles from lounge to soul, fronted by voices from Barry White-ish spoken word to snappy jazz crooning. Thick basslines, snappy horn sections, and the ever-infectious violins are present throughout, all of which combine with guest vocalists to produce a club atmosphere where martinis and leopard print are more than welcome.

Beautiful takes its time both in layering and tempo, and the music produced is far more than just dazzlingly exciting and intricate • it’s intelligent. In the past two albums, Fantastic Plastic Machine proved that it knows how to work sounds from fresh instrumentation to vinyl samplings, and none of the mastery has been lost on the inclusion of lyrics. The vocal patterns are fresh and are included in such a way that they don•t dominate the music, but instead really just manage to add another versatile layer of sound. There isn’t a single thing dragging or lacking on this album. It’s Fantastic Plastic Machine at its best and, if you’ve heard any of the genius past material from this musical pioneer, that’s saying a lot.

Emperor Norton, 102 Robinson St., Los Angeles, CA 90026;

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