Kontakte: These Machines

The London-based quartet get tough.

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Fans of Kontakte’s previous two albums will notice something of a change in direction here.

Opening track Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burst Into Flames begins familiarly enough, adding layers to a deliberate guitar riff, but it eventually boils into a monstrous epic built around a two-note bassline and great plumes of fuzz. It’s a scintillating entrée to a heavier and more corrosive new sound, highlighted by the record’s other extended effort, Immortal Engines. This one starts off all warm and frisky, before lowering the temperature and settling into a drone worthy of Sunn O))). Not that Kontakte have abandoned their creative impulses. Led by bassist/keyboardist Ian Griffiths and lead guitarist Stuart Low, their output has always been a deft balance of electronica and instrumental noise. Nuclear Winter and All Watched Over – lovely ambient pieces both – show off their sensitive side, while Alpha Beta Gamma Delta even attempts to sidle towards the dancefloor with a bubbling rhythm and repeated mantra that brings to mind Fujiya & Miyagi. Elsewhere on this utterly engrossing album, they conjure moods like the bastard spawn of Autechre and My Bloody Valentine.