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.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.