Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music
Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music is the sixth studio album by the American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. It was released for free on the Internet on September 5, 2000. Plans for a standard physical release, bundled with the first part Machina/The Machines of God, were revealed to happen sometime in 2013, but was postponed due to legal setbacks. In an Instagram Q&A, the band's frontman, Billy Corgan, revealed that all legal issues had been resolved. The two albums are rumored to be remastered and released as one in 2019.
|Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music|
|Studio album by|
|Released||September 5, 2000|
|The Smashing Pumpkins chronology|
The album itself, a double LP, was packaged with three EPs full of B-sides and alternate versions. Both Machina albums are loose concept albums telling the story of "a rock star gone mad". Machina II was the last Smashing Pumpkins studio album until the band reformed in 2006, and also their final studio album to feature guitarist James Iha, until his return in 2018's Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun..
Near the conclusion of the Machina sessions, it was Billy Corgan's wish to release a double album of material, but Virgin Records was unwilling to do that following the disappointing sales of Adore. After the release and poor sales of the single-disc Machina/The Machines of God, Corgan then wanted to release the second Machina album separately, but Virgin declined this as well. The band nonetheless returned to the Chicago Recording Company in July 2000 to finish what would become Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music, which was subsequently released on Corgan's own label Constantinople Records. Only twenty-five vinyl copies were made, and were given mostly to friends of the band in addition to radio station Q101. A few of the 25 copies were shipped to prominent fans in the online community with instructions to rip and redistribute the album on the Internet free of charge.. Because of this, all publicly available digital copies of the album are vinyl rips.
The Pumpkins performed a track from the album ("Cash Car Star") on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which also ended up being the band's final television appearance until their 2007 revival. A previous live performance of the song, in an earlier and slightly different-than-final-version form, had been broadcast as a portion of Kiss' 1998 Psycho Circus Halloween special, where The Smashing Pumpkins served as the opening act.
The A.V. Club stated that Machina II reflects "Corgan's obsession with dream-pop, Cure- and Depeche Mode-styled synth-goth, and glam-tinged heavy metal." The album picks up the thematic elements of "Glass and The Machines of God" started in Machina/The Machines of God. Songs like "Glass' Theme", "Cash Car Star", "Home", and the B-side "Speed Kills" are related to Corgan's story. The first three songs ("Glass' Theme", "Cash Car Star", and "Dross"), considerably more intense than much of the Pumpkins' other releases, are a hearkening to the earlier, famous Smashing Pumpkins sound, blending dream pop with arena rock, while "Let Me Give the World to You" has a melodic, radio-friendly sound. "Real Love", which would later appear on the band's Rotten Apples, has a sound reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine. "Home" has been called "simply gorgeous" and compared to U2. The album's closing track, "Here's to the Atom Bomb", has been compared favorably to the Pumpkins' biggest hit, "1979."
|The A.V. Club||favorable|
Because it was not released conventionally, few professional reviews of the album were published, but those that surfaced were generally positive. The A.V. Club called it an "artistic high" for the band. Pitchfork Media opined that the band sounded "energized and at a creative peak." AllMusic stated that "As a high-class artifact and a gift to a loyal fan base, Machina II is a winner. " The Michigan Daily also published a review calling the music "some of the best Pumpkins material to date." However, a more mixed review came from Pitchfork, who noted that "There isn't really any new ground broken here, but the band revisits nearly every style they've adopted over the years", ultimately concluding that listeners should "take this as a proper farewell to the Smashing Pumpkins" and that "it's a nice album to remember them by".
In April 2010, Billy Corgan commented on the album's reception, stating that: "I think the fan response at the time was very positive, as the fans who were around at the time seemed to like Machina II better than Machina I. That said, Machina I is proving now to be the more influential part of the work for many of the younger bands that I've talked to. [...] At the time I saw [releasing the album for free] as a one-time thing. I never thought we would see a near collapse of the music business and its dominant control on how music reaches people."
All tracks are written by Billy Corgan, except where noted.
|Two-LP set (CR-04)|
|1.||"Glass" (sometimes listed as "Glass' Theme")||1:54|
|2.||"Cash Car Star"||3:18|
|5.||"Go" (James Iha)||3:47|
|6.||"Let Me Give the World to You"||4:10|
|9.||"Blue Skies Bring Tears" (sometimes subtitled "Version Electrique" or "Heavy")||3:18|
|11.||"In My Body"||6:50|
|12.||"If There Is a God" (sometimes subtitled "Full Band")||2:08|
|13.||"Le Deux Machina" (sometimes subtitled "Synth")||1:54|
|14.||"Atom Bomb" (sometimes listed as "Here's to the Atom Bomb" and subtitled "Alternate Take" or "New Wave Version")||3:51|
|EP one (CR-01)|
|3.||"Saturnine" (sometimes listed as "Satur9")||4:11|
|4.||"Glass" (sometimes listed as "Glass' Theme" and subtitled "Alternate Version" or "Spacey Version")||2:55|
|EP two (CR-02)|
|1.||"Soul Power" (James Brown)||3:02|
|2.||"Cash Car Star" (sometimes subtitled "Version 1", "Version I", "Alternate" or "Alternate Take")||3:41|
|4.||"Speed Kills" (sometimes listed as "Speed Kills But Beauty Lives Forever" or "Speed Kills (But Beauty Lives Forever)")||4:51|
|EP three (CR-03)|
|1.||"If There Is a God" (sometimes subtitled "Piano and Voice" or "Piano/Vox")||2:34|
|2.||"Try" (sometimes listed as "Try, Try, Try" and subtitled "Version 1", "Version I", "Alternate", "Alternate Music/Lyrics" or "Alternate Take")||4:23|
|3.||"Heavy Metal Machine" (sometimes subtitled "Version 1 Alternate Mix", "Version I Alternate Mix" or "Alternate Take")||6:47|
The two-LP set is the album itself. Corgan has said that the three EPs are "technically the B-sides." CR-01, CR-02, etc. all refer to their released on Constantinople Records (Constantinople Records-Released 1, etc.). The only other Constantinople release, CR-05, was Live at Cabaret Metro 10-5-88, a gift given to fans exiting their farewell concert at the Cabaret Metro. The songs "Let Me Give the World to You," "Saturnine," and "Cash Car Star" were originally written and recorded for Adore. The original "Let Me Give the World to You" was produced by Rick Rubin, and was later released on the deluxe edition of the 2014 reissue of Adore, alongside demos and remixes of "Saturnine" and a remixed version of Cash Car Star.
