cd on Cold Spring, April 2010
The tracks on 'Daas' have been carefully picked to form a provoking, haunting journey. What the tracks have in comon is a sense of nostalgic graininess. As with the music of Philip Jeck, The Caretaker or William Basinski, these tracks are full of degrading melodies and dusty ambience.
'Daas' is the previously unreleased opening track of the album, and feautures contributions by the great Richard Skelton. This track was made as a reaction to the piece 'Koploop'. 'Flotter', 'Koploop' and 'Grom' were previously available on small run self released 3" CDRs. Sold out for some time now, these tracks deserved a wider audience. These three long tracks also seem to come from the same galaxy, making perfect sense when put together. 'Onkruid' was a track previously released on 'A Room Forever', as an expensive and extremely limited 12" boxset, now brought to a wider audience.
Order the album at
Bandcamp (also in digital format)
I'd next like to suggest to all you seekers of semi-conscious meditative states that you check out Daas by the Netherlands' Machinefabriek, whose music appears to exude some odourless otherworldy gas that renders listeners helpless, nay, catatonic. Released on Northampton's always mind provoking Cold Spring Records (www.coldspring.co.uk), this music, mostly the work of one Rutger Zudervelt, is a stone chapel on a hillside in November in the rain; it's a haunted and low-masted Viking death ship drifting under the radar in the fog of night in a post-'Sinking of the Titanic' stylee, a rudderless and drifting motorized cloud fuelled only by dusty 1/2 bit low grade samples and banks of monolithic Soviet-sized robot choirs. But when you welcome Daas into your living room, remember to keep some windows well battened down, or risk turning your home into Odin's autobahnâ€¦ a windy thoroughfare indeed! I'm sure my umpteen Welsh aunts used to keep jars of this Daas stuff in their pantries, for use as bromides when their old men got the twitches. Oo-er missus!
Maybe I've not been paying enough attention but this is the first time I've heard Machinefabriek, the musical project of Rutger Zuyderveldt. Maybe his releases, and there's a colossal amount of them, have been hidden away in the experimental avant garde or modern classical review sections but his work flows beautifully with a microscopic attention to detail. Largely hushed and drawn-out with a depth and beauty these tracks, three of which have appeared as self-released CD-Rs and one on a split vinyl release with Matt Davies combine ambient and drone, with classical and location recordings to create some supremely crafted tracks of disintegrated, lost melodies.
'Flotter' features a quiet featherweight restrained atmospheric drone. The almost tranquil sounds are pierced by the tiniest of sounds: raindrops, metallic chiming. The looped sounds of a crackling stylus run throughout. Gentle buzzing strings gradually gain focus and clarity, and by midpoint the strings are swept up into a staggered and staggering touch of symphonics before it all peels away and leads into an unexpected noisier endpiece. The following track, 'Onkruid', is even more impressive. With its slightly blurred graceful classical music, once again, set against a backdrop of distant crackling. The drifting layers are evocative and quietly stimulating. I can't decide whether it is dreamily haunting or hauntingly dreamy.
'Koploop' takes several minutes to gel before the muted strains of violin and cello form into a shimmering drone. Little sound snippets pierce through as the sound gives way to a reverberating hum. As it progresses the violin and cello, performed by Greg Haines and Anne Bakker, become more discernible to the point it almost becomes a small ensemble of classical players. And just when you've think that's it, the final minutes comprise plaintive guitar strum and some banjo playing.
Where 'Daas' the opening track, a collaboration with Richard Skelton, offers atmospheric location recordings from which arises dusty drawn out cello sounds, coalescing into a scraping drone while simple plucked strings offer a melodic counterpoint the final track 'Grom' offers the closest to a Cold Spring release. That's perhaps because it's the bleakest track here with a drifting drone punctuated with desolate pedal steel guitar playing. It's all sucked up into a blackened hum proving that Machinefabriek are just as adept using shades of grey as they are as they are with autumnal hues and shadowy wintery tones. Daas is definitely a useful entry point to those new to the work of Machinefabriek.
