The San Francisco-based The M Machine — created from the remnants of Pance Party — have served up inventive productions since they first appeared in mid-2011 with a mysterious teaser video dubbed “Metropolis.” The group’s latest outing takes their prog-electronica style and extends the ambiance over a 6-track EP that is bursting at the seams with lush soundscapes and chilling vocal cuts. More than just an EP, Metropolis Part II is a concept album at its heart, set in an alternate reality and framed by pragmatic art direction and the group’s digital liner notes. While many producer’s create tracks solely for the dancefloor, The M Machine takes the more cerebral approach, developing a narrative through synthetic distortion.
Opening the album with a prog-rock guitar solo and cascades of white noise, “The Palace” paints a bleak vision of The M Machine’s sonic odyssey, accentuated by Blake Hazard’s banshee-like wails and dub-heavy melodies. Pennyrabbit lends her vocals to “Ghosts in the Machine,” unfurled amidst a frenetic bass line and high-pitched synth stabs. “Tiny Anthem” slows the tempo down and delivers a symphony awash in white noise and robotic horn sections while “Moon Song” taunts listeners with a soothing intro supplanted by a murderous barrage of acid synths and driving percussion. Rounding out the album with “Schadenfreude” and “Luma” bring the concept full circle, closing out the 6 track EP with “Schadenfreude’s” driving progressive aesthetic and “Luma’s” 9-minute journey through a variety of sonic palettes before closing with an angelic choral line and cascading arpeggios.