“Machines” by Screen Time Has the Cool Vibe of a Non-Dystopian Time Travel Game Searching For the Artifacts of Electronic Mucic Culture in the 80s

Screen Time, “Machines” cover (cropped)

You’re in an elevator in the first ever game designed for direct plugging into your brain and the luminous walls blink slowly with a new tone with each new floor. The game is one where you step out of the elevator into the 1980s except you’re not there to kill Sarah Connor before she gives birth to John Connor. You’re not there to see about preventing the U.S. crime rate rising by four hundred percent by 1988 in order to prevent the president in 1997 from having to play the tape from the cassette collection of a dead cab driver instead of a lecture on “nuclear fusion” to forestall a war between China, Russia and America. You are there to find the original sources of cultural artifacts and their contexts to bring back to a now near future and in doing so you navigate weird business meetings in Hollywood, dance clubs during the development of techno and early IDM, shows to learn techniques from pioneering hip-hop artists and hang with experimental filmmakers who aren’t being coached by focus groups in producing stories that resonate to this day. It’s a strange game but your companion, a mixture of modern production and lo-fi sounds, is Screen Time’s track “Machines.” Plenty of electronic music with a leg of inspiration in the 80s is dystopian in tone or curiously positivistic, “Machines” captures the vibe of a decade learning to incorporate technology into people’s lives in a way that serves them rather than the way things have apparently flipped in the 2010s. While likely not the root of this song, listening to it makes your brain flow in a different direction than usual and that’s a welcome quality these days in music. Listen to “Machines” on Soundcloud and follow Screen Time there as well.


Author: simianthinker

Editor, primary content provider for this blog. Former contributor to Westword and The Onion.