The Emperor Machine & Séverine Mouletin – Your Own Style
Having first joined forces in 2021 for the simultaneously sleazy and sweet ‘Dance Par Amour’ – a typically analogue-rich chunk of electronic disco wonkiness with nods to both dub disco and leftfield early ‘80s synth-pop – The Emperor Machine and Séverine Mouletin have returned to Leng with a similarly inspired sequel.
By now, you should all know the work of Andy Meecham as The Emperor Machine; since first utilising the pseudonym two decades ago, Meecham has delivered a swathe of acclaimed albums and singles for D.C Recordings, Southern Fried Records, Internasjonal, Vertical Tones and Skint. Since first appearing on Leng last year, Meecham has focused on collaborating with vocalists – something he often shied away from when it came to Emperor Machine material.
‘Your Own Style’, which does a terrific job in showcasing rising star Mouletin’s intriguing lyrics and tender but confident vocals, is another strong Emperor Machine release. Showcasing many of the stylistic ticks that have long marked out his work (not just as a solo producer, but also as part of Chicken Lips), it once again boasts a suite of alternative versions – as well as additional guitar trickery from legendary A Certain Ratio musician Martin Moscrop.
The EP is led by Meecham’s ‘Alt Mix’, where Mouletin’s distinctive vocals, warming electric piano motifs and wild, proto-house style vintage synth sounds ride a hand-percussion rich groove marked out by a typically addictive, ear-catching electronic bassline. With Meecham reaching for the tape echo and delay (an aural hallmark of his productions and reflective of his love of dubbed-out electronic disco), the track is a sparse, mind-altering chunk of new wave-informed mid-tempo electronic disco.
It comes backed by two distinctive dubs in Meecham’s trademark style. There’s a ‘Dub Vocal’ mix in which selected snippets of Mouletin’s bi-lingual vocal rise and fall around a subtly tougher, spaced-out take on Meecham’s musical arrangement smothered in effects, and a ‘Fun Dub’ that’s altogether sweeter, more playful, informed by electro (one of Meecham’s earliest musical loves) and high on additional percussion, warming Rhodes riffs and Chicken Lips-esque synthesiser flourishes.
Those who buy the digital edition of the EP also get two more mixes: Meecham’s original ‘Extended Vocal’ and ‘Extended Instrumental’ takes. Slightly warmer and hazier than the EP-leading ‘Alt Mix’ and boasting a more obvious electro shuffle, these two takes are every bit as alluring and ear-catching as those showcased on the vinyl version.