SharedImage 109150

Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine (Skint Records)

Feeling discouraged about 2020’s restriction on clubbing? Looking for the perfect substitute for the nightclub experience? Look no further than the pulsating adventure Róisín Machine. Built and named after a flamboyant instinct-driven musician who experienced a key club culture in Sheffield first hand during its transitioning peak in the 1990’s, the Róisín Machine gives a similar sensory feeling to being in a darkly-lit energizing disco bar. As soon as you enter you’ll experience a thick smoke of sexual energy – orgasmic breathing and a pumping beat. But wait, there’s a disclaimer (‘Simulation’), this virtual club’s owner Róisín Murphy is warning us that “this is a simulation, this is for demonstration. This is a lonely illusion. This is my only delusion. This is the realm of my wildest dreams.” You may start thinking that you’ve accidentally infiltrated the most confusing scene in a mindboggling David Lynch film, but this warning will prepare you for what’s to come.

As you reach the ‘Kingdom of Ends’, you’ll start experiencing a swirling euphoria of hallucinogenic voices. These voices will connect with your inner-conflicts and your wish to break free from the routine of work: “Keep waking up at 6 AM, Getting up, doing it all again. In the Kingdom of Ends, at least it’s easier than a comedown.” After acknowledging your cyclical lifestyle you’ll be encouraged to ask for ‘Something More’ in your life. To dream a little bigger. A snappy house beat will be accompanied by Róisín Murphy’s vision of greedy temptation. “A crown upon my head, young lovers in my bed. But I want something more. A private restaurant serving every dish I want.” Your vision of excess could be very different but it’s just a guide, as the message is more important than the content. Murphy is suggesting that we follow in her footsteps by living our lives more freely and adopt some of her erratic impulsive personality: “I live my life with no regret, I put it all at stake/ And if it all goes up in flames. I will only ever have myself to blame”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I32kVCJ08nw

Subsequently you’ll start to feel the urge to move on the exotically-named ‘Shellfish Mademoiselle’ dance floor. Synth-trumpet and clapping beat will get you in the mood as Róisín Murphy instructs you through the speakers to concede to the power of dancing, as both an escape from your problems but also a metaphor to embrace life’s impermanence. “How dare you sentence me. To a lifetime without dancing. When I’m already lost in the groove” As you reach the ‘Incapable’ stage of the Róisín Machine experience, ethereal waves of synths will undulate around you and Murphy offers a hypothetical situation for you to indulge in. Written at a time when the once-Sheffield-dwelling musician was breaking up with ex-boyfriend Simon Henwood – whom painted her portrait for the Ruby Blue experience – it asks if it’s strange and empty to not experience pain when a relationship has ended: “Never had a broken heart. Am I incapable of love? / And I should try and play my part.”

The next phrase could be called the Grace-Jones-emcees-an-Electroclash-rave (although it’s actually called ‘We Got Together’). Murphy is a fearless soul who hops from one record label to another, from one producer to another (this time old Sheffield friend Richard Barratt) and this track could be displaying her hunger for various collaborations. But in the context of disco environment it imagines the pairing of promiscuous dancers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEzBd-UCtNQ

To truly engage with the Róisín Machine you are encouraged to follow ‘Murphy’s Law’. The first rule of Murphy’s Law is to not be afraid of the old adage of Murphy’s Law – what could go wrong, will go wrong. Murphy wants us to learn from her self-taught lesson. She cured her own agoraphobic pessimism – brought on by a bad break-up – by going from “ I’m gonna meet you tonight. Just one match could relight the flame. And just when everything is goin’ alright. All my hard work goes down the drain” to defiantly saying: “What have I got to lose? I’m so tired of complaining. Pretty soon I’ll be breaking loose. And the scenery be changing”. Murphy has stated in an interview that she doesn’t want to bubblewrap her children, so they can feel independent and free to make decisions without hesitation. By following her Murphy’s law she is also influencing her Róisín Machine clients to do the same.

The experience ends with the self-indulgent analysis ‘Narcissus’ and the obsession banger ‘Jealousy’, providing a last surge of retro 70’s disco energy with synth-violin and funky grooves. We may not have the option in 2020 to physically engage in the nightclub culture but accessing the powerful Róisín Murphy machine is the next best thing.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.