album reviews

Spiritual Machinery: A Musical Oasis

Spiritual Machinery’s incomparable sound is not only a source of inspiration but also a melodic antidote made perfect for the soul. What began as a side project for Swedish musician Hakan Sunar, started to take precedence in the life of the electronic composer after he worked with different artists on the Spiritual Machinery project. Astonishingly, we find that Spiritual Machinery’s success is tied to its origins, namely, music that is created out of its own inventiveness.

Hakan Sunar – founder of Spiritual Machinery

Essentially, Spiritual Machinery is a solo venture made from Hakan Sunar’s imaginative craftsmanship. Although Sunar created Spiritual Machinery in 2017, his musical genius is an evolving work in progress that began to take shape as a teen during the 1980’s. Throughout the years, Sunar collaborated with many independent musicians and explored different facets of the music industry, including engineering and other technical fields. One of the battles that Sunar successfully overcame to maintain his musical career was a nearly lifelong bout with glaucoma. Back in 2001, Sunar’s vision started to deteriorate. In the years that followed, he became completely blind in the left eye and has substantial vision impairment in the right eye.

Thanks to technology, however, Sunar is able to create and record music. Magnifying software and digital audio workstations (DAW) together with software synthesizers and digital audio processing tools make it possible for visually impaired people like Sunar to work with audio recording. It is through the use of these tools that Sunar has been able to share his talents with us and thus Spiritual Machinery was born. Sunar’s work in and out of the studio has been equally impressive. Below is a review of Spiritual Machinery’s music.

As The World Goes Around (released March 7th, 2018) – This delightful tune is a nostalgic masterpiece. It’s electronica elements are minimal and appear to draw more from classic rock, folk, and synthpop. A great amount of the song’s charm can be attributed to a spectacular vocal performance by the Indonesian singer and songwriter Alice Leonz. In a style reminiscent to Cass Elliot (Mama Cass from the Mamas and Papas), Alice Leonz takes the chorale lead in building a bridge between Spiritual Machinery and the listener using a sonic platform that Hakan Sunar has created.

E.K.G (released January 2nd, 2018) – Listed as #3 by Swedish synth fanzine Synth.nu’s list of “Most Interesting Artists To Check Out 2018,” E.K.G is a masterful techno track that wonderfully demonstrates Sunar’s concept. E.K.G is an acronym for electrocardiogram. The track was produced in a way to make the listener feel as if they are hooked to an EKG machine. I interpret Sunar’s concept as relative in meaning to human society’s dependency on machines and technology. Interestingly, we find Vlatko Georgiev’s remix of the track was used in place of the original as Sunar found it to be more intense. This is an excellent tune to get the party started or keep it going.

Lady of Night (released December 24th, 2017) – Composed and produced by Sunar in collaboration with Indonesian vocalist and co-writer Alice Leonz, Lady of Night is a wonderful song that is filled with the vintage charisma of 1980’s synthpop and disco. The song’s timeless appeal was well put together by Sunar’s use of analog synthesizers. Along with the charms of songstress Leonz and a groovy bassline, Lady of Night’s sense of sophistication captures our attention through its development of existing elements than the creation of a new sound, clever indeed.

Bugs in the Box (released November 11th, 2017) – Rooted in electronica, house, and techno genres, Bugs in the Box is a subtly intense track that moves with an air of mysteriousness and is somewhat experimental in its groovy undertakings. Sunar initiates this hazy journey with an amazing beat and bassline, which provides the perfect landscape for the track’s erratic sound effects and mood-bending keyboard riffs. Yet, if we listen closely enough, we can hear that same insect noise that puts us to sleep on summer nights reinvented in Sunar’s cherished melody.

The Greedy Man (released November 17th, 2017) The Greedy Man is a powerful tune that brandishes the skills of guitarist Tobias Wilson. Ironically, one of the favored “commercial” songs from Spiritual Machinery’s catalog, it stands as a timely social commentary about the element of greed and how it affects our society. The Greedy Man is intoxicating, innovating, and rewind-button addictive.

Remixes

E.K.G (Resuscitation Mix by BMajor7) – A tremendous offering that continues to evolve out of Sunar’s concept of the listener being hooked to an EKG machine. Personally, I find BMajor7’s remix delightfully cinematic and an involving take on the song’s theme.

Lady Of Night (Bouncing Bunny Remix by V. Georgiev) This remix in no way violates the song’s organic approach, nor its hazy landscape. Instead, we find in the Lady of Night remix and equaled vintage offering.

Spiritual Machinery is a symbol of a generation that was and is, and that which is about to come. Hakan Sunar’s trailblazing device proves to be a melodic oasis in the vault of heaven; something that people of all walks of life can grow to appreciate. Hopefully, others will soon come to understand what Hakan Sunar means by Spiritual Machinery and how our greatest technology has always been with us in the music that we make. Thank you for your vision of humanity’s future!

 

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