Stage device in Greek and Roman drama in which a god appeared in the sky by means of a crane (Greek, mechane) to resolve the plot of a play. Plays by Sophocles and particularly Euripides sometimes require the device. The term now denotes something that appears suddenly and unexpectedly and provides an artificial solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty.
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Machina/The Machines of God is The Smashing Pumpkins' fifth studio album, released on February 29, 2000. A concept album, it marked the return of drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and was intended to be the band's final official LP release prior to their first breakup in 2000. A sequel album—Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music—was later released independently via the internet.
As with Adore, Machina represented a drastic image and sound change for the band. Nonetheless, Machina, like its predecessor, failed to reconnect the Pumpkins with chart-topping success. However, the band's tours in support of Machina, entitled Resume the Pose and The Sacred + Profane, were far more successful than the Adore tour, as fans responded to the return of Chamberlin and setlists that included far more of the Pumpkins' back catalog.
This record was a lot of fun to do, and the writing was incredibly easy. We spent most of the time trying to take the songs as far as they could be taken down a particular avenue. So if it was gonna be proto cyber metal, we tried to make it very proto and very cyber. If it was acoustic, then we tried to not fall into the (typical) ballad-y kind of aspects. That's where we spent most of our time. The songs were probably written in about a day.
The band took a break from recording in April 1999 to embark on the Arising! tour, which took the band to eight small clubs. At the tour's conclusion, D'arcy Wretzky left the band. Flood remembers,
Billy and I thought, 'How are we going to do this?' We decided that we were going to have to make a very different kind of record. They saw out their time on the tour, and after that we pretty much went back to the drawing board. Certain songs on the record are survivors from that first period, but it meant a shift in the ways songs had to be formed.
Interviews at the time claimed that D'arcy had "completed her work" on the album, but the extent of her contributions on the final album are unknown. Corgan later downplayed her role in all Smashing Pumpkins recordings.
Fans were surprised when the Machina tracklist was released with only five of the new tracks from The Arising! (not including "The Imploding Voice", a reworking of "Virex"). Many of the songs on the album refer to love and relationships (both romantic and otherwise) ending, most of them obvious references to the band themselves. According to Corgan, the album was structured so that the first eight tracks would be "more poppy," and the last five "more arty. More generally, Corgan appraised the sound of the album as "a rock 'n' roll approach with pop sensibility". After the demure Adore, Machina represented a return to the distorted guitar sound of prior albums, though synthesizers and acoustic guitars were still heavily used.
"Stand Inside Your Love" was released on January 21 2000 as a commercially available single. "The Everlasting Gaze", however, was released at the last minute as the album's first radio single in December 1999. Director Jonas Åkerlund shot videos for "The Everlasting Gaze" and album's last single "Try, Try, Try" which was released on September 11 2000. The video for the latter single was not widely played, in part because of its explicit violence and drug use. "I of the Mourning" was also released as a promotional single and received limited airplay. "Heavy Metal Machine" was issued as a promotional cassette but was not distributed to radio stations.
According to Billy Corgan, the original plan was to stay in character as the Machines of God throughout the record's promotion. He explained, "When the re-formed band agreed to the concept in October of 1998 as a way to bring the band to a close, everyone agreed to 'play their part' all the way down the line. I never envisioned that D'arcy would leave in April of '99, and that subsequently the 3 of us would try to finish. This put a stress obviously on the full integrity of the project. Because it was connected to the band not only bringing the music to fruition fully, but also the public component of being in character. I ended up in a broken band with a half-ass enthusiasm towards finishing a project already started.
The animated series has since been "put on the shelf" indefinitely. Various rumors attribute the end of the project as lack of interest from Corgan and/or fans. Three episodes were leaked onto the internet in 2003. There has been debate over whether these were early "drafts" or final cuts. The first two episodes contain no credits, where the third episode shows credits at the beginning.
In the first episode, Zero hears the Voice in the Radio and contacts his old friend and manager, Ruby. Their conversation is intercepted and patched through to the head of the Paracell Corp, Mr. Valentine - who has had a history with Zero.
Episode two shows Zero's transformation into Glass while visiting Ruby and the subsequent negotiations to get The Machines of God their first gig.
In the third episode we see how Glass affects the audience with his message of revolution.
There was also debate about whether or not background characters were in fact the Ghost Children created by the fans. However, one character - Maya, the Paracell psychic - is known to be a character created by a fan.
The album received mixed reviews - Brent DiCrescenzo of Pitchfork Media heavily criticized the album's length, "Wall of Sound" production style, and Chamberlin's drumming. Others contend that Machina brought together the rock sensibilities of the Pumpkins' early albums with the atmospherics and lyrical maturity of 1998's Adore - Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times, infamous among fans for his sharp criticism of the Pumpkins' 1993 breakthrough album Siamese Dream, called Machina "an exceedingly impressive and hard-driving record."
|2000||Top Canadian Albums||2|
|2000||Australian Album Chart||2|
|2000||The Billboard 200||3|
|2000||Top Internet Albums||3|
|2000||New Zealand Album Chart||4|
|2000||Danish Album Chart||16|
|1999||"The Everlasting Gaze"||Modern Rock Tracks||4|
|1999||"The Everlasting Gaze"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||14|
|2000||"Stand Inside Your Love"||Modern Rock Tracks||2|
|2000||"Stand Inside Your Love"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||11|
|2000||"Stand Inside Your Love"||UK Singles Chart||23|
|2000||"Stand Inside Your Love"||Australian Singles Chart||32|
|2000||"Try, Try, Try"||UK Singles Chart||73|