The Difference Engine (check out the original source of the moniker) is Auckland-based Michael Travis, who has been making his own breed of electronica since before his 2006 self-titled debut. Self-described as “blending analogue and digital sound sources across multiple genres, such as trip hop, wristcutting, breakcore, Lithuanian folk, IDM and industrial”, it’s fair to say Travis does not want to limit the interpretations of his compositions.
A mix of instrumentals and collaborations with writers/vocalists such as Jo Morris show plenty of different ideas, samples and tangents. With other ‘likes’ including NIN, Sunflower Blue and Dead Can Dance, a healthy musical diet has led to an interesting, stimulating album – or collection of ideas as it’s maybe increasingly becoming known in the download age. Among the glitchy sounds are core roots of composition on piano and clever, samples that add a nice old school touch in the anarchic sense of music. There is an overall coherence to the project, older analogue and digital sounds combining with more current ones. Inspired re-mixes include Room Noir, Vangelis, Enigma. Living and breathing in that space between trance and drum n’ bass, and all that lies between – Future Sound Of London would also be a reference point. Worth investigating. Find him on Bandcamp.