1. Portal [23:04] MP3 soundclip of Portal [3:00]
  2. We live by the Machines [6:46] MP3 soundclip of We live by the machines [3:00]
  3. Fanfare of Dreams [9:50]
  4. Somewhere in the Distance [5:18]
  5. Running out of Time [8:08]
  6. Search and Rescue [21:54] MP3 soundclip of Search and rescue [3:00]
Tracks 1,3,4,5 and 6 recorded at Skylight Studio March to May 2009.
Track 2 recorded at Skylight Studio May 2010.

Back in March 2009 I began recording We Live By The Machines with view to hopefully recording 5 or 6 tracks before the birth of my daughter Ella. Over a 3 month period the tracks began to take shape and the album was finally completed in May 2009. Unfortunately the original version of the title track We Live By The Machines has been left on the cutting room floor. The reason for this is that the original used some speech samples from the Terminator movies which are protected by copyright.
So the version of We Live By The Machines on the album is a brand new track recorded in May 2010.

2010. Steve Humphries (Create) "Portal" is the first long opus of this new outing by Steve Humphries aka Create.

Mournful pads greet the listener as dramatic effects and subtle melodic bits are added. Little by little a cold pulse develops, wrapped in a blanket of Mellotron strings. The concept of the album apparently deals with the dangers connected with the industrialization and cybernization of the society and the music reflects that idea by being probably the coldest, most detached and mechanical music I've heard from Steve. More sequences are added and a nice floating solo is heard. This is some darn good classic Berlin School stuff. Epic is the word for it. Most sounds fade out before the 15 minutes mark, leaving only menacing tron choirs and a rumbling bass sequence. New sequences are added but the track retains its utterly dark and menacing atmosphere. In other words, this composition is certainly for those who like their sequencer electronica on the mean, bleak and stark side.
The title track surprises with a relatively heavy electronic rhythm and a deep bass groove. Other than that it includes the same basic elements heard on the previous track - Mellotron overdose (flutes this time) and mysterious / dramatic pads. It also is more stiff, with more compact melodies and is overall pretty contemporary sounding - a logical progression of Create's Berlin School sound into the new millennium.
"Fanfare of Dreams" possesses a more metallic tone, at least to my ears. Strictly electronic, the music evolves from a brief atmospheric intro into a sequenced section that starts in a sparse manner, gradually building up the pulsations. Warm, brass-like lead sounds (the "fanfare") are a nice addition, pretty unusual for SH.
"Somewhere In the Distance" is an atmospheric piece. Yes, an atmospheric piece from Create. What it features is some annoying (in a good sense) siren-like sound, a whooshing texture that sounds like processed ocean waves and a slow electronic bass pulse. It's certainly original and is the best piece on this album. It's really imbued with a sense of menace and imminent danger (the revolt of the machines?)
"Running Out of Time" in a way continues this theme, with mysterious windy effects and a mournful lead synth. Then the ticking of the clock makes things even more eerie. Ghostly female choirs add to the atmosphere. And not a sequence in sight!
"Search And Rescue" begins with a really nice atmospheric intro. A galloping sequence appears, supported by even more pulsations, skillfully panned along the stereo field. Even more sequences are added and we enter the familiar Create territory, with multiple pulsations, Mellotron strings and an occasional screaming lead synth.

"We Live By the Machines" is a solid, if somewhat uneven album. The longer tracks sounded a bit generic and meandering, basically rehashing the sound of Create's previous efforts. However, the more concise and tight shorter numbers more that made up for it, providing a unique, mysterious or menacing atmosphere. Especially enjoyable are "Somewhere In the Distance" and "Running Out of Time". Also of note is the beautiful artwork by Jez Creek.

2011. Artemi Pugachov / Encyclopedia of Electronic Music Welcome again to the electronic world of Create, created by the Englishman Stephen Humphries. Some of the best music can come of special moments in ones life. In 2009, Steven’s daughter Ella was born. Back in March 2009 he began recording “We Live By The Machines” with view to hopefully recording five or six tracks before her birth. The title of the album is a well-chosen one. Not only it reflects the world of machines, the world of industrialization, as stated on the great cover which was designed by his friend Jez Creek. Of course, it is also music made with the aid of machines, and there are a lot of them on the cd. On his first albums, Stephen only used computer software for making his music (which also sounded great) but by now he has assembled a vast array of synthesizers and other electronic equipment. But, as also, it is about the music you make with it.

