It’s been 47 years since Hendrix passed into the afterlife on September 18th. It’s a risk to cover Jimi’s masterpieces. Not only he was perhaps one of the most mind-blowing guitarist to come out of the late ‘60s after his breakthrough performance in America at the Monterey Pop Festival 50 years ago, but he opened the doors to carry his torch from the realms of Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Vai, and Lenny Kravitz to name a few. But this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of his landmark debut of Are You Experienced? It’s time for Machine Mass to honor Hendrix’s legacy.
With two albums in the can, they’ve released their third release on the MoonJune label this year and follow up to 2014’s Inti release, Machine Mass carrying Hendrix’s torch is a leap forward for both Michel Delville and Tony Blanco. And Antoine Guenet (The Wrong Object, SH.TG.N, and Univers Zero) as an additional member on keyboards and acoustic piano, would make the master himself very proud. Machine Mass takes it to a new level. And the six centerpieces on here, you might want to take note.
On You Got Me Floatin’ Michel delves into the stylophones whilst going into some electronic synthesized mind-control by sending Morse Code into a mad take of the piece as he takes his guitar near the end with a echoing reverb to delve into a hay-wiring effect. You can also hear Hendrix doing interviews which are evidential in the spiritual atmospheres of Little Wing and the closing laid-back textures of The Wind Cries Mary.
It’s almost as if he’s right in front of you almost describing life and what lies ahead for him. On The Wind Cries Mary, there’s this wah-wah groove on the clean tone of the guitar and Antoine’s acoustic piano sets the control for the ship to embark into the milky- way and towards the stars near the end. Purple Haze starts with a drum/piano improvisation both Tony and Antoine reminisces of McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones before Antoine uses the piano for the tritone opening of the song.
And then Michel delves into the late ‘60s psychedelic hard-rock vibe of bringing Hendrix’s classic, not only a task, but showing true honor and spirit that would give his appreciation of Machine Mass’ touch of the song. The synths on Voodoo Chile represent the wah-wah intro that oddly reminds of a record DJ doing some scratches before it transforms into the guitar and the bass drum following suit and into the stratosphere while Antoine delves into a funeral/mourning ominous take intro on Burning of the Midnight Lamp.
You can feels the candles burning as it goes into the clouds. And then all of a sudden, it changes into this Funk-Rock mood with the Organ swirling in a psychedelia background of colors to shine light through a kaleidoscope to see its textures of a dazzling light show. This was my third time listening to this tribute to a master that Machine Mass has done.
And believe me, they’ve achieved it well and spot-on right. Some people may like it, some may not. But it shows that after a few listens of Machine Mass Plays Hendrix it’s quite obvious to get the three classic Hendrix albums (Are You Experienced?,Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland) out of the closet and put your old headphones on and let the record needle hit the first track on those albums and close your eyes and imagine it is the late ‘60s all over again on your old school Califone record player.