The Emperor Machine & Séverine Mouletin – Dance Par Amour
Leng Records has long admired Andrew Meecham’s work as The Emperor Machine. Last year, Meecham made his first appearance on the label via a fine remix of Harks & Mudd favourite ‘Susta’. 12 months on, Meecham returns to Leng with his first Emperor Machine outing of 2021, a typically eccentric, heavily electronic dancefloor outing featuring the seductive vocals of rising star Séverine Mouletin.
Meecham is one of British dance music’s most experienced and lauded producers, with a packed history stretching right back to the acid house era. He first rose to fame as part of Bizarre Inc and Chicken Lips (both alongside long-term studio partner Dean Meredith), but over the last two decades has devoted far more time to solo work as The Emperor Machine. In the process, he’s developed a sparse, hypnotic, heavily electronic trademark sound that combines analogue and modular synthesizer sounds with nods to post-punk disco, new wave, trippy proto-house and the mind-altering experiments of the Radiophonic Workshop.
‘Dance Par Amour’, his first solo single on Leng, is typical of his now familiar personal sonic style, with echoing, alien-sounding synthesizer motifs (some reminiscent of those that marked out Chicken Lips’ club classic ‘He Not In’), with bubbly sequenced bass, unfussy machine drums, rubbery slap-bass riffs and flashes of post-punk disco guitars.
Sparse but weighty and pleasingly trippy, the EP-leading ‘Extended Vocal Mix’ is classic Emperor Machine: a near ten-minute workout in which Mouletin’s tender but confident vocals rise above Meecham’s stylish and note perfect backing track, which sits somewhere between early ‘80s ‘no wave’ New York disco, lo-fi European synth-pop and the trippy late night dancefloor dubs that were once a feature of American boogie and proto-house records.
Meecham further explores his love of these sparse, effects-laden “synth-dubs” on the accompanying ‘Erotique Dub’, a thrillingly heavy, heads-down affair awash with echoing vocal snippets, hypnotic drums and synthesizer flourishes that attractively echo across the sound space. Like the best DJ-focused dubs of the early 1980s, the remix is propelled forwards by a strong bassline, around which other elements – guitar, bass guitar, sparkling synth sounds and mind-mangling electronics – appear, make their mark and then drift off into the ether. With key passages of Mouletin’s vocal appearing periodically to encourage people to dance, it’s the kind of delightfully wayward revision that will keep people dancing well into the early hours.