In the eleven years of their existence, Texas dwelling stoner rockers Stone Machine Electric have founded a reputation for their blend of psychedelic doom. Owing much to jam room inspired jazz like sessions, where the music evolves in an organic fashion into heady atmospherics full of spacious dynamics, has seen them compared to such notable acts as Earthless and Wo Fat.
Despite the lazy clichés associated with stoner rock, their output has been quite prolific, with the last release in particular, 2019s Darkness Dimensions Disillusion, gaining especially favourable reviews from the likes of The Obelisk and Outlaws Of The Sun.
Now at the tail end of the year, they’ve treated listeners to the extravagantly titled new album, The Inexplicable Vibrations Of Frequencies Within The Cosmic Netherworld, a three track, forty two minute exploration of all they’ve worked on for over a decade, and mastered expertly as ever, by inspiration and kindred spirit Kent Stump of Wo Fat.
Bravely and unabashed, they open with the sprawling, epic length Journey On The Nile. Twenty minutes of jam work that the band themselves describe as a ‘journey pulled from the cosmos and breathed into life’, the epic saga starts gently with a reverb hum, like the starting of an engine (or Machine…) which is broken by frail guitar sounds that build into squalls. The sombre bass and drums almost plod in a gentle, but relentless forward movement as the guitar grows and spirals off into dizzying pyrotechnics.
As with most good instrumental music Journey On The Nile is built on layers of dense sound and atmospheres as they move through each progressive state in a purposeful way, whilst creating that beautiful, laidback, lazy jam effect, that’s carefully crafted so the music never meanders.
they’ve dallied with doom, sludge, progressive rock and drone with a jazz style approach, confident in their own abilities and understanding of each other…
At Crystal Lake, a shorter fifteen minute workout, also stretches the musicians as it journeys from a gentle chiming opening, to a grittier fuzz in the second half, that somehow manages to combine synth, drone and the more familiar psychedelic experimentation in a manner so rich and dense, that you can easily forget that they’re just a two piece, having never managed to find the right fit for a bassist in the early days.
Finally, the album comes to a close with the comparatively short nine minute track Free Thought. Captured live at Freetown Boom Boom Room in Lafayette, Lousiana back in February of 2020, before the year really stretched out its claws and got stuck in, it shows the synchronicity of Mark Kitchens and William (Dub) Irvin as they work together unaided by studio trickery.
Not much shorter than their last outing, Stone Machine Electric are a unique band. Having mixed up their styles and over the course of their decade long existence, they’ve dallied with doom, sludge, progressive rock and drone with a jazz style approach, confident in their own abilities and understanding of each other.
Ranking it in terms of their output is too difficult to call given the short space I have lived with it and following such a good album in Darkness Dimensions Disillusion, but fans of the band won’t leave disappointed and new comers could do much worse than spare the twenty minutes to listen to the fantastic Journey On Nile, because if that sinks in you’ll be hooked.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden