“Ever-so-rarely an artist comes along to stir your subconscious and redefine the unconventional. I Speak Machine—the experimental music and audio-visual project of Tara Busch and Maf Lewis–is here to show us the way” 

Liza Lentini, SPIN MAGAZINE, April 21, 2022 

Tara Busch is a Los Angeles – based writer, performer, film composer & producer. In 2013, she co-founded the audio/ visual project I Speak Machine with filmmaker/writer Maf Lewis. In 2022, I Speak Machine released their album WAR, and the album was accompanied by an iconic series of videos, directed & created by Maf Lewis. 

I Speak Machine brought the WAR album to the stage in 2022, touring extensively with electronic music legend Gary Numan for his 35-date US tour and 15 dates in the EU. 

Centered around key tracks from the WAR album, Tara’s unique stage persona and performance was carefully conceived as an extension of the subject matter and artistic design of the album. It was vital that the show reflect the album’s intense anger & beauty, while keeping the darkly tongue-in-cheek undercurrents intact. Tara commands the stage alone, donning a range of costumes including pointed leather crowns, military inspired harnesses and uniforms, and vintage cherry-red jumpsuits. 

Shifting in an instant between harrowing, unhinged shrieks to stratospheric, operatic swoops, her performance is wild yet entrancing, featuring dreamlike interludes on her beloved synthesizers to offset the mayhem. The performance is most accurately described by a fan as “Nina Hagen meets Norma Desmond in a head-on collision with Lux Interior”. 

About the latest album, WAR: 

For the making of WAR, Tara brought her works to Sheffield producer Dean Honer, one of the masterminds behind The E.R.C, All Seeing I, The Moonlandingz & I Monster, and producer of records by bands such as Add N to X and The Human League. Over the next 3 years, they co-produced WAR remotely between Tara’s Los Angeles studio and Dean’s Sheffield-based studio. 

As one might expect, WAR recruits a fierce army of synths and drum machines in its production ethos – yet also welcoming into the fold satisfyingly incongruent elements such as woodwinds and both acoustic and bass guitar. Tara’s voice, the central storytelling instrument, is also pummeled and pitch bent, crunched through fuzz pedals and vocoders and even morphed into a vicious synth bass by Tara singing through her vintage Korg MS-20. 

Vocal influences lean heavily toward Jim Morrison, David Bowie, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Poly Styrene & Grace Jones, while musical influences range from Add N to X to film composer legend, Krzysztof Komeda. Album highlights include the delirious, sarcastic love letter to Los Angeles, Santa Monica: “I tried my best/ the ice too heavy in my chest” and the spitting, tongue in cheek rage of The Metal of My Hell : “burn the witch/ burn the bitch…you had it coming for a long time”. The album closes with the broken peace offering, Until I Kill The Beast, where Tara

offersathinlyveiledglimpseataddiction: “Youbrokemetomyknees/thedevil sitswithme/ until I kill thebeast”.

Photo by Michelle Felix

Related Shows