New York City-based six-member group diNMachine has created a sound it refers to as “dance-rock”—but I’m not quite sure that’s a category that defines the band’s work well. It would be perhaps more appropriate to file them under “modern experimental dance-rock” at the very least. But if we go into more specifics in an attempt to capture it all, the genre we would come up with would be quite the mouthful, so let’s leave it at that.
The six-track album The Opposites of Unity is a blend of countless styles that at times seem to have been mashed together by someone with a very short attention span—if any at times. DiNMachine’s work will definitely challenge listeners in what they define as “music”.
All the songs are built on some sort of very thin auditory backbone on which a mish-mash of different instruments and sounds added to it. There seems to be, as the title implies, no unity within each track nor between each of them. Listeners are pulled all over the place, as if we are parents walking in the middle of a very busy urban street, one hand holding that of one of our childrens’, being pulled this way and that way as their attention is captured by the innumerable details of city life.
A crazy walk down a busy urban street is actually the image that consistently comes to mind when listening to “eWAFT”. Just like the different taste of one city block after the other, different sections of the track—sometimes only seconds apart—have distinct auditory tastes that make each unique. It is, in a way, the aural version of a walk. It tells the story of weaving in and out of the crowd, pausing at lights, sudden necessary movements to avoid colliding with something or someone, the few running steps you have to take to make it safely across the street or the hop across a muddy puddle.
If “eWAFT” is a walk through the city, “Jabbrwawky” could be considered a drive through a less dense part of the city that remains, however, just as active. The very familiar-sounding, classic, old school hip-hop rhythm it is built on is the ride. Various instruments contribute the equivalent of aural polka dots. The “Jabbrwawky” feels chaotic at times—we can still hit a traffic snafu in this area of town—but is overall surprisingly structures, more so than the other numbers on The Opposites of Unity. The things we witness on this “drive” including honking cars, indistinct chatter, billiard balls colliding, ice being twirled around in a glass, and a ping pong ball going back and forth between two paddles and the table.
Continuing with the same kind of imagery in mind, “Give and Go” could be the part of your day when you have parked your car and stepped into a sports arena to watch a game. Carried on a pretty straightforward melody played on an electronic keyboard, the number includes sounds of a game played on an inside court. Sounds range from the squeaking of tennis shoes on the waxed court, the calls of the coach watching from the sideline, the conversations held by onlookers, and (of course) the sound of the whistle. Although there was no auditory trace of a ball being bounced up and down, the frequency and rhythm of the shoe squeaks reminded me of a basketball game.
One can feel quite energized after watching a good game—and in “Dbl Trbl”, this energy comes pouring out. One of its layers has an elevator music mood that contrasts with the electric guitar jamming, creating something of a Latin vibe. There is something about yet another one of the elements of the tune that reminds of me of the soundtrack to 8-bit games, and a variety of percussion peppered throughout. But one can only go one for so long though before crashing.
“Brise” seems to tell the story of a quiet dinner party on a beach. It starts with the sound of deep breathing and gentle waves lapping a beach, joined by the rhythmic tinkling sound of cutlery on glasses, as if those gathered for dinner starting playing music with the service.
No doubt there are many interpretations to the crazy sounds and fluctuations in The Opposites of Unity. It is an album that is definitely worth a couple of listens just for the experience, although I don’t know if many would consider this as a permanent addition to their regular library of music. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about the band is available on their official website as well as on their Facebook page.