BRUIT ≤ - The Machine Is Burning And Now Everyone Knows It Could Happen Again | Album Review

Going from the title of this release and the collective’s namesake – which is literally ‘noise’ in the band’s native French – one shouldn’t be too surprised to know that the debut record from BRUIT ≤ is fully immersed within the bathypelagic depths of instrumental progressive music. However, what may be a shock to people is both the background and contents of the The Machine Is Burning And Everyone Knows It Could Happen Again.

Hailing from the French city of Toulouse, BRUIT ≤ came into formation following the collapse of a number of pop bands that members previously found themselves in. Frustrated with the creative constraints limiting the genre, the post-rock collective was birthed as a protest against the pop art form and the music industry as a whole, with the band never intending to perform live and only existing to perform sonic experiments in freed instrumentalism. Even if the band have since embarked on a number of tours since, BRUIT ≤ are still bound to a concrete ideology that saturates their work. Their output doesn’t appear on corporate streaming sites in order to retain their philosophical ideals and the group see the tracks that compose their debut as differencing atmospheres one the same as opposed to singular movements.

Granted, some may see such viewpoints as exercises in stoic pretentiousness - especially to those removed from the post-rock field - but when experiencing this record, it’s nigh on impossible to disagree with their outputs and values. Essentially, this record is not only a statement of intent for the group, but a musical offering that both stuns and animates the mind. Offered as a soundtrack to an imageless feature length of the listener's conjuring, The Machine Is Burning And Now Everyone Knows It Could Happen Again sonically explores the endless cycle of collapse and rebirth that qualifies the nature of humanity. Infinite and impossibly existential in scope and articulation, it’s a record that steers the mind with overwhelming intensity and one that borders upon being possessive in the way the atmospheric textures blanket and protect the mind against background stimuli.

In a fashion reminiscent of post-rock legends Godspeed You! Black Emperor, ‘Industry’ establishes the tone, aura and dynamism of this record with cinematic finesse. Against a burst of distortion, mechanical synthetic beats tick and granulate alongside mournfully human cello and calculated urbanite percussion, a funeral march that ultimately arrives at a monologue delivered by communist party member Albert Jacqaurd on the inherent immorality of unsustainable capitalism. It’s a sweeping, colossal movement composed of unique layers and textures that both clash and dance; the soulless authoritarian electronica combating with the rebelliously human strings and percussion in a battle that ends in utter devastation and silence. Regardless however, much like the very essence of this record, the thematic and cinematic instrumentalism is one that invites own interpretations of conflict.

Even if this record stays loyal to the primary value of post-rock, one where the listener is able to envision their own narrative to a given soundtrack, to class this as a post-rock release would be far too restrictive. With the most ethereal qualities of neo-classical, ambient electronica and sweeping alternative dynamism amalgamated, this record essentially subverts the notion of genres and showcases what can be creatively achieved when free from the restrictive shackles of convention.

Bookended by the aforementioned ‘Industry’ and the droning ambience of ‘Amazing Old Tree’, previously released single ‘Renaissance’ truly showcases the unbridled experimentalism of this album. Exploring the everlasting conflict that’s inherently inevitable within the relationship held between modern culture and nature, the movement is composed of passages of rustic folk-esque carefreeness, climatic classical dramatics, thumping neon electronica and colossal post-metal calamity in an overwhelming display of fluid sonic motion. It’s a sweeping, theatrical display of musical finesse and contrast that is essentially unparalleled within the scene BRUIT ≤ inhabit. But what truly makes this track outstanding is the boundless freedom it explores and offers. Repeat listeners will provide new sonic niches to explore, new narratives to dream against the backdrop of sound and new emotions to be intensified. Even with it’s thunderous and mournful primary inspiration, as the ambient electronics whimper into the nether, one could find optimism within the noise, a fleeting hope coming from the fact that rebirth is betaine following collapse and societal apocalypse. Such is the excellence of this record; it’s one that allows animated personal interpretation.

As the rapturous trumpets of the title track ring into the silenced void, it’s likely listeners of this record will have thoughts aplenty following the end of this record. Such a statement has been suggested many a time and may be truly hyperbolic, but BRUIT ≤ have truly, without question, delivered a genre defying masterpiece with this album. It’s a release that shows what can be achieved with the removal of genre notions, what can explored with the key understanding of contrast and what can suggested when working to a concrete ethos that underpins one’s work. A true glimpse into worlds and scenes unique – vistas of one’s own imagining – BRUIT ≤'s debut offering is a showcase of what can built and manifested with the burning of all that ills modern musical pursuits.

Score: 10/10

The Machine Is Burning And Now Everyone Knows It Could Happen Again is released April 2nd via Elusive Sound.

Pre-order the record here.


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