Thee Maldoror Kollective
Pilot (Man with the Meat Machine)

While I enjoyed Thee Maldoror Kollective quite a lot with their previous effort, A Clockwork Highway, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting a new one this soon. But that’s quite a distracting thing to say, as it’s been already three years in the making. So either the guys are fast, I’m goddamned slow or somebody has found a way to warp the time. Whatever. The new album Pilot (Man With The Meat Machine) is here and it’s different. Quite a bit different.

From the smoking rain and dirty concrete of Blade Runner, the band has moved down to more organic textures. The changes aren’t limited to just adding actual vocals or taking the guitars and drums out of the closet, as the guys must have been eating truckloads of psychotic drugs as well. There’s no other way you could do something that resembles most post rock bands, Neurosis, searching for a suitable radio station in your car, Ulver’s post Marriage albums and Ephel Duath (just to namedrop a few better known bands). And that’s just the first four songs.

On the other hand, the eleven minute epoch “The Night Mr. Clenchman Died” (and dare I say, the most consistent and memorable of the nine ‘cues’) seems to lend a bit of ambiance from the old, the wise and the dead storytellers, mainly Jim Morrison and Johnny Cash, while perhaps throwing in a bit of Depeche Mode into the scene as well. The versatility of Pilot (Man with the Meat Machine) simply allows a bigger array of scenes to be crafted and incorporated for a much more involved experience. Indeed, the album is even more of a soundtrack than A Clockwork Highway ever was, even if some of the songs (or parts of ’em) feel more traditional compared to the cold ambient nature of the previous one.

However, I do not think this album is as philosophical in nature as Clockwork; this one seems more over the edge, more erratic and definitely much more compelling; simply because the listener will be denied of the comfort of knowing what’ll happen next. Just like a good thriller should. I cannot recommend the album to everyone as it’ll need the listeners undivided attention and participation. With changes from classic chase scenes, to techno thriller soundscapes, to spy movie antics and back to lounge music, it’s pretty obvious this won’t be classified as easy listening.

And that, I would think, will be the deciding factor to most. I doubt anyone will use words like “OK” and “pretty good” with this one, as the crowd will no doubt divide into two opposing camps. Superficial? Is the album trying to be artsy “just because”? Is it the best thing since sliced bread and getting a blowjob from two different chicks at the same time? Who the fuck knows but I’m sure those willing to take the plunge and give it a shot are indeed granted with a thought provoking record that will, in the best case scenario, speak to them for a long time after the album has ceased spinning; no matter what group the listener will eventually fall into.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
January 20th, 2007

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