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A number of a release sources exist for Machina II. All of them are sourced from vinyl (except for the noted commercial releases of select tracks).
This source is from in-house promo CDs made for internal use at Virgin Records (sourced from the vinyl records), made before Machina II was released to the public over the Internet. Two versions of the promos exist, a UK (type I) and U.S. (type II) version, both with four CDs corresponding to the vinyl copies. As it was done in-house at a record company, it is generally assumed to be a high-quality transfer, though some of the faint voices which can be heard in the background before some of the EP songs are cut off, and in general, it is missing a considerable amount of audio between song transitions.
As mentioned above, the radio station Q101 received one of the 25 vinyl copies. It was subsequently transferred to two CDs by the station (one CD containing the EP tracks and one containing the LP tracks). The transfer was done by a high-profile radio station (presumably with high-end equipment and professional oversight) and spectral analysis shows the transfer to be of good quality. Copies were given away as prizes from the station.
The SPIFC transfer was produced from a vinyl copy by a member of the SPIFC. A transfer was eventually performed onto two CDs with "high-end" equipment. The SPIFC offers MP3 downloads of the transfer to members and held a contest giving away CD-R copies. The SPIFC transfer shows a 21 kHz tone which casts some doubt on the quality of the transfer.
MP3 web releases
Following the vinyl release a number of MP3 versions quickly surfaced on the web. A select number of people involved in the Smashing Pumpkins online fan community received one of the 25 releases. Using audio equipment they had immediate access to, these tracks were recorded, encoded to MP3, and quickly released for the masses. Later MP3 releases may be from one of the CD sources listed above or newer lesser known transfers. The Smashing Pumpkins' official site also had the full 25 tracks for download in both mp3 format (at 320kbit/s) and in RealAudio format. In 2007, the album was once again posted for download on the newly reopened SmashingPumpkins.com.
Four tracks from Machina II have been released commercially. These are of specific note, because these versions were sourced from the master tapes rather than amateur vinyl transfers. "Real Love" was featured on Rotten Apples. "Lucky 13" and "Slow Dawn" appeared on Judas O, which was included with early copies of Rotten Apples. The Machina II version of "Try, Try, Try" was one of the B-sides to the "Untitled" single, titled "Try (Alternate Version)." The studio banter that precedes "Try, Try, Try" on Machina II has been removed from this version
- Sawdey, Evan (November 10, 2008). "Smashing Pumpkins: If All Goes Wrong". PopMatters. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
- "Smashing Pumpkins Announce Reissues, New Album". Rolling Stone. 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
- "Machina II / The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music – Press Release" (Press release). Constantinople Records. 2000-09-05. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- iscariotwalkingshade (4 November 2009). "The Smashing Pumpkins - CASH CAR STAR (Live HD)" – via YouTube.
- Andrew Linck (28 December 2010). "The Smashing Pumpkins - Cash Car Star ~ Live" – via YouTube.
- Joshua Klein (5 September 2000). "The Smashing Pumpkins: Machina II: The Friends And Enemies Of Modern Music". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- D. Erik Kempke (31 March 2000). "Album Reviews: The Smashing Pumpkins: MACHINA II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Ned Raggett. Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music at AllMusic. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Ryan Klimczak (28 Nov 2000). "Album Reviews: The Smashing Pumpkins: MACHINA II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music". The Tech. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- "Critic reviews for Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music". Retrieved 2007-06-21.
- Whetsell, Ben. "Pumpkins a Smash on MP3". Michigan Daily. 2000-09-29. Archived at Archive.org.
- Corgan, Billy (24 April 2010). "Smashing Pumpkins: 'There Are Always More Riffs Than Words'" (Interview). Interviewed by Steven Rosen. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Fricke, David (2000-12-22). "Smashing Pumpkins Look Back in Wonder". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Kaufman, Gil (1998-03-04). "Post-Adore Album!". Addicted to Noise. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
- Images and descriptions of all four discs of both promos can be found here Archived 2009-02-28 at the Wayback Machine
- The archived download page is available here
- spfc.org: Discography: Machina II/The friends & Enemies of Modern Music
- spfc.org: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Machina II/the Friends & Enemies of Modern Music
- Shattering Fast Alchemical Glass: Art & The Occult of The Smashing Pumpkins' Machina Mystery
- Download sites
- Archive.org (Virgin transfer; FLAC, OGG and VBR MP3)
- Archive.org (Eric Agnew transfer; FLAC, OGG and VBR MP3)1
- Archive.org (Q101 transfer; FLAC, OGG and VBR MP3)
- Archive.org (SPIFC transfer; FLAC, OGG and VBR MP3)
- Smashingpumpkins.com https://web.archive.org/web/20071019175945/http://www.smashingpumpkins.com/audio_upload/audio/machina
1 The turntable Eric Agnew used to transfer was 3% faster than normal, so the speed and pitch of the music on this version is increased compared to the others.