CD, Hive Records, 2004
After the release of his material on the net-label/collective Laridae, Austrian electronica musician Herwig Hotzman (a.k.a. Photophob) released his third full length-album, “Your Majesty Machine”, on Hive Records. A very solid and talented piece of work that can be said to be a box full of (pleasant) surprises. Not only did I find it to be strangely addictive but that it becomes even more beautiful and compelling with (excessive) repeated listening.
Hearing this album with some attention, one would be hard-pressed into not believing that machines can have souls. Despite the cold and robotic music, “Your Majesty Machine” is one of the most optimistic and human-feeling albums I’ve listened to in recent times, and certainly the most romantic as well. There is a story being told in this album and the ending is a happy one (for a change).
The work of a very talented and ingenious musician, the music in “Your Majesty Machine” is very interesting, consisting of master-crafted arrangements of glitch, broken rhythms and melodic works. Fractured into small pieces, the base blocks for the music are skillfully and precisely assembled into extremely complex layered structures that not only are greater than the sum of the parts but which are even more interesting and beautiful because of the complexity. This complexity and skill is a constant throughout the whole album a further confirmation of Herwig Holzman’s talent.
Photophob’s music in this album could be referred to as “chill-out” but that would be an injustice to it. Calm and intimate, “Your Majesty Machine” is not particularly geared towards the dance-floor, especially the usual stompy-stomp/booty-shaking one. However, some tracks could be adequate for a close dance à deux… not unlike some kind of futuristic mechanical waltz if you wish.
Among a collection of awesome tracks, pieces like “In the Hands of the Space Pirates”, “Nav Patrol”, “Brain at -273.14ºC” succeeded in grabbing my attention and causing a serious impression on the first listen alone, which is not a mean feat in and of itself. A couple of tracks, like “Nomad’s Theme”, seemingly simple and almost “formal” in their structure, are vaguely reminiscent of traditional Japanese music (without vocalizations) while “Hired Hunter (Killbot)” is perhaps one of the most descriptive pieces of music I’ve listened to.
Something tells me that Asimov would’ve enjoyed this album…
— Miguel de Sousa