When Anna Vtorova debuted as Machine Woman in 2014 with the abrasive ‘Pink Silk’ cassette, following up with releases on Peder Mannerfelt Produktion and Sacred Tapes, it looked like she’d set a clear path for herself. Her Sähkö-indebted experiments seemed best suited to rather sedate gigs in converted industrial spaces. The last two releases have seen Vtorova explore a new path however.
2016’s ‘Genau House’ EP on Where To Now? saw smoked-out waves of reductionist house offset with Vtorova’s home-recorded vocals, creating a sultry and expressive 12” packed with character and unexpected twists. Her latest 12”, ‘When Lobster Comes Home’, released on Ninja Tune subsidiary Technicolour Recordings follows a similar, yet more assertive blueprint; it’s attuned to the dancefloor more than anything else.
The release is an intriguing mix of infectious house grooves and glitched-out abstractions, pushed to their very limits. ‘Camile From OHM Makes Me Feel Loved’ places buoyant bass motifs against dusty, Workshop-style synth play and grainy house rhythms. Stuttered vocals roll out in languid chants, calling to mind the kind of protracted vocal experiments found in Madteo’s 2012 LP, Noi No.
‘But It Was Like 30 Intros In A Row’ takes proceedings into even wilder terrain; the track sounds like it has been put through an industrial shredder several times over before being stuck back together in haphazard fashion. It’s funk-laced and rammed with energy, making a nice lead into the closer, ‘I Want To Fuck Tech House’, which sounds something like Actress writing the loading music for a mid-90s arcade game. High-sheen arpeggios and guttural vocal manipulations reach dizzying heights atop buzzing, malfunctioned grooves.
Vtorova has always approached this stuff with a sense of fun, and the track titles for this latest release suggest nothing’s changed. It’s nice to see a relatively new artist experimenting with some quite radically different styles to her former pursuits, especially when she has already seen great success in those areas.