Machinedrum announces six-track ‘Psyconia’ EP
Fig trees among the unusual inspiration for new collection
Ahead of the release comes the EP single ‘Only One’, featuring Angelica Bess…
The new EP aims to traverse tempos and musical styles, and follows up his 2020 album A View Of U which was released to acclaim, spanning collaborations with A$AP Ferg, Freddie Gibbs, Sub Focus, Mono/Poly, Tigran Hamasyan, Jesse Boykins III and Shelley (formerly known as DRAM).
The six tracks that form “Psyconia” explore the spaces between broken beats, hip-hop, techno and drum & bass. The vocalist on ‘Only One’, Angelica Bess, is a regular collaborator with Stewart and is a member of the New York-based group Body Language. The EP also features North Carolina rapper Deniro Farrar (Leader of CultureRap), the producer Chrome Sparks, and songwriter and visual artist Jorge Elbrecht (Japanese Breakfast, No Joy).
‘Psyconia’ is a portmenteau of ‘psychic’ and ‘syconia’, the plural form of ‘syconium’. In botany, a syconium is a fleshy hollow receptacle, containing numerous flowers which develop together into a multiple fruit, as in the fig.
According to Machinedrum, fig trees historically represent creation and abundance in various religions and cultures. Being the fruit from the ‘tree of enlightenment’, figs represents new understandings and beginnings.
“We have a few fig trees growing on our property and they tend to withstand the harshest climates southern California throws at them, so I found that inspiring,” explains Travis. “There’s also an area near where I live known as Figueroa which is a Spanish translation of Figueira, aka. the Portuguese name for a fig tree. I found these synchronicities intriguing and so I went with it for the theme of this EP. It’s especially relevant to this time in my life in which my daughter has become a symbol of creation and abundance in my life.”
The EP artwork is by celebrated artist Kushagra Gupta (@kushlet) who took Travis’ inspirations and created a fictional musical instrument that looks both organic (fig-like) and alien.
In April 2021, Machinedrum also debuted his ‘A View Of U’ live show online, ahead of restarting in-person touring later this year. The show is a collaboration with Daito Manabe (known for his collaborative work with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Björk and Squarepusher) and his Tokyo-based creative studio Rhizomatiks, who built their own custom ‘4D Volumetric Capture’ technology that moves in real time between the real and the virtual worlds created by Manabe.