For the second instalment of our new Bass Boost series, I’d like to put the spotlight on a specific producer. Travis Stewart, better known as Machinedrum is a huge underground force. Currently residing in Berlin, Machinedrum’s music does not fit neatly into any genre. Though much of his music walks a line between jungle, footwork and drum and bass, the influences and styles drawn upon do not stop there. Boasting a discography that is as long as it is varied, Stewart is a symbol for innovation, creativity and exploration in the world of electronic music. Touching on everything from hip hop to house to R&B and FAR beyond, Machinedrum and various other projects he is involved in accomplish their goal of being both explorative and accessible, and further contribute to the legacy of this hardworking and versatile producer.
I found out about Machinedrum around 2012 when I came across DDD (better known to some as the beat behind Azealia Banks’ 1991), a funky throwback to Detroit-style house music. I love this track for how catchy it is, and how fat the sub drop is around the 2:20 mark. After hearing this, I got my hands on Machinedrum’s SXLND EP and quickly realized that I had found something unique; creative, dark and funky music that uses aspects of any genre that has something to contribute while at the same time refusing to fully submit to the rules or practices of those same genres. The deeper I dug, the more material I found; at times wondering if it was actually one person making all this music.
In the last few years, Stewart has truly found his sound. Releasing a series of EPs leading up to a full album entitled Vapor City in 2014, Machinedrum used the diverse Ninja Tune label to showcase his varied taste and forward-thinking approach to music. This series also led to a trio of Vapor City Boiler Room Sessions in New York, London and Berlin, all featuring Machinedrum, as well as a collection of friends and collaborators including side projects such as JETS with Jimmy Edgar, Dream Continuum with Om Unit, and Sepalcure with Braille (aka Praveen Sharma). Vapor City is a great place to start for anyone looking to see what Machinedrum has to offer, but all of the aforementioned collaborations and Boiler Room sessions are essential listening. Each project has its own extremely unique voice and cretive direction while Stewarts influence is constantly heard. Machinedrum is an extremely talented musician whose big-picture influence on dance music, electronic music, and music in general still remains to be seen as many more years of exploration and high-bpm releases are surely to come.
For some deep dub, check out AMIT’s remix of ‘Gunshotta’
For some drum&bass education, check out Machinedrum’s Resident Advisor Podcast