Sunday Sounds: Machinedrum, the King of Juke/Jungle/Dubstep/IDM Fusion

Berlin Winter Sun
Berlin Winter Sun; image by Paul Sullivan

For some bizarre reason, it’s taken me a long time to get into the amazing music of Machinedrum, aka Travis Stewart.

If you are unaware of him, he is an American dj/producer who has been based in Berlin for the last few years (I believe in Kreuzberg, which is much hipper than Wilmersdorf, where I live), and he makes an absolutely beautiful hybrid electronic music, combining bass-heavy juke and jungle influenced beats with the beautiful melodies and atmospherics more commonly heard in the music of downtempo artists like Boards of Canada or 76:14-era Global Communication. Or you could also say that his music is a bit like Burial’s, except fun to dance to. Thinking about it, what really draws me to his music is that it is in a sense like a hyper-modern update on that old atmospheric jungle sound that I’ve always loved – strong beats, big bass, gorgeous melodies.

Although I have been dimly aware of his music for a while, it wasn’t until I started listen to Om Unit a lot that I decided to also explore Machinedrum’s body of work. I’ve listened to more of Om Unit in the past six months than any other artist, and I’ve been greedily devouring everything I can find by him, because I just can’t get enough of his unique take on slow/fast beats with tons of gorgeous electronics layered over the top. Anyways, Om Unit and Machinedrum did a one-off collaboration last year as Dream Continuum on Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu Records, where they recast old skool hardcore using modern production techniques and juke-influenced beats. Honestly, I loved it, so from there I went on to buy Machinedrum’s latest album, Vapor City, which is amazing, and then I got his previous album, Room(s), which is also amazing, and then I got a bunch more of his stuff, and then, well, here we are.

Obviously, I can’t give a comprehensive overview of his music here, but I can give you a nice little taster, so here are a few of my favorite cuts from his two most recent albums, plus a few freebies and remixes that I also dig.

Machinedrum – Center Your Love (from Vapor City)

Roni Size & Reprazent – New Forms (Machinedrum Jungle Juke Remix)

Machinedrum – Heavy Weight

Machinedrum – Now U Know Tha Deal 4 Real (from Room(s))

Dream Continuum – Set It (from the Reworkz EP)

And if you want almost two hours of undiluted Machinedrum, well, here you go; here’s a really good mix I’ve found on Soundcloud:

(Quick note: This was due to be published last night, but it wasn’t, because our internet was down for like 12 hours … get your shit together, Kabel Deutschland!)