A New Machine for Living by Turing Machine (Review)

This is the wonderful sound of a rock band that sounds like a machine you’re afraid to get close to for fear your shirt might catch in the gears and your arms will get ripped off.
A New Machine for Living - Turing Machine

Rising up out of the ashes of Pitchblende, the relative obscurity of Doldrums, and er… ESPN the Magazine (subscribers to the VHF Records List-O-Minutiae will find out that bassist Scott DeSimon has quite a cool day job), comes Turing Machine, a three piece band out of Brooklyn, NYC.

I knew of Turing Machine because I’m a fan of Doldrums, but even so, I wasn’t burning a path to a record store to go find this record. No, I had to have punk and hardcore kids at work blast “Rock Pants On [Got My]” at work over and over and over, before my droning ass got the idea that regardless of background, this is one helluva rawk band. Catchy song title aside, this is probably the most memorable instrumental I’ve heard in quite some time. You WILL hum the lead guitar line before it’s all [not] said and done.

“Math rock” pops up as a possible easy stylistic reference point, but that would bring up nasty memories of the ubiquitous local outfit in every town who’ve discovered chromatic chords and odd time signatures. Brrr… no thanks. Turing Machine manages to sound quite unlike any of those bands, and yet still display a mastery on each of their individual instruments that evidences control and precision the likes of which Don Caballero and Polvo aspire to (and that Pitchblende also did quite well).

So… there’s proficiency, but there’s also texture and melody. This is the wonderful sound of a rock band that sounds like a machine you’re afraid to get close to for fear your shirt might catch in the gears and your arms will get ripped off. The sounds are that visceral. Out of clouds of static finger-picked droning chords come super quick rolls of drums and distorted bass that realize the potential of a form of rock and roll utterly tainted by jazz, minimalism, and an addiction to red red dissonance. “Robotronic” has a man-eating bass sound the likes of which me’s not heard since Big Black’s live “Pigpile” masterpiece.

I’m not sure who the reference should be attributed to, but “a machine for living” was one famous architect’s description of a house. Turing Machine may not be something you could live in every day, but they’d be a nice house to get your tail kicked in. Go see the live show. They rock, they spazz, they sweat, you’ll laugh, you’ll probably not cry, but if you do, there’s probably going to be plenty of emo kids there so you won’t be alone.

Written by Pearson Greer.