Big Red Machine

Big Red Machine - Big Red Machine
Critic Score
Based on 11 reviews
2018 Ratings: #575 / 850
User Score
Based on 218 ratings
2018 Ratings: #457
Liked by 3 people
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The themes running through Big Red Machine are rarely uplifting, but there’s unmistakable joy in the music here, a deep care and love for what they were creating and how they got to create it.

The Guardian

Any sense that this is minor work, just a bit of tooling about with your mates before a proper album, quickly evaporates.

A.V. Club

Big Red Machine is a testament to their individual interests in glitchy improv and emotive delivery.


More a headphones-type album than a radio-friendly one, what emerges are still songs before compositions or productions, though they may appeal to the more explorative indie rockers.

Slant Magazine

Big Red Machine is still best appreciated not as part of the general progression of either artist's catalog, but as a document of casual creativity.


The debut collaboration of Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner is gorgeous and ponderous, a document of a creative process that feels a bit like watching someone get purposefully lost.


Songs begin on an idea and vamp on it long past the point of no return, stretching an EP's worth of brilliant moments into an album.

Rolling Stone

Shorn of backstory, Big Red Machine sounds like Bon Iver and The National freestyling with friends, drinks and vape pens.

Consequence of Sound

There are moments when it feels admirable in its scope and ambition, but ultimately, the pure intentions get lost in the noise.

Here and elsewhere, Dessner will create a near-Afrobeat rhythm on a drum machine, topped by jazzy fills from live drummer JT Bates. This funky approach is best realised on the truly excellent Lyla, a polyrhythmic shuffle anchored once again by Vernon’s sure-footed melody and his calm take on James Brown’s “Uh!” picking out the on-beat. Hymnostic and I Won’t Run From It, meanwhile, are best-of classics of Vernon’s more traditional songwriting style. The ... read more
EN: "Big Red Machine" brings with it a strong folktronica background and invests heavily in that, betting vehemently on these 10 tracks and fortunately the dramatic charge strengthens. However, between qualities and flaws, the lack of distancing itself from the problem that music faces today remains the same. Although I credit the investment, they invest even too much. Justin Vernon's powerful voice turns the album into a performative, circus-like, unbelievable absurdity; which ... read more
There are some tracks I revisit quite a bit. These are Gratitude, Lyla, Forest Green and I Won't Run From It. Not great but these tracks are pretty good.
Fantastic folktronica.

The majority of the tracks on here are based around filtered out electronic drum loops and the production builds upon this loop with guitar, synths and additional percussion, very similarly to 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄ from 22, A Million. This album is nowhere near the same level of experimental nature as 22, A Million but is still a great listen.
Although this album doesn’t hit as hard emotionally as most Bon Iver records, or have the same chaos and maturity as most records from The National, Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner bring the best fitting elements of both parties and make this Big Red Machine. It’s quite a mellow album that feels very sonically fresh and dark at the same time, with the mixing focusing a lot more on blending warped, echoey drum machines with tight acoustic drum grooves from JT Bates, like on the cut ... read more
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Added on: July 12, 2018