Pierce Warnecke - The Machine Regrets
Pierce Warnecke is an interesting person, whose travels in life have stationed him in California, Paris, Berklee School of Music, and currently, Berlin. On top of being an elecrtonic/instrumental hip hop producer/composer, he also works as a sound designer at music software company. On his latest release, The Machine Regrets, he seeks to tell the story of a machine gaining consciousness and the difficulties it encounters as a result.
The first two tracks, “De-Processed,” and “Re-Processed,” do an excellent job of setting the stage. The album opens slowly with synthesizers building an ominous atmosphere, while a computerized voice explains the situation from the robot’s point of view. This leads into a glitch-hop track with plenty of bright tones and open chords that symbolize the awakening that is happening. The disjointed rhythm and tension built underneath make sure the listener doesn’t get comfortable, since there is a great amount of confusion and uncertainty to the awakening of this robot. The title track moves to a rhythm that recalls the steady movement of a machine, while the synthesized melodies and chords continue to sway from this bright hopefulness to uneasy tension. Once we get to “Why Now” the tension seems to be mounting and the beat is just slightly disjointed and slower, with the weight of the new consciousness mounting upon the unsuspecting robot. Around this point of the album, the story gets bogged down with a few too many remixes that don't add enough new information to the story. “A Crack in Every Wall” closes the album strongly, however as tone and tempo shift a few times, inferring that the situation has created too much confusion for the robot to handle.
The album has an interesting concept, but without this explanation, how would one react to the this record? The truth is that while Warnecke is a good producer, I can’t say that there’s necessarily a standout moment on the album. I feel that the majority of my enjoyment comes from the interpretation of the story, rather than solely on the merits of the music. On it’s own, The Machine Regrets is good, but not great. I fear it will get lost in the shuffle of instrumental hip hop released this year.