Wlfgrl Album Review – By Brianna Latzman

Album: Wlfgrl by Machine Girl

Genre: Digital hardcore, techno

Released in 2014 under label Dread Collective

Key Track: Ghost

Machine Girl is an American electronic pop project, created in 2012 by DJ Matt Stephenson in Long Island, New York. The band is defined by their colorful and complex sound, mainly composed of sampling from movies and other forms of media. Stephenson has stated that he does not want the band to be labeled as “goth”, as he finds the term to be very black and white. The band is named after the 2008 Japanese film titled “Machine Girl”, sampled a few times on their 2014 album, Wlfgrl

When I first listened to the album Wlfgrl, I was blown away by the sheer variability of each of the songs on the album. Although the general techno sound is present throughout, there is no feeling of repetitiveness, which is part of the reason that I was so drawn to it. Although it is difficult to describe the general feel of the album to someone who hasn’t listened, it puts forth themes of betrayal, death and revenge and with a fun and catchy spin. 

There are very few lyrics throughout the songs. When there are lyrics, they are usually sampled. Perhaps the most prominent sampling across songs is that from the 2000’s movie ‘Ginger Snaps’. This album is very much centered around this movie with one of the songs even being titled “Ginger Claps”. Other songs that feature samples from this movie include “Out by Sixteen, Dead on the Scene” and “Excruciating Deth (Phase Y)”.

The album opens with “Mg1”, a song that begins with a few short quotes from the movie titled “Machine Girl” (the bands namesake) and then jumps right into the next song, “Ionic Funk (20xx Battle Music)”. This song is very techno-heavy and relies mainly on fast drum beats. While it is not my personal favorite because of how repetitive it is in terms of the beat and the sampling, it definitely gives listeners an idea of what the sound of the rest of the album will be and prepares them for a similar sound.

The fifth track, “Ghost”, stood out to me the most while listening. It begins quietly, with just a few instruments and a sound evoking a man sighing in the background. It then kicks in to increase in speed and volume. The song is quickly transferred into something that you would hear at a rave. Compared to other songs on the album, I would say this one is tamer than the ones before it simply due to the quieter, slower beats, something that the other songs on the album commonly do not have.

Similarly to how it begins, the album ends with song “Mg2”; a quick chaotic sampling of quotes from the movie “Machine Girl”. The choice of beginning and ending the album with an almost overwhelming amount of sounds is a testament to Machine Girl and the chaotic nature of their music. The band is never afraid to be over the top and never afraid to be non-conforming. 

Overall, this album puts forth a unique sound, enveloping the traditional techno scene with a more experimental edge. I really enjoyed listening to this album and recommend it to anyone who is looking for something fun to listen to, I promise you won’t regret it! 

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