Machinedrum Announces New Album 3FOR82

Machinedrum took a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, California, to seek clarity and inspiration for what became his new album 3FOR82
Machinedrum and Tinashe press shot Credit: James King

For his 41st birthday, on March 4th last year, Travis Stewart took a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, California, to seek clarity and inspiration for what became his new album 3FOR82. “I’ve been to Joshua Tree many times and I’ve always felt a great sense of clarity every time I visit,” Stewart explains, “and I knew that I should, at some point in my life, go out there to work on something creatively.” 3FOR82’s lead single “ZOOM”, featuring Tinashe. the album is due for release on May 24th, through Ninja Tune, accompanied by a boutique printed zine, co-designed with visual artist and LuckyMe affiliate Joseph Durnan [124 World]. Given that Ninja Tune was one of young Travis’ favourite labels.

On The forthcoming album, Stewart weaves in a crew of collaborators. Jesse Boykins III, the album’s co-executive producer and a close friend of Stewart, leads with various contributions; while a ritzy cast including Tinashe, KUČKA, Duckwrth, AKTHESAVIOR, Mick Jenkins, Ezri, Tanerélle, Deniro Farrar, Topaz Jones, deem spencer, aja monet, ROZET, Will Johnson and Ian Maciak rounds the record off.

In the quiet vastness of Joshua Tree, Machinedrum combed through old harddrives full of his late-’90s beats: many of them were made on Impulse Tracker, a rough freeware programme that lay untouched for the better part of a quarter-century. “That’s really where I cut my teeth in electronic music-making,” he remembers. Although he’s been a committed Ableton Live user for years, “there’s been a yearning for me to tap back into that older self; the software is super limiting, and there’s a unique creativity that comes out of limitations.”

After finding a DOS emulator that would run Impulse Tracker, he recorded himself playing and riffing off these beats to build ‘3FOR82’; sample by sample, he made original sound banks that could be fed into a dedicated library, giving 3FOR82 a distinct tone. “From there, there was no going back,” Stewart smiles. “It bridged the gap between my past and future self”. This period included recording himself and his environment with a VHS camera, then running the footage audio into the tracker, creating a meta-library of sounds.

Solitude wasn’t the only parameter Stewart set for the process of making 3FOR82. Time was a defining element of his creativity, too. “I went from that seed collecting phase into a pure experimentation and creation phase,” he says. “I gave myself one month to start as many track ideas as possible: over that month, I created around 45 different ideas; then, I decided which ones were the strongest, and focused on them for the album. The ones that I gravitated to really just had these natural pockets for vocals.”

Pre-order 3FOR82 by Machinedrum HERE


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