Machine Mass -
Plays Hendrix

(CD 2017, 59:30, Moonjune Records MJR 084)

The tracks:
  1- Third Stone From The Sun(7:54)
  2- Purple Haze(5:47)
  3- Little Wing(8:32)
  4- Spanish Castle Magic(6:45)
  5- Fire(6:20)
  6- Voodoo Chile(6:57)
  7- Burning Of The Midnight Lamp(3:24)
  8- You Got Me Floatin'(10:57)
  9- The Wind Cries Mary(2:51)

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Machine Mass basically are douBt musicians; Michel Delville, who plays guitar, guitar synth, electronics and activates the used loops and Tony Bianco, drummer for the band. As an addition keyboard player Antoine Guenet, Michel Devilles' band partner in The Wrong Object joined in to pay tribute to the late Jimi Hendrix, with this live recorded album. The whole album has been recorded very spontaneously on just one day and did not see the use of overdubs or whatsoever.

It turned out to be an album, that needs some explanation. If you are a die-hard Jimi Hendrix fan and like to hear Jimi's music reproduced like the master recorded it himself; spotless and nailing every guitar not, please stop reading here, for this album is absolutely not your cup of tea. On the other hand if you are into jazz and fusion music and are curious how an adventurous trio plays their own interpretation of the well-known classic tunes, this Moonjune release could be something right up your alley.

I have to admit as a guitar lover myself, the way some of the songs are handled by Machine Mass, gave me the shivers. Not because of the fact the music hits me, more because some of the songs are barely recognizable as Jimi Hendrix compositions. Take Purple Haze; it takes two minutes of piano drums improvisation before the famous lick kicks in. After that it's just the triggered bass loop as a reminder of what could be seen as a modern traditional song. Little Wing, I have heard in many different versions, from which the majority try to reproduce the majestic guitar melodies and solos, which are kind off trademark for the song. Michel gives us hunches of the signature guitar playing, but ends how a true guitar solo would be played by the fake metal band Bad News.

But when you manage to put Jimi Hendrix aside, you will find an improvised hour of music, where Jimi's ghost has sprinkled some stardust over Machine Mass' heads. You get to listen to some fine improvised pieces of music, where piano, synthesized guitars and drums try to push themselves to a certain level where the listener will still remember the legacy of Jimi Hendrix. You also see some inspired playing musicians paying respect to the great master in their own way.

Personally I do like the improvisation element in Machine Mass music, but on the other hand I still am one of those listeners who thinks Jimi Hendrix music should be played as he had meant it; with feeling, passion and pain. I think Machine Mass gave the tracks a more colder, technical approach.

*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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