Tuesday, July 15, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Moffenzeef “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” (Already Dead Tapes)

“The Nazis used jamming stations to try to block the reception of Radio Orange and the BBC. A "moffenzeef" (dutch) or 'kraut sieve' was a home-made indoor antenna intended to reduce the effect of Nazi jamming stations.”

                This is how the duo explains what the name means on their Bandcamp page.   I always do find translations of things like this to be interesting because it does some times help to explain the sound.   The thing about Moffenzeef though, is that as interesting of a history lesson that was (You really do learn something new every day), it doesn’t really help you to understand their music here though.

                I would expect something a bit more ambient, minimal and just overall the opposite of what “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” sounds like when I read that description of the meaning behind the artist name.    This is simple beats with sharp beeps.   It has audio clips talking about computers.   It is, as opposed to the history of the name, in a word: futuristic. 

                If the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this music isn’t the collected works of Philip K. Dick then I don’t think we can be friends any more.   At times, something as specific as “Minority Report” shines through, but on the whole this just seems to be a great accompanying piece of music to his vast catalogue of written work, and don’t confuse that with this as being a soundtrack to the films made based on his works.

                When I think of the novels of Philip K. Dick- any of them really- they have that sense of being written about the future, even though they were written in the past so they’re kind of based more closely on the present.    Essentially, when Dick was writing them it was the 1970’s and he was writing them about the future then, thus in many ways, it being somewhere near a half century later, it could be more about the present than the future.  (The Future Is Now, if you will)

                The music crafted by Ross Fish and Matt Akers has that futuristic vibe that I do enjoy ever so much, but it seems to be set in this day and age as well.   It is not as if they are ahead of their per se, though they are definitely not within the same boundaries as other artists right now (They go above and beyond them), but this is almost as if it was transported from the future back to 2014 and played for all to hear.  

                Time continuums and relativity aside, this is something that you can read about on paper (or computer screen) and think you have an idea as to how it might sound, but you really don’t understand because it simply hasn’t been done before.   I imagine someone mixing blue and red together for the first time and trying to explain purple to someone else without being able to show them the color itself. 

                Moffenzeef needs to be experienced to be understood, yet even then you might not fully understand it.   And that’s okay.   Just sit back and enjoy it.    Enjoy it for decades to come.

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