The true test of a great musical town is if it can sustain high level creative output through all the fads that come and go through mainstream culture and if it can generate enough internal inspiration to foster a variety of sounds. Athens, Georgia is no Johnny-come-lately to popular consciousness (remember R.E.M.), but lately the Elephant Six pop scene has largely colored our image of Athens as a pseudo-hippie town that the ‘60s never quite left behind.
Enter Macha, a quartet formed in 1996, who ingeniously combine the great pop sensibility that seems to grow on trees in their town with electronica and Indonesian gamelan music. Macha’s sound is not the result of mere studio wizardry and synthesizer noodlings. Real-life zithers, dulcimers, vibraphones, and Indonesian gongs drive the hypnotic tunes with the able underpinning of guitar, bass, and drums. The result is an exotic, transcendental mixture of melodic drone and trance that soars worlds beyond the pastoral Georgia countryside.