Master Control - Master Control

Year of Release: 2002
Label: self-released/High Speed Athena
Catalog Number: HAS2002001
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

While I like some techno, it can, at times, get annoying. Either it's too dry, too repetitive, too dull, what have you. Well, Master Control is annoying for another reason ? the cyber vocals. Yes, it's all part of the concept, but? well, imagine, if you will, the following ? which is not the concept here, but will give some of you a visual: You have been traveling through space, part of a rag tag fleet of militaristic refugees. You are looking for where your 13th tribe has gotten to, thinking they found a paradise far from the evil tyranny you're escaping. During your travels, you encounter a number of adventures, Orion space pirates, for example; diplomats that look like Fred Astaire, and so forth. And yet, in a tale heretofore untold, you find yourself having crash landed (an oxymoron if there was one) on planet where a rogue band of warriors, ensconced in bulky silver suits have also landed. But no, they are not warriors, you discover, as they are singing. Yes, singing! If you could call it that. It is the Cylon Barbershop Quartet! (The reference, for those not up on sci-fi TV, is to [the original] Battlestar Galactica). Well, not on every track, some are instrumentals and some have a tone deeper than the Cylons.

Now then, the concept here behind this release is thus: "the fall of American culture and the consequences of media, the digital revolution, and 21st century capitalism." The claim, made by the entity Master Control, is that the music combines "old school hip-hop ? classic rock and new wave blended with the methods of modern electronic production." The latter of these I won't quibble with ? it's all electronic.

The instrumental tracks work the best for me, such as the slowly evolving "Water Into Wine." Having said that, "Mercury Pop" seems a little whiney. I heard hints of Gary Numan's "Cars" (in some of the synth work) and a bit of 80s pop hit "Funky Town" by Lipps, Inc. if I recall correctly. "Megamachine Rebellion/Probe 1," brings in again a Numan-esque feel. This helped by just a little bit of warmth injected into the proceedings by the melodic synth washes, even while other synths emit chilly phrases. It has just a hint of Devo-ness to it, too. Actually, the best of the vocal tracks, and maybe even the best over all. The latter part, the "Probe 1," features laser-like synth effects crossing and strobing in and out of view (the probe's sweeping sensors, maybe) while a fierce digital wind blows? well, it must not be in space but somewhere in the atmosphere. The spacey keyboard passages of "Three Stripes And You're Funky" are pretty neat, but again, featuring vocals (here vocalizations rather than words, or so it seems) just take away from it for me.

Of the remaining instrumentals, I'd say "Enter The Champion" is what might result if Tangerine Dream got their funk on, though MC doesn't quite have the talent of TD, as evident by the oddly balanced mix at times. Given the exhortations on "Message From The Man" (who is not a Cylon), there is some of the hip-hop attitude, while we hear bells chiming (for whom the bells toll, perhaps? The death knell of?American culture, maybe?). The Cylons come on the scene with "Electric MC" which will take you back to dance era of the 80s? so yes, "new wave" is also true ? "Disengage" would be the example here, which isn't quite as annoying though the high pitched synth effects are little shrill to my ears. This gets as close to progressive something as some of the new wave groups did? poking at a few of the boundaries.

"Urban Decay" has some possibly unintended humour with a tiny voice squeaking "let me out, let me out" beneath this deep, booming digitized voice singing the main lyrics. The scratching did, for a moment, make me think of Herbie Hancock's crossover hit "Rock-It." That isn't by any means the only track with that kind of scratching, I just don't listen to hip-hop and rap, so? that's my point of reference.

Master Control has some interesting musical ideas, but would have done better, I think, to have left off the vocals. Much can be expressed in instrumentation, especially when one trying to represent a bleak, dehumanized landscape. The digitized vocals only make the message overstated. Or maybe it's just that they don't work for me; I didn't much care to hear the Cylons speak when watching Galactica, either, to be honest.

Despite a few moments here and there that I liked, this isn't something I'd listen to often, if at all again. Just doesn't work for me, though points go to MC for keeping within his concept, as I'll grant that the treated vocals on a sonic level to do support the concept.

Enter The Champion / Message From The Man / Electric MC / Disengage / Water Into Wine / Urban Decay / Mercury Pop / Radiovision Sin / Shock Box / Ensoul / Megamachine Rebellion/Probe 1 / The Assassinator / Three Stripes And You're Funky

Master Control ? all sorts of electronica

Master Control (2002)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: April 6th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 732
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]