Well, the music on “We Live By The Machines” is absolutely excellent. Stephen has put together six tracks, of which the first and the last one are real “epics” of electronic wizardry.
“Portal” opens with fine effects and than some thrusting metallic sequencer patterns enter the stage, accompanied by Mellotron strings and a great atmosphere. The solos are really fat. This music reminds in some ways of the music the legendary band Dweller At The Threshold has made. What a good start, Stephen.
The title track is rather melodically with a soft rhythm. “Fanfare Of Dreams” is built up very strong, from a single solo sound to fine sequences. There is also room for experimentation on “We Live By The Machines” with ‘Somewhere In The Distance”. But out of the experiments comes something melodically again on “Running Out Of Time”. “Search And Rescue” ends the cd in a great way. This is really how Berlin School/retro should sound. Steaming sequences, strings from the “Tron” and some great soloing. Next to this, the music is built up in a way that only the historic examples from days gone by (such as Tangerine Dream) could have come with. Stephen is a very productive man, solo as Create or with others in a diversity of configurations. No matter what he does: it always shows a big love for the Berlin School.

This love is heard throughout the whole of "We Live By The Machines”, just as the love for the than still unborn Ella.

Paul Rijkens Der Brite Steve Humphries, der unter dem Namen Create seine elektronische Musik veröffentlicht, hat seinem 2009’er Album „Words Just Get In The Way“ im Oktober 2010 mit „We Live By The Machines“ sein mittlerweile neuntes Album folgen lassen. Sechs Stücke, darunter alleine zwei Longtracks, die es auf mehr als 20 Minuten Spielzeit bringen, bietet das neue Werk. Steve befindet sich mit seiner Musik im nahen Umfeld der Sequenzer orientierten Klänge der „Berliner Schule“. Das erste, das mir bei dem Titel der CD einfiel war, das sich Steve als Rahmenwerk eine futuristische Szenerie ähnlich der der „Terminator“-Filme ausgedacht haben muss. Doch sind die Sounds, die Steve aka Create hier erstellt nicht weit von denen entfernt, die er schon auf seinen Vorgängeralben präsentierte. Wer also Create kennt, der bekommt hier die volle Ladung der guten alten „Berliner Schule“ aufgetischt, allerdings in sehr ansprechender Form.

Der Hörer betritt durch das erste Stück „Portal“ die Welt von Create. Das 23minütige Stück beginnt zunächst sehr sphärisch und führt mich gedanklich eher in den Weltraum. Nach gut fünf Minuten startet der Sequenzer und Freunde des 70’er/80’er Jahre-Sounds werden frohlocken. Ein hypnotischer Track, den Steve sich auf voller Länge langsam entwickeln lässt.
Mit flirrenden Sounds und einem unwiderstehlichen Rhythmus startet das Titelstück, das als zweiter Titel auf der CD zu finden ist. Auf diesem 6:46 Minuten langen Track zeigt Steve, dass er es versteht, der „Berliner Schule“ neue Elemente – hier in Form des sehr schönen Rhythmus – zu entlocken bzw. hinzuzufügen. Während er im ersten Track eher Harmoniefolgen aneinanderreihte, hat das Titelstück schon Songstrukturen, denn es enthält eine Melodieführung, die mir gut gefällt. Das klingt retro und doch modern zugleich.
Das gut zehnminütige „Fanfare For Dreams“ kommt als nächstes. Es beginnt mit einer Melodiefolge, die mich an britische Folklore erinnert. In dieser elektronischen Form und mit Flächen unterlegt klingt das allerdings neuartig. Dann schält sich eine Sequenzerfolge (aus fünf Tönen bestehen) heraus, die mich – trotz ihrer Gleichartigkeit - sofort fesselt. Weitere geschichtete Sequenzerfolgen sowie unterlegte Flächen machen aus diesem Stück ein faszinierendes Kleinod.
Mystisch mutet das nächste Stück „Somewhere In The Distance“ an. Es erzeugt bei mir eine gewisse Endzeitstimmung, die zum einen etwas Bedrohliches hat. Zum anderen stehen die Geräusche, die an eine Brandung erinnern, im krassen Gegensatz zu den bedrohlichen Sounds, was diese noch verstärkt. Durch die Sounds, die nach Windgeräuschen klingen kommt in „Running Out Of Time“ eine gewisse Leere auf, so als Stünde man in einer Einöde. Dazu serviert Create einen tickenden Rhythmus und Harmonien, die etwas verstören. Das hat wieder etwas mystisches, trostloses, so als wäre man der letzte Mensch auf Erden.
Den Abschluss bildet dann ein zweiter Longtrack „Search And Rescue“, das es auf fast 22 Minuten bringt, beginnt etwas surreal mit schillernden Klängen, die mich an ein verzerrtes Spiegelbild denken lassen. Eine Art Echolot lässt dann Bilder von einer Fahrt in einem U-Boot, in den dunklen Tiefen der Ozeane vor meinem Auge erscheinen. Mit Mellotronklängen und einer Morseartigen Tonfolge nimmt der Track dann nach ca. drei Minuten an Fahrt auf. Mit diesem letzten Stück hat Steve wieder so einen magischen Track erstellt, der dem Hörer die Sinne vernebelt. Ich habe dabei das Gefühl mich in Soundwolken zu verlieren. Ein tolles Teil, das in seinem Verlauf an Dynamik gewinnt.

