Machine Learning Experiments
Nude Club Records
Machine Learning Experiments compiles Augustus Muller’s soundtracks for two films produced by avant garde adult film collective Four Chambers – Orgone Theory and Hydra. Even without having seen the films in question it’s not difficult to imagine how well Muller’s work would fit the science fiction themed shorts; as half of Boy Harsher his material speaks to lust, longing and both the exhilaration and unnerving aspects of intimacy. The toolset used on the LP is common to much of Boy Harsher’s recorded output, with each side emphasizing an aspect of Muller’s compositional strength.
Side A is Orgone Collector, and it largely favours beat-based compositions. While the aptly titled “Four on the Floor” plays out as straight up dark disco number, all bouncing bass and percussion fed through gated reverb, other numbers take things in more distinct directions. “Taste of Metal” slows things down to a new-beat tempo, allowing the distant drones and jittery pads to slide between the drum hits and over and through the rubbery synth bass. “Slow Blue” is the most intriguing number, with a lengthy intro of deep synth tones that slowly sets up a simple rhythm that serves as a bass for delayed and detuned synths and heavily processed voices that are crying out in what could be passion or pain, or both.
Side B is Hydra, and commensurate with the theme of invasion and consumption the tracks are largely atmospheric. Huge shifting pads, distant mechanical sounds and a smattering of giallo movie synthwork are the order of the day. This is the sort of thing that has provided a lot of the texture on recent Boy Harsher LPs both in interstitial tracks and as full on compositions, and it suits the soundtrack milieu perfectly; it has massive amounts of presence and is positively dripping with tension that ratchets up and gradually releases via arrangement.
Machine Learning Experiments is a good listen taken separately from the films it was created for, and sheds some interesting light on the creator’s broader catalogue of work. The shift in context from trad LP composition highlights exactly how much Muller has already been speaking to soundtrack and program music, with special focus on the space and atmosphere and proximity of each sound.