State of Mind is the perfect name for the group that does Automata, the latest from Eatbrain and Viper Records. The guest mixes are amazing and this EP has everything from colossal battle music to electronic dreams of grape juice and obscure television. I don’t want to keep you too long on the introduction because this is a long review, so let me just say I am only covering four of the six tracks here so you have something to look forward to on your own! Hope you can keep up. Let’s do this.
The opening to “Giant” sounds like a miniature train chugging along as a full-scale airplane flies above it. There’s some tension building synthetics as our train begins to sound more like a ticking clock as it fades into muffled vocals saying, “there is a giant.” I am reminded of the CNN broadcasts where a helicopter flies over an area that’s just been hit by a disaster and the vocals are our eyes in the sky showing us the train that just derailed due to a huge monster attack. Right after the first “giant” we get some heavy bass and synthetics that mimic screaming and screeching cars laid on top of a heavy electronic dance beat. The first drop goes back to an EDM feel with some scaled synthetics before the drums come back in full force, and there again is our “giant.” It’s like watching Cloverfield and an action film starring Jason Statham as our monster ravages our ears and Jason Statham just keeps on driving his car into wreckage and it’s all shot in found footage. The echoed word “fight” near the end really brings things home as I can see C4 explosions and even a Matthew Broderick cameo as he finds eggs in an ice skating rink. Totally obscure references I know, but hey, that’s what you read my reviews for, right?
Aha! I caught you, Maztek and State of Mind! You watch BBC Two! The third track, “Back from the Edge,” uses the opening line from season two of the show The Fall: “"Nothing can pull you back from the edge. Not laws, threats of punishment, morality. Religion. Fear of death. All of those things are as meaningless as the life you are about to extinguish." The opening to this track is laid back with a very light cymbal and synthetic reverberation before laying right into a whispering of that above quote. After that we get some Street Fighter-esque 8-bit theme music and bass drum, and the pressure begins to build before jumping right into some heavy machine synthetics and snare drums. Keeping in mind our theme about The Fall, the track builds a strong sense of pressure and then, just before you reach the apex, it pulls you back from the edge. There’s a sense of rebellion against the societal norms and nothing can stop the lust this song seeks: the lust to hit that dance floor hard, dancing till you drop, breaking down the walls, and embracing the life you have until it is snuffed out. Such a nihilstic approach deserves a chance to be heard! Luckily E Honda and Guile are fighting in the next room and one of them is sure to hit the other one through a wall into the next stage.
Okay, now I know I’m a nerd. I listened to track five, “Leapfrog,” and heard the awesome synthetic waves and heavy bass, but to me that isn’t what stood out the most; what stood out was the opening keyboard with the high octave “duh-duh-duh-duh” of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The entire opening I kept imagining Jean Luc Picard saying, “These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.” And it’s subtle, but it’s there. Under the bass, under the squealching, you’ll hear it. Just before the vocals remind you that you’re a motherfucker. I mean, seriously, that was a moment of, “What the hell? I was enjoying Star Trek! You mother -!“ Oh, wait, now I get it. Jump off my back and then I jump off yours and we continue down this string of obscenities as the passionate opening of a brilliant show is broken down by waves of synthetic beating, squealching, and dancing rave hipsters. Wait, what would you call a hipster who focuses on the 90s rave scenes more than vinyl records? A poser? And as I ask this question the vocals say, “Fuck you.” And the song is over. This one will get your blood boiling and your mind thinking as you hit the dance floor. Warf might actually like this one. Can’t you see that? Data and Warf jamming out to this while Jean Luc sheds a single tear from the balcony seats? I can, and it’s glorious.
If Willy Wonka was an old man who owned a juicing factory instead of a chocolate factory, and Tim Burton still directed the film, I’m sure his grape juice machine would sound something like “Grape Juice” from State of Mind and guests Mindscape & Jade. A lingering keyboard note and some quick maraca sounding beat opens up to a children’s show for making juice as the “scientist” begins to explain how much you might get with just the right number of ounces of grapes. It’s delicious I hear. Then BAM! One of the kids leans on the wrong lever and the machine begins to scream like a broken air horn and the gears begin to turn out sick bass drops. And of course, since this is the Tim Burton version, the grape juice is probably rancid and the kids begin to go on a bad trip and hallucinate, so our quick-paced bass drums and occasional squealching sound like a living giant mechanical grape crushing machine chasing the even faster snare drum of children running. Every so often someone will jump and there will be a trill of vibrating synths like a slow motion segment of the film. The big drop comes near the end of the song as we get a drawn out organ note over the sound of the alarm system and some computer sounds. “Let me help,” says the voice of the scientist just before the next wave of juice pours over him like blood from gaping wound inside the machine. The children scream as the credits close with the machine running at the screen. The end.
Yeah, I admit it, I was all over the place with this one, and I didn’t even review the entire thing! Imagine what insanity still lay in the untold folds of… Screw it. Just go listen to it! It’s awesome and you know you want to, so why are you still here? Don’t just take my word for it, go hear it for yourself. It’s out now. Trust me. Go. Stop reading. Stop it!
State of Mind and Eatbrain present Automata only from Viper Records. Pick up here!
State of Mind