If Laurie Anderson and Art of Noise had a love child, it might look like I speak machine, the experimental and audiovisual music project of singer Tara Busch and filmmaker Maf Lewis. Completely original in their own right, I Speak Machine has spent the last decade stirring our subconscious and defining the conventional, combining music technology and vintage synths with striking, unmissable visuals that reflect and imprint themselves in our deepest depths. and the darkest. dreams.
It’s saturated, cinematic and unforgettable. And bloody. Sometimes I Speak Machine gets very gory. “Visually, it goes straight to the point, which is to destabilize and liberate”, explains singer Tara Busch. “The image of blood dripping and splattering is what this music looks and feels like, if that makes sense.” She notes her love of horror movies as a direct influence: “Something like the ball scene in Carriethe elevator hallway the brilliant…I love how cathartic and primitive and theatrical it can be… There’s a very satisfying and blatant element to it, it’s beautiful and unnerving, but a lot of people don’t like to watch it. With his score, the brilliant“The atmosphere, the characters, the madness, the absurdity, the dark humour” are a constant inspiration.
The music video for the title track of their new album WAR (April 22) depicts Busch under a sheet of plastic, a shiny liquid rich in fake hemoglobin dripping from his face. “I shot a very simple high frame rate video of blood dripping onto Tara under a sheet of plastic,” says Maf Lewis of the strategic operation designed for a perfect splatter. “I built makeshift rigs and a contraption that fits around my camera lens out of syringes and tubes with holes in them to deliver the blood. Video of the blood was reversed in editing. I further separated the two shots with color. I went for a very sharp black and white look for Tara’s movements, offsetting the clinical, almost sci-fi look of reverse slow-motion blood .
For I Speak Machine, music and audiovisual work together, a powerful and intentional cog, an implacable soldier of the surreal. It’s no surprise that, according to Busch, it began as a “project centered around live film music,” noting the influence of composers Wendy Carlos, Mica Levi, Goblin, Clint Mansell, Krystof Komeda, and John Carpenter. . “There was quite a bit of filtering of other vocal influences that shaped me more as a singer,” she explains, referencing Doris Day, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland and Maria Callas. “Like me, there’s not really a gray area,” Busch says of his music. “I think I’m middle-aged Gen X, I’ve got a lot of life experiences to pull from… So you could say this is an industrial horror/dark comedy soundtrack starring Judy Garland, 40s, (if she also had a few octaves higher than she could hit on a good day) at the bar. A little crazy at times, and others quite… festive and cathartic, but hanging by a thread. like to think there’s gratitude to that too.
Although released in 2022, the new album, WAR, “brewing” for nearly two decades. “I’ve spent the last 10 years pursuing film music, mostly horror and sci-fi movies with I Speak Machine and before that I was in various musical projects ranging from downtempo electronica to rock /grunge (when I was in my early twenties) In the meantime, I began to struggle with depression and panic attacks and had to deal with a long-term alcohol addiction problem date. I constantly felt like I was in the middle of an endless personal battlefield. The only way out was some kind of creative bloodletting, and it unfolded in a rather dense but ironic way. I think part of me feels very uncomfortable opening up to these things in “real life”, so I feel lucky to have music to turn to to release the lead and keep me somewhat calibrated.
As with all true artists, I Speak Machine awakens our sleeping subconscious and helps us consider our own humanity. “The sound naturally evolved into a kind of ‘caricature’ of actually very dark things for me and took on a very loud, aggressive and ‘performable’ edge. I knew I had to be able to play and share that – get out from behind the synthesizers, open my mouth and sing those songs. Thereby WAR. I also had no interest in producing this album alone, and I didn’t want to succumb to the pressure that (especially) women in music put on them – to prove they can do ANYTHING or we assume they did nothing. I know I have my strengths and my weaknesses as I know several women who indeed do it brilliantly. No. I wanted to collaborate; I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. She brought in Dean Honer of I Monster and The Moonlandingz to produce.
WAR’s first song was “Santa Monica”, the “I am just a star lyric” which came to her while she was mountain biking in Cardiff, Wales, hoping to keep the lyrics until her back home. “That part kind of came back into my head in a sleepy state until I came across a Judy Garland performance from 1964 a few years ago which really inspired me to finish writing it. “, she says. “Meanwhile I was playing around with a sequence on my Oberheim TVS-1, a nice old synth I have and I realized that the aforementioned ‘I am just a star’ voice from there a so long would fit perfectly… and I built the verses from there.” Other tracks, like “The Metal of My Hell” and “Left for Dead” were developed from unused movie tracks.
Now, at 48, Busch describes the new music from I Speak Machine as an “anthology” of where she currently is in her life. “It feels more specific to me than anything I’ve ever done, and also, given the current global chaos, I wanted to give something that could bring joy.” Recently on tour with Gary Numan, someone told her she reminded them of a more dog-friendly Cruella de Vil. “So far I’ve had a fair share of Hazel O’Connor, Nina Hagen and Siouxsie, Goldfrapp (probably for the high notes) and Peaches comparisons, but the one that surprised me the most was a Lux Interior comparison and Mike Patton (both exciting to me). And someone online said my attire made me an ‘evil Statue of Liberty,'” she reports. .
Theatrics aside, I Speak Machine is a deeply provocative and personal project, illustrating artistic freedom, pushing the boundaries of all things creative, reflecting on all of us like a thrilling Rorschach test.
“I hope people will feel less alone, a kind of cocktail of joy, comfort and discomfort, hysteria and catharsis,” Busch says of his music. “At this point in my life, I’m ecstatic and grateful that people are listening and watching. It is magic.