Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Animation: Machine Language

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

In the wake of musician-composer Bob Belden’s sudden passing by heart attack at 58 last May, we are at least left with the satisfaction that his swan song is this eminently fascinating “cyberpunk opera,” a glorious twining of Philip K. Dick and electric Miles Davis that might well be subtitled 2015: A Jazz Space Odyssey. Narrated by Kurt Elling with a clipped, chilling cadence Rod Serling would have envied, Belden’s text for Machine Language examines the paradoxical struggle of machine vs. human in a manner worthy of the best and smartest science fiction: It’s the most surprising triumph of the record. And while the soundtrack is not always so inspired-who would have thought a song entitled “Disappear Annihilation” could be so boring?-Belden’s ensemble Animation gets a welcome boost from guest electric bassist Bill Laswell and his renowned mixer, James Dellatacoma.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published