Mit „We Live By The Machines“ hat Create aka Steve Humphries wieder ein Album vorgelegt, das mich überzeugt. Es enthält, wie schon seine Vorgänger, eine große Nähe zur „Berliner Schule“, aber das muss ja nicht unbedingt verkehrt sein. Freunde dieses Musikstils, bzw. der Alben von Create werden ihre Freude an diesem Werk haben.
Highlights des Albums sind aus meiner Sicht die beiden Longrtracks sowie das Titelstück.

2010. Stephan Schelle / Germany This release from 2010 offers 75 minutes of stately electronic music. Create is Stephen Humphries.

A slow building structure is utilized to generate moody harmonics that gradually introduce melodic content as the music accrues additional riffs and achieves a delightful density. The electronics are generally cyclic patterns that run for periods, establishing a mounting tension, until lead riffs slide into play, their twinkling notes providing an engaging focal thread as the tunes unfurl. The foundational harmonics constantly evolve, too, attaining their own penetrating charisma.
Percussion is unnecessary for this music. The pulsating nature of the structure supplies adequate propulsion as things surge along to dazzling climaxes. (Okay, one track features rhythmic, but it is little more than a ticking beat immersed in a very mechanical murkiness.) These compositions pursue the concept of mankind living in tandem with machinery, not in some clash of polarized cultures, but the comfortable coexistence we all experience everyday. The electronic nature of the instruments tends to exemplify this union, but the tunes possess a further expression of the point in their sinuous balance of artificiality and humanization.

The melodies are highly organic, very fluid. Very satisfying.

2011. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity It’s from the massive use of the new technologies in communications that Stephen Humphries, the man behind Create, drew his inspiration for the conception of We live by the Machines. An album with tortured feelings and structures torn between the dark world of Ramp and the caustic universe of Air Sculpture, We live by the Machines respects the robotic and cybernetic of technological revolutions with minimalist and hypnotic structures which are flying over by glaucous and spectral atmospheres where Create iodized synths criss-cross valleys of a world obnubilated by machines’ evolution.

