Band Website: www.bow-music.com
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2012
A couple weeks ago I reviewed the new release from Hess & Franzen which as it turns out was a soundtrack to an unreleased science fiction film. This release from Bow entitled Man in the Machine takes a very similar approach although the music tends to be somewhat darker and heavier. Bow is Dutch multi-instrumentalist Chris van der Linden who is probably best known to some as the driving force and singer of progressive rock band Fourteen Twentysix. On Man in the Machine he veers away sound wise and incorporates some rather more oblique sounds to create a captivating soundscape that is quite entrancing.
Man in the Machine is made up of thirteen tracks, some of which are less than a minute in length all clocking in at forty-four minutes in total. Sprinkled throughout the disc are spoken word segments designed to provide just enough of a narrative link to propel the story along. Musically the tone is dark and atmospheric but never angry or totally dissonant. The sound created by Bow features elements of ambient, industrial and ethnic music hewn together into evocative, cinematic soundscapes. While the Hess & Franzen release was symphonic, the music here tends to revolve around more of a rock foundation although it’s a very loose foundation and certainly stretches the idea of what rock music can be. But then that’s what progressive rock music is all about, isn’t it? The story line is about a man who is trapped in his own mind, which as you can imagine allows for a wide range of musical moods and feels to be explored. The music conveys aspects of loneliness, frustration, fear and more. I never mentioned this at the outset but other than the bits of dialog this is essentially an instrumental album.
I kinda’ like these kinds of creations, partially because I enjoy listening to soundtrack albums and have many in my collection; being able to listen to the music while filling out the visuals in my “theatre of the mind” is a bit of a treat. It’s interesting to note this project was undertaken as a fan-funded affair and was quite successful. Man in the Machine may be a bit of departure for Chris van der Linden but I’d say it’s a very successful undertaking. If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary that brings your mind into play, you’ll find much to enjoy listening to the music of Bow.