Ruined Machines: Saturn
Ruined Machines is largely the creative force of one man, Joe Kenyon. After the self-release of three very distinct explorations of sound contained largely in the realm of instrumental progressive rock, Ruined Machines partnered with artist Michael Brodka to produce the 12-month experience, Celestial Bodies. Beginning with The Sun and stretching outward into our solar system, each month has brought with it a stunning piece of original art (inspired in part by the zodiac) and an equally stunning musical adventure corresponding with a particular celestial object.
The new year brings us to Saturn, the eighth release in the series so far. With previous entries, Ruined Machines had generally used a combination of digital sounds and live instruments to create its works. On the recent Jupiter the instrumentation was almost completely digital, boasting lush synthesized imagery. With Saturn they took a new direction, using minimal digital production techniques and all live instrumentation. The result, like all of the Celestial Bodies, is something unique and incredibly alluring.
The four track EP starts off with the sinister “Interplanetary Jester.” This short track carries a repeated guitar line over a steadily building rhythm. The sparse attitude of this tune eases us gently into the imminent single, “Phoebe (In a Bubble)”. “Phoebe” is pure exuberance and energy, with a gorgeous guitar line over rich cymbals. The lead, bubbling up in a hollow space, adds greatly to the intense harmony found throughout.
The third track, “Titan” returns to the eerie mood of “Interplanetary Jester”. The opening of this beast crescendos nicely as several guitar lines build alongside the wash of the cymbals. The impending chaos gives way to a chilling moment of ambiance that is carried away beneath an aggressive drum piece that quickens the pace as bizarre shrieks and hums fill the air. This movement in particular reminded me greatly of Pink Floyd‘s “On The Run.”
The closing track, and the shortest on the record at a minute and twenty-two seconds is “Foreign Objects in the Sky.” This lonely piano solo is breathtaking and powerful, ending far too soon but much too late; by the time you know it’s over you’ll want to hear it again. This is truly the feeling of the entire EP, as with most of the Celestial Bodies releases which generally run less than fifteen minutes each.
There are four releases yet to come from this collaboration, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and a mysterious final entry. If this is the first you’ve heard about this amazing series of releases, then I strongly suggest you go back to the beginning and listen to them all before you delve into Saturn. Hearing the series this way you can hear the excellent progression of experimentation and musicianship. If you’ve already heard some or all of the Celestial Bodies, then continue to show your support for Ruined Machines as they journey into the conclusion of this once-in-a-lifetime progressive masterpiece.
MP3: Ruined Machines “Phoebe (In a Bubble)”