Next album comes from a project that also saw the daylight in 2004 just like aforementioned from Fire In The Head, though this is one of the few things in common between those two projects. Expressively we move right to the opposite side of the sound spectre here. Machinefabriek is a Dutch project from the Rotterdam-based sound artist Rutger Zuydervelt. The composer began his sonic explorations as a young boy taking lessons in piano and guitar but after that he went to the Art Academy of Arnhem, probably giving him the artistic and abstract approach to composing. Machinefabriek's music combines elements of ambient, modern classical, drone, noise and field recordings. His latest album titled "Daas" is an excellent piece of experimental ambient. There is a trend in the ambient world to combine the sound of ambience with modern classical, but in many cases the two styles do not melt and therefore doesn't float as one whole. Machinefabriek manage to integrate the acoustic elements into the digital spheres with a hauntingly beautiful end-result. Everyone interested in ambient music should keep an eye on this one.
For a while there, barely a list would pass without something new from Machinefabriek, but it's been a little while now since we've gotten something new to review, and while this is not strictly a new release, it does feature ONE brand new track, and collects a handful of older, out of print tracks, which were previously available on either cd-r or vinyl, and gathered here, all the tracks, new AND old, play out like an album, all woven together into a haunting sepia tone dronescape, fans of folks like William Basinksi and Philip Jeck and Leyland Kirby who have yet to discover the magical sonic mystery of Machinefabriek would do well to start here.
The new track is based on original recordings of Richard Skelton, aka A Broken Consort, deep rumbling mournful cellos, woven into haunting dronological landscapes, melancholic and gauzy, dusty and washed out, Machinefabriek takes the cellos and adds a patina of soft focus blur, pulling notes into long stretches of mesmerizing shimmer, creating a truly haunting, and truly lovely soundworld of loss and reflection.
Flotter was originally released as a 3" cd-r and is a single track, 22 minute mini-epic, a sweeping cinematic trawl through murky dreamy drones and blown out soft focus buzz. A slow building, constantly shifting, tidal like drift. Huge black swells wash over glimmering glistening shimmers, distant keening drones and a pulsing low end rumble. It's like some sort of Pop Ambient, slowed way down, the fuzzed out dreaminess becoming granular, each note, each layer, every element of the music becoming tiny visible microscopic musical molecules, madly vibrating in little clouds, wreathing the proceedings in an ever mutating swirl of ambient blur, like wisps of smoke, or little clouds of insects...
While beneath the surface lurks something dark, a melodic malevolence that permeates the whole disc, ominous, minor key, mournful, a washed out sorrow, a strange haunting creepiness, lending the track an air of sadness, of loss, but at the same time, the sound manages to be strangely warm and inviting, a little alluring, the soundtrack to some dark personal tragedy long forgotten, a sound that lulls you, pulls you under, and leads you off to some strange land, long after your eyes have closed and your spirit has been loosed. The whole track culminating in an ultra minimal coda of near silence, but close listening reveals all manner of barely audible filigree, lowercase buzz, muted crackle and gauzy melodic shadows...
Koploop too, was originally a 3" cd-r, and once again utilizes a strange arsenal of sound making devices: memo recorders, mixing deck, effects pedals, guitar, banjo, organ, laptop as well as violin and cello (provided by guest musicians), Machinefabriek weaves a breathtaking world of tranquil ambience, all summery shimmer, warm wispy warble, soft languorous drones that flow and pulse like the tides. Near the end it opens up and becomes some impossibly expansive sprawl, almost choral sounding, like some homespun piece by Arvo Part, the strings emerging to flutter and flit, like butterflies after a rain storm. So lovely.
Onkruid was originally released as a split lp on A Room Forever, as an expensive and deluxe boxset, featuring actual art photos on the cover, and pairing up two artists, given a side each, one for music, the other field recordings. Machinefabriek's musical contribution is definitely one of the dreamiest most beautiful pieces we've heard from him, a distant glistening shimmer, over a warm whir of slow surfacing melodies, muted buzz, and breathless soft focus drift. A looped landscape of pastoral shimmer. Part way through the track builds in intensity to a sort of soft cacophony, but quickly drifts back into bleary eyed dreaminess. The track goes on for what feels like forever, ending with a stretch of serene low end murmur, laced with muted sonar pulses and a deep ominous blurred melody that sprawls right beneath the surface.
