Mechanik – “You Yourself Are the Teacher & the Guru” / “Inner Temple/Outer Temple”

Hailing from Madrid, Spain, Mechanik’s brand of spacerock is more atmospheric than heavy, but it’s also refreshingly unique and innovative sounding. The 27-minute digital EP sent to us was You Yourself Are the Teacher & the Guru, but it left me so breathlessly wanting for more of their music, I visited their site, and found they had released a second digital EP as well, and quickly downloaded that one too. Here’s a look at both of them.

The opening track on You Yourself Are the Teacher & the Guru is Russian Doll. It combines deep space electronics with strumming acoustic guitars and dark, brooding vocals, building over its 6 1/2-minutes to an intense and harrowing climax. Radian on the other hand is an almost totally ambient piece, only a pulsing guitar pattern and deep slow drumming giving it any rhythm. But it too builds ever so slowly, with inspired use of space synths, reverb and delay bringing everything to a gentle peak, before the music slips off and segues directly into the final piece, the epic 14-minute title track. After a brief continuation of the atmospherics from the previous piece, the song quickly breaks into a hypnotic, mid-tempo rhythm played on drums and bass, with the synths and reverbed sounds continuing underneath. The guitar weaves a beguiling thread of notes that snake in and around the loping beats as the ambient sounds intensify all around them. It all eventually dissolves hazily into a mysterious and haunting ambient coda that drifts on for minutes into the farthest regions of outer space. I can’t really compare their sound to any other bands, as they sound quite unique. Tasty stuff!

With great anticipation, I moved onto Mechanik’s next EP, the 22-minute Inner Temple/Outer Temple. Mechanik’s music is infused with a sense of faraway mystery, and the opening track, Bliss & Gloss, is no exception. A little less intense than the music on the previous EP, but strangely seductive, this one is built around a laidback rhythm, with druggy, blissed out vocals and weird buzzing atmospherics swirling around it like alien insects on some extraterrestrial summer night. In fact, these guys are masters of atmosphere, building their layers of strange sound in complex and inventive ways. Bliss & Gloss comes to a close in weird and shadowy realms, not preparing us at all for what comes next. While the next track, Inner Temple, does start out with some weird electronic noodling and mellow acoustic guitar, without warning it breaks into a driving rocker. But these guys don’t follow any rules, so don’t expect anything typical here. Even the guitar solo towards the end of the song is a groaning, twisting, vaguely Middle Easterny thing that the guitarist sounds like he’s wrenching out of his instrument. It’s dazzlingly innovative and very cool. Final song, Did You Have to Take So Many Pills? is another up-tempo rocker, this one with a Krautrockish rhythm. And after the song proper part, this tune breaks out into a fiery spacerock jam to finish things off. Spectacular!

These two EP’s were released separately, a couple of months apart, but together make for a cool full-length album’s worth of intense, atmospheric, and very creative spacerock. Highly recommended!

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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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