EP Review: Macro/micro – Clicks
Macro/micro is the electronic music project of LA-based Tommy Simpson. Tommy's previous work as record producer and film composer, including projects with NIN's Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, definitely shows in his music, including the latest EP "Clicks". Let's dive deeper into the record and see what it unveils.

The EP is starts with "Follow", an eerie and abrasive synthscape, that instantly feels like a soundtrack to a big budget sci-fi drama about lost civilizations and cruel space invaders. The track's sonic space is mostly transparent and empty, so every detail has more emotional weight. Each little synth drone or burst of noise could be a sign of a mysterious creature approaching or an unfriendly dark spirit manifesting its existense. The mind of the listener can't help painting pictures of dark caves and lifeless plains of desolate planets, but the soundscape could be the mind itself, whether it's the dark secrets of human brain or even darker depths of artificial intelligence. Probably, both, because the EP's ambition, as the press release states it, is to take us "through the hell-scape of our social media dystopia".

So let's fasten the seat belts and see where the second and third tracks take us. On the surface the second piece called "Like and Subscribe" is humorous, while pretending to be sinister. The main element of the composition is the vocoded voice instructing us to click on the screen, supported by crunchy industial beats and reverberated harp-like sounds. However, the emotional impact of the whole thing, at least on me, is somewhat different. The bizzare synthscape, the drums that threathen to fall apart at any second, the artificial-sounding harps all work like meditative music, and the vocoded narrator plays the part of the calm and emotionally distant meditation instructor.

When the instructor stops speaking, the music continues their job, seamlessly flowing into "Click for More Content", which naturally feels like the continuation of the previous track, not only sonically and emotionally, but, as we've just noted, functionally as well.

Before presenting us with two edits of the previous songs, the EP finishes the narrative with the gloriously short and eerily titled "devoid of meaning and significance". The music is as serene and weirdly reassuring for what sounds like an imaginable horror story soundtrack as what we've heard before. But our vocoded narrator here is replaced by pitch-altered, but still more real-sounding human voices. They vaguely reminded me of police instructions or technical support in panic mode. In the last minute of the EP we learn the truth: there has been no serenity and something is fundamentally wrong with the system and probably requires intrusion from whoever the devoid of emotion pitch-altered voice belongs to.

It's interesting that this brilliant and detailed EP exploring social media and its effects plays with our attention and emotions in ways that are actually hard to describe, much like the subjects of its exploration tend to do. The tracks flow into each other seamlessly, keeping us locked in like a social media feed or streaming service radio. What seems pleasing turns out to be sinister and vise versa. And the more we connect with the EP, the harder it becomes to tell if the narrator is imaginary or real. But who cares if it helps to take our mind away from the complicated reality for at least a few minutes?
Also check out Macro/micro's previous singles including Reassembling the Self, that was used as the closing credits song for the sci-fi short film R.A.E.R BETA 0027.