And finally, Grom, which we never even managed to get for the store, was another super limited 3" cd-r, and combined lapsteel, loop pedals and effects into a haunting almost Morricone-esque driftscape, all atmospheric twang, hushed barely there thrum, a slow building smolder, that builds to something like Nadja style doom, briefly, before shifting back into more dark tranquility.
An incredible collection, and for most folks, it might even be the first time hearing most, if not all of these tracks, and even if you did manage to get some of the cd-r's, this proper cd collection, with the new track, and the gorgeous packaging, is like a still well worth it and totally recommended.
Essential dreamdronedriftmusic for sure.
This is Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt) at his most lucid. Daas is dense and mysterious, midtone gray. Consisting of five tracks, four which had been previously released in other formats. As the title track opens the proceedings there is this cross between pulled tones and tense low-fi frequency. Like the embers in the aftermath of a massive campfire it burns in cold honey-like slow motion. Grom is hesitant, like a scope of some sort, observing a territory or surveilling people. The lengthiest piece here (at just about 20 minutes), Koploop, starts like some type of coy exploration with stringed instruments c/o Greg Haines and Anne Bakker. There's an almost butoh pace, precise and exploratory, as if you can see every muscle move, just so. It's a loop akin to some fine works by William Basinski, yet seems more clinical somehow, a bit less emotionally topographical. The slow-moving piece taunts with a bit of old Western dustiness and a slight subversive strumming that's somewhat trance-inducing over a mechanized cycling sound. Onkruid is the most spacious evolved track here, chilly and sea-faring in its pitch on atonality. It's dark out there, in the twilight of the abyss. The record is dotted with rustic crackle and tiny ignition sparks that fall from the grid, patternless at times. Overall Daas is melodically striated with a lure that seems to be channeling some spirit forms. More ghostly than ghastly Zuydervelt's method for crafting the bottom end really brings out an intimate relationship, activating the listener.
It never ceases to amaze me how prolific Rutger Zuydervelt is and yet the quality of his work is always super high quality. Joining the artist here are Richard Skelton along with Greg Haines and Anne Baker. Here Zuydervelt is in fine form creating nostalgic ambience full of grain and crackle. It sort of feels like a lost archive that's been degraded by time. This features 5 tracks, three of which were only available on 3" CDr. Again a fantastic journey into the mysterious and unique world of Machinefabriek. The sequence of the tracks is excellent and works really well as a secret story slowly unfolds.
Een Machinefabriek release komt zelden alleen of één Machinefabriek release maakt nog geen Lente, kent u die uitdrukkingen? Ik zou ze maar snel uit het hoofd leren, want het is al jaren de realiteit bij het project van Rutger Zuydervelt. Hij grossiert in fraai vormgegeven 3" cd-r's afgewisseld met enkele volledige cd's, die ergens tussen gitaarambient, elektronische experimenten en veldopnames uitkomen. Een enkele maal wordt er een greep gedaan uit die 3"-es om er een volledig werk van te maken. Dat is ook het geval op Daas, waarop een aantal eerdere werken in een kortere of iets gewijzigde versie terecht zijn gekomen, waardoor de trotse bezitter van die gelimiteerde kleinoden zich niet bekocht hoeft te voelen (wat door de fraaie artwork sowieso al nooit hoeft). De cd bevat ook het nieuwe stuk "Daas", waarbij het basismateriaal van Richard Skelton afkomstig is. Een prachtig desolaat stuk. De andere werken "Flotter", "Koploop" (met Greg Haines op cello en Anne Bakker op viool) en "Grom" zijn eerder verschenen als 3" cd-r. Het nummer "Onkruid" is eerder op een split-lp met Matt Davies verschenen. Nu dus als 5 lange composities op één schijf en uitgebracht op het label Cold Spring waar duisternis heerscht. Dat geeft ook wel aan dat deze werken tot het meest duistere van Rutger behoren en niet willekeurig zijn uitgekozen. Normaal gesproken heeft Rutger weliswaar zijn eigen sound, maar zijn werken zijn niet zo maar één op één aan elkaar te knopen. Deze vijf desolate en droefgeestige klanklandschappen trekken echter wel als een consistente soundtrack aan je voorbij. Een gitzwarte maar bloedstollende, wonderschone en mysterieuze soundtrack dat is. Wederom onderstreept dit meesterlijke werk de onbegrensde vakmanschap van Machinefabriek!