Turing Machine

What Is the Meaning of What

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Long-running Brooklyn instrumental trio Turing Machine suffered a major loss with the tragic death of their drummer Jerry Fuchs in 2009. Along with providing the pulse for Turing Machine since their 1998 inception, Fuchs was a busy guy, splitting his time drumming for !!!, the Juan MacLean, Massive Attack, and others. His busy schedule, along with the extracurricular activities of other Turing Machine members, had pushed the group into a prolonged backburner status. At the time of his death they were in the process of recording what would be their third album, following 2004's Zwei. What Is the Meaning of What, completed posthumously in the years that followed Fuchs' passing, represents his last recorded work, and presumably the final output from Turing Machine. The album was completed with help from members of LCD Soundsystem as well as other friends connected with the DFA roster. This connection is apparent, as a heavy DFA influence runs throughout the album's seven tracks, from the constantly propelling disco-punk beats to the sleazy, repetitive guitar lines. The hard synth programming of "Slave to the Algorithm" meets with robotically precise live drumming. The Krautrock influence is still strong on songs like this one, as well as the one-note sprawl of "Lazy Afternoon of the Jaguar" with its Harmonia-esque guitar washes. Likewise, the textural interlude "Sex Ghost" breaks up the album's churn with two minutes of glacial walls of synth not unlike the more distant Cluster moments. The eight-minute "If It's Gone (It's On)" is the album's only flirtation with vocals, featuring Disappears vocalist Brian Case shouting a mantra behind the song's building computronic rhythms. The pounding four-on-the-floor beats and live band techno flourishes update the math rock of Turing Machine's early days, transforming their earlier ear for showy time changes and trickery into an unraveling of various hypnotic subtleties. It's sad to think that this is the point in the group's evolution that marks their final chapter. Even with years between albums and the tragic loss of a key contributor, the band's sounds are more locked in, realized, and focused on the same relentless track than ever.

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