These Machines Steve Mac Brighton In a basement music-making studio in the south of England sit a bunch of machines. A Moog System 15, a Juno 106, classic Roland TR-808, TB-303 and TR-909s, an Emu SP1200, a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, Akai MPC, a Mini-Moog… these machines have been some of the foundation hardware for electronic music over the years. But these machines can’t make music by themselves. Despite all the hype about artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, these machines need somebody to collaborate with — a human — to draw out their soul and funk. We’ve been fascinated by machine music since the second half of the 20th century, and electronic music has been powered by the ever-developing automation of new technology. “I’ve collected these machines for a long time now, and each one has a story,” says uber-producer Steve Mac, owner of all these machines. “Every time I buy a new one, the rule is that I have to make a track with it.” The variety of people who drop by to play on these machines are what make the music coming out of this studio so diverse. Whether it’s house music legends like Marshall Jefferson or Danny Rampling swinging by, or cult Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh laying down some vocals on a German/Scottish kosmische disco ditty; a session with dubwise breakbeat rave act Genaside II to making a track with unknown guitar n’ bass whizkid Scott Booth; from working with young house hotshots Cousn from Bristol to some songs with a Brazilian band Steve met in the pub — these machines need humans to collaborate with. They can’t do it themselves. The above-mentioned Brazilian band member Rafael Berrio provided the impetus for ‘Martina’, a Balearic Brazilian love story that’s the first single from Steve’s new project. It’s backed by a melodic breakbeat piece that also utilises those Brazilian vibes. “I want to make music from the heart,” says Steve. “It’s the interaction of people and machines that I’m really fascinated with.” Each of these machines is a feat of engineering. Machines like these have created countless classic electronic music cuts, and lately Steve has been adding to that cannon — with a slew of tracks ready to go. The electricity is on. The motor is running. Are you ready for the sound of These Machines?