Along with Wesseltoft/Schwartz’s epic collaboration album Duo, the new Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble LP, Mr. Machine completely epitomises everything I love about electronica infused jazz. By deconstructing what we understand as, in this case, tech house music to its constituent elements, it can be understood what produces a great dance track. The real genius with Mr. Machine is how the music is put back together again. Drum machines, samplers and synths are replaced by traditional classical instruments – Acoustic drums, grand piano and strings are used to create a form of live dance music that is almost beyond genre classification. This isn’t a jazz record, it isn’t a techy house record and its far too upbeat to be considered along future classical artists such as Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and the like.
The album bears some similarities to Anders Trentemoller’s astonishingly brilliant debut album The Last Resort, a multi layered and absorbing exploration of downtempo minimalist techno lounge electronica, as well as the aforementioned Bugge Wesseltoft/Henrik Schwarz collaboration of jazz and techno – in so much as a lot of the album is heavily reliant upon piano. Mr. Machine however, is quite a different beast altogether – a strange and alluring mix of the organic and the mechanical, as the name would suggest. A piece of music that, when performed live, would be equally understandable in the formal concert hall or at a late night Berlin techno party.