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North Carolina-bred, Berlin-based electronic artist Machinedrum (aka Travis Stewart) is well known for his collaborations with people like Azealia Banks, Jesse Boykins III, Jimmy Edgar (JETS) and Praveen Sharma (Sepalcure). On Vapor City, Stewart shifts the focus back to his own idiosyncratic vision, drawing unexpected connections between mid-90s soulful drum 'n' bass, classic IDM, deep house, Chicago footwork and contemporary hip-hop.
These styles have always been in the background, but there's an atmosphere pervading the album that helps bring the disparate influences together: where he once left stark empty space, he now fills it with an evocative glowing haze of filtered crackles and hisses. And while moments on Vapor City might have sounded completely at home at a 1996 rave, the mood and sound overall are more wistfully nostalgic than retro - melancholic music that sounds as good when you're dancing in front of a tower of speakers as when you're melting into your couch at home.
Top track: Don't 1 2 Lose U