If you were to drift asleep for a few minutes while listening to Girl & the Machine’s Hello Earth, you might regain consciousness and wonder if someone swapped out the CD or perhaps you’d think the multi-disc shuffle feature was turned on.
The first full-length album from the band offers a diversity of sounds, atmospheres and moods that change and morph rapidly into each other. Asian inspired instrumentation compliments what can be best described as a throwback to the trip-hop days of the Sneaker Pimps. Add a dash of uplifting electro-synth, a sprinkle of ambient dust, the odd acoustic guitar and an array of languages from the Girl (Jackie Liew) and the result is a blended concoction unlike any other. You would think that so much musical variance would make the the album feel more like a compilation, yet somehow the energy works and Hello Earth avoids feeling like a last minute thrift store Halloween costume.
Standout tracks include “Dharma” featuring a powerful but catchy vocal hook, penetrating drum arrangements and an unusual sense of cohesion. The later part of the album migrates into beautiful music for meditation in “Mermaid” and “Buddha is Sleeping.” This back-to-back ambient combination provides a necessary reflective mood to reconnect with the music after “Honeyjump” demonstrates GTM’s ability to create unsettling attention deficit down tempo electronica. The finishing touch is a simple but solid track titled “Bohdi Tree.” Initially, this piece might get overshadowed by the band’s previous endeavors—but it is well worth the investment of repeated spins.
Individual tracks from this album will find themselves on individual playlists for individual reasons. The title of the band, on the other hand, is a bit problematic as a machine is somewhat designed to repeat a process; the only thing remotely repetitive on this album is the act of non-repetitiveness.