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Operator Music Band - "Matérielmusik" | Album Review

by Joe Gutierrez (@jgutierz_)

From time to time, I get this gut resistance towards plugging in and indulging in a network like the World Wide Web- and I know I’m not alone. We question the authenticity, as if there’s something natural lost when invested in something so technical and intangible. Can ping-pong matches of chopped sentences and millisecond clicks of positive affirmation bring anything close to the fulfillment of deep eye contact and human touch? This relationship between the technological and the natural, the mechanical and the spiritual, is just one of many impressions emitted from the sophomore effort of Brooklyn’s Operator Music Band. Matérielmusik, while only spanning three tracks in eight minutes, contains the pulp and pit of a whole universe insides its blips and grooves.

Pulsing synth materializes, creeping upward and outward, garnished with subtly shifting notes as snare drum punctuates a looming sensation. This is how “Bebop Radiohaus” begins. Spacey organ squeezes itself through, introducing the hushed statement, “space, color, time”, and the desperate questions, “is it unseen? Is it something real?” We’re taking a trip through the insides of a machine, fingerprints left behind on all of the buttons. The band knows how to play with space and silence, allowing the words sung to hit harder, linger longer. The track finishes off in a barrage of static clatter, like a star collapsing in on itself, forming a black hole. Its end is marked by the return of the open’s pulse, as if we never experienced anything happening at all.

The brief ambient “Matérielmusik” creates a vital transition between the two songs of the record. It is a subtle collage of sounds, emitting the glow of a cathedral on a stormy night. Something ancient and futuristic all at once. The segue sets the tone for “Delia”, a unique psych-pop jam oscillating between warm and cool, high and low. It begins with a single chord, ringing out underneath guitarist/vocalist Dara Hirsch’s gentle observations, echoing sweetly into the uncharted territory of cosmic synth entwined with dreamy stagger of bass and drums. The qualities of chords and fingerpicked notes on the guitar are harnessed beams of sunlight. The track moves along slowly, yet accurately and on target. Pauses in the drumming creates sacred space for bass licks and synth blips to bloom. The best part has got to be that hurricane of a guitar solo, a vicious flood of calculated noise, giving way to a tight breezy exit jam. 

Throughout Operator Music Band’s two short releases, they’ve proven a mastery of their equipment and their talent. These are next level mish-mashes of the powers of human and machine. Radical and beautiful puzzles of sound. One can only imagine what extended time and labor will bring once the group is ready to inject a full-length album into the world, like a meteorite spiraling down from the heavens. We’re waiting.