Sunday, 22 November 2009

Machinefabriek - Manchester (2005)

Although Machinefabriek has been putting some of the most interesting sounds for years already, he only really started getting wider attention from 2008 onwards. Previously primarily self-releasing his recordings, Rutger Zuydervelt has started branching out since then, and has released on labels such as Digitalis, 12k and Korm, in addition to having contributed to the prestigious Mort Aux Vaches series. However, Zuydervelt was already brilliant in those earlier days, in my opinion at least; his earliest output was noisy, primarily (a collaboration with Fever Spoor; discs like Piepshow (Beepshow), Hieperdepiep (Beep Beep Hooray) and Hiss Panic), but newer work would sound increasingly more idiosyncratic and intriguing.

Manchester is a 2005 disc which was self-released on a 3" CDr with very pretty (the only suitable word) artwork to suit the sounds on the discs; the aesthetics of Machinefabriek had since the earliest discs evolved into something often referred to as "gruizig and prettig" (grainy/fuzzy and pleasant, more or less). Grainy electronics embedded in a world of wonder; an appreciation for the littlest thing and a love for the curious among the common. Manchester is largely inspired by a trip to Manchester Zuydervelt undertook just prior to recording; titles refer to people, places (Ryan, Mosey, Bye Bye Bradford), while the songs themselves likewise draw from impressions, encounters (we hear some field recordings; a street musician). The sounds are varied, with the tracks ranging from abstract reverby sound experiments (Curb) to small songs (Ryan). As varied as the disc is, however, all songs share a common aesthetic (grainy and pleasant), while the flow and cohesion Zuydervelt manages to achieve, well, it's quite remarkable. A beautiful little disc which seems to express so many things all at once - a sense of wonder, a touch of melancholy, a grain of hope. Highly recommended.

Very much OOP, unfortunately, though Boomkat offers MP3s of the thing for sale (well, really now...). You'd probably have to shell out for a physical copy (there's one for sale over at Discogs for 25 British pounds at the moment), so just enjoy this digital version instead.


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