Portal is a typical incursion into the mysterious and dark universe of somber Berlin School. A long track where minimalist structures prevail, Portal begins its slow spectral deployment with an intro stuffed with eclectic sonorities. A fine synth wave pierces the emptiness, swaying and criss-crossing in a landscape where songs of whales clear in a mechanic electronic universe. Breaths of synth, sometimes jerky and sometimes morphic, become entangled in a heterogeneous electronic sonorous fauna where spasmodic serpentines fall of oblivion to feed a strong mystery atmosphere. A sequence with alternated strikes emerge from this dense metallic veil towards the 4:30 minutes point. It cavorts and is waddling beneath gyrating waves of an apocalyptic synth and the thick mist of a nasal Mellotron. The minimalism and pulsating rhythm of Portal evolves with more edgy chords and the addition of another more crystal clear sequential line at around the 7th minute, giving more relief to this quite robotic sequential mechanism that a synth line with crystalline chords makes more melodious. The first synth solos fuse. Solos with the sound mark so unique to Create which unfold in loops and are winding around this stealthy rhythm roaming in jolt beneath a dense metallic mist. This rhythm continues its minimalist march until the 15th minute, there where the sequence is isolating itself and enters into a somber mephistolic zone filled of chthonian choirs which hum beneath this intriguing Mellotron fog, whereas another more crystal clear sequence dances there awkwardly until the finale.
These erratic rhythms which progress surreptitiously in dark atmospheres are the basis of We live by the Machines’ minimalist structures. Certainly there is the title track, We live by the Machines, which is a kind of an electronic groovy-loopy-reggae, a little in the style of Weird Caravan whom we find on Klaus Schulze’s Dig It. The tempo skips on a good bass line with notes that wave heavily. It’s rounder and softer, less digital it abounds of nice pads of a slightly jerky synth and suave fluty breezes.
Fanfare of Dreams brings us back in Create caustic universes with a sequence which moves furtively. Heavy, hatched and resonant chords progress of a surreptitious step beneath somber twisted solos and a fine line which swirls such a crystal clear merry-go-round confer to Fanfare of Dreams a sinister and devilish approach worthy of a good suspense or horror movie. Those who enjoy the glaucous and minimalism universe of John Carpenter will be charmed by Fanfare of Dreams, quite as the mysterious and spectral Somewhere in the Distance.
Running out of Time is a long atonal movement where strata and breaths of spectral synths hoot around a hypnotic tick-tock. Held by this only rhythmic movement but livened up by the impulses of a synth with hybrid but rather strange sonorities, Running out of Time brings us near the strange introduction of Search and Rescue which is not without recalling Tangerine Dream’s wanderings and spheres of influence from their psychedelic and even Force Majeure era. Little by little silvered breaths dissipate to make room to this mystic mist which wraps the core of machines in We live by the Machines, whereas a pulsation molds a first rhythmic draft. A rhythm that will be subdivided by another more limpid sequential movement, zigzagging chords and others strummed ones under the aegis of synth solos as much twisted than threatening which chisel and criss-cross this perpetual mist which reigns everywhere around We live by the Machines, as this mist coming out from explosions which drew the end of time in Terminator.

Faithful to him and even if his tracks are long minimalism explorations, Create always remains so mystifying as the bite of its synths. A meeting point between Ramp and Air Sculpture, We live by the Machines is an album of EM which flirts with a dark and biting Berlin School style with a beautiful apocalyptic approach. If it’s true that some musical structures are stretched, on the other side synth solos with silvered spirits which are spattering resize the caustic approach and the cynical glance that Create throws on the evolution of a world which always seems to spin round and round. We live by the Machines won't be a disappointment for Create fans, but an overture for those who like dark and minimalism music and still don't know Create’s musical universe.

2011. Sylvain Lupari / Guts of Darkness Achter de artiestennaam Create schuilt de Brit Steve Humphries. Hij is een 'zolderkamerartiest' die op zijn elektronische tuigen soundscapes bouwt die we tegenwoordig onder de retro-stijl scharen. Elektronische muziek derhalve zoals die in de jaren '70 door Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze en Ashra werd gemaakt. Sedert 2004 brengt Create netjes jaarlijks een album uit via Groove.

De ruggegraat van dit album wordt gevormd door de twee lange tracks die als opener en afsluiter fungeren. In totaal is dat drie kwartier genieten van breed uitwaaierende sequencerlijnen, melancholieke Mellotronklanken en komende en gaande solostrings. Aangenaam om naar te luisteren, al zit de 'pingpong'-sequens aan het eind van het nummer Portal behoorlijk dicht tegen de irritatiegrens. De vier stukken die omsloten zijn door de epics zijn wat saaiig, en hebben als kwartet met een half uur speelduur gemeen dat ze niet beklijven. Gelukkig roept Search And Rescue met z'n 21 minuten wederom lekkere retrogevoelens op.

Create maakt aardige muziek, maar blijft een streepje achter bij net iets spannender genregenoten als Redshift, Radio Massacre International en Free System Projekt.

2011. Robbert Schuller / iO Pages