Title: Forecasting The Future
Artist: Vortex Mechanic
Release Date: 2014 Sept 22
License: CC BY-SA
Label: United Studios Corporation (USC)
I thought I was going to skip this release. But I started re-listening to it in my car last week and realized it would be a disservice not writing about it. When Vortex Mechanic forecasts the future, you might want to take notice. It’s well worth the time.
Vortex Mechanic Forecasts The Future
So, what we are dealing with on this release isn’t an actual traditional forecast. This is really Vortex Mechanic’s way of looking at the once futuristic technologies in science fiction that are now part of our daily lives. The primary example is the things that have come from 1960’s Star Trek: tablet computers, communicators (cell phones), hand-held sensor devices (also cellphones). There are also tons of technologies that have come out of Star Wars, Star Trek: the Next Generation, and other science fiction novels and movies that are definitely in play today (like the internet).
In looking at today’s technology from a past perspective, Vortex Mechanic has started from one of the mainstays of 1960’s Berlin School electronic music: the sequencer. All of the tracks on this release are built around really solid sequences. Unlike the 1960’s, however, he hasn’t just stuck with purely analog instruments or patches. He has upgraded the sound to current digital effects in many cases, so as the acoustic drums on ‘Imminent Atlantis’.
There is a debate to be had about these technologies in today’s world. It’s a debate that I have been involved with for a long time. However, the central core of Vortex Mechanic’s thesis is correct. When we were young there were quite a few technologies that were fictional. Today, we can see that many of these fictional concepts have actually come to life.
For the most part, Vortex Mechanic’s take seems positive. There is some strident or rough edges, but the music is predominantly positive. In a way, I think he has tapped into the overall consensus of the public. There is little awareness of the potential negative sides of advanced technology, and almost no critical examination of technology. It is just accepted as positive. I feel like Vortex Mechanice, and the general public, miss the issues of privacy, crime, and other effects that it has on our social environment.
Another side to this music is that he has infused it with modern ambient and psy-bient elements. Some tracks have a real drive to them that couldn’t have been achieved in the past. These choices are excellent. As I’ve noted before about the artists on USC: they have a tendency to bridge the gap between Berlin School electronic music, and contemporary Electronica.
This is a release that really stands up to repeated listening sessions. I’ve listening to it in my car for nearly a week now, only occasionally switching to another release when I feel the need to work on other reviews.
Did I say this was an excellent release? If not, I’ll say it now: this is an excellent release. If you are into Berlin School electronic music, but fancy having the ideas refreshed with a few modern touches this is a release you will find rewarding. The majority of the music on the release has a mostly positive tone, choosing to ignore the potential dark sides of the technology. But, the perspective of looking at current technologies from their science fiction roots is interesting and thought provoking itself.