The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops is the 26th studio album by space-rock pioneers Hawkwind and is inspired by E.M. Forster’s science-fiction novella (originally published in 1909) of the same name. It’s a story about personal rebellion and technological breakdown in a future in which humans live solitary lives in subterranean cells with all of their needs supplied by an omnipresent machine, and nearly all communication is conducted via instant messaging and video. Dave Brock, who founded Hawkwind in 1969, crafts Forster’s vision of alienation and separation from nature into a set of guitar-based, synthesizer-embellished rock songs reflecting our contemporary reality in which, thanks to Internet dependence, “There is something like you on the screen but you are not seen/There is something that sounds like you but you are not heard.” Sounds a bit grim, but Brock is a hard rocker at heart and he and his bandmates generate a pulsating, driving, electrified sound that creates and illuminates beauty and mystery even in dour circumstances.