Our Arms Grew Together

Music for a performance by Marta & Kim

2. V-ing
3. Arms Connected / Kim's Solo
4. Pre-Fashion
5. Undressing / Marta's Solo
6. Atlas Projection
7. Kim's Back / Sixty-Nine
8. Returning

cd/dl/stream, February 2022

Order here

After As Much As It Is Worth and Engel, Marta & Kim asked me to compose the music for yet another dance/circus performance, Our Arms Grew Together. This release presents an edited version of that score, tailored to the album format.

The starting point of the Our Arms… soundtrack was a series of home recordings that Marta and Kim made on my request. As the performance deals with their (romantic) relationship, it made sense to incorporate their daily lives in the music somehow. There’s the purring of their cat, a boiling coffee-pot, the chickens they keep, their wind chime, and much more. These intimate sounds are paired with glowing synth pads and vintage rhythm boxes. I think it definitly sounds more ‘synthy’ than you’re used to from me. There’s even a track (you can guess which one) that we dubbed ‘Blade Runner music’ when working on it…


Vital Weekly

More and more, Machinefabriek's Rutger Zuydervelt composes music in commission for film and television and dance and performance. When it comes to film, I usually complain that not seeing the film makes the music difficult to understand, but today I realized this is not the case with music for dance. Odd, come to think of it, but I am not sure why I feel this way. One explanation I came up with is that, for instance, on this CD, the pieces are longer than on his average film soundtrack CD (well, perhaps any other film soundtrack release, as well). Over there, the music feels sketch-like, whereas on this new release, we have eight fully formed pieces of music. There is also something else to enjoy: the use of a rhythm machine. Not unique in the musical world of Zuydervelt as he used that on his game soundtracks for Astroneer, but here plays a vital role in various of these pieces. It makes for an exciting development for Machinefabriek, going back (perhaps!) to a more song structure and moving away from the lengthy excursions in music. I think there is also a tendency to make the music less careful, which is another development that I enjoy quite a bit. Having said that, the conclusion isn't that Machinefabriek is born again and completely re-modelled. The careful approach, the atmospheric touches, the drones and the tones are still there, but now with the occasional rhythm bursts, the bigger, fatter synth pad (in 'V-ing') or the variety used in samples of real instruments, in 'S-ing'. Hard to identify these, but it all works pretty well. A happily varied release, mixing the best Machinefabriek of old and new. Quite a surprise!

Foxy Digitalis

Machinefabriek’s Rutger Zuyderfelt has such an impressive discography where subtlety and restraint are key components that when he started doing scores for dance performances, I couldn’t wait to hear what would unfold. Following on from previous collaborations with circus artists and dancers Marta Alstadsæter and Kim-Jomi Fischer, As Much As It Is Worth and Engel, Our Arms Grew Together not only juxtaposes the feelings and ideas from the previous two but brings them into a new light.
Expressive synthesizer elements are imbued with that aforementioned restraint, adding distinct texture and depth to the performers’ movements. Hushed breaths on “Pre-Fashion” or quiet bird calls on “V-ing” add a layer of intimacy that spreads through even the most rhythmic spaces. “V-ing” is a perfect example as those early moments of birdsong and distant tones coalesce into minimal beats and glowing electronics, but there’s a real sense of closeness in each synth swell and each plodding progression. Zuydervelt is so good at building this warmth into his music no matter the context.


...Met Machinefabriek is hij nu terug met Our Arms Grew Together, hetgeen de soundtrack is voor de gelijknamige dansvoorstelling van Marta & Kim, zij het dat deze hier ietwat is bewerkt. Het is een intiem verhaal over de relatie van die twee, dus heeft Zuydervelt ook elementen uit hun dagelijkse leven erin verwerkt, zoals het spinnen van hun kat, een kokende koffiepot, hun kippen en ook andere tuingeluiden (vogels, water). Dat geeft al een behoorlijk intieme touch, maar ook de muziek is anders dan ik van Machinefabriek gewend ben. Er zitten behoorlijk wat synthesizersounds doorheen, die je naar verlaten plekken in de ruimte voeren en tevens doen terugdenken aan de synth-helden van weleer uit de jaren 70/80. Aan de ene kant is het geluid behoorlijk sober, maar toch merk je continu verschillende details op. Op de één of andere manier stemt het me ook melancholisch; op een prettige manier hoor. Ik kan daar niet helemaal de vinger op leggen en juist dat maakt dit zo intrigerend. Het is een greep in het verleden en een stap naar de toekomst tegelijk. Elektronische muziek in een soort menselijk gedaante en op organische wijze geïntegreerd met de natuur. Machinefabriek toont eens te meer aan dat klasse in hoofdstukken komt en altijd weer overtroffen kan worden dan wel anders uit kan pakken. Zuydervelt blijkt ook een stille, maar doeltreffende sluipschutter te kunnen zijn, die je emotioneel hard weet te raken. Ik vind het tot de verbeelding sprekende album tot één van zijn beste horen!


Our Arms site

Our Arms site