Review: Machinefabriek - Stofstuk (2007)


artist: Machine­fab­riek
release: Stof­s­tuk
format: Busi­ness­card CD-R
year of release: 2007
label: Self-released
dur­a­tion: 5:29

Machine­fab­riek is the musical iden­tity of Dutch­man Rut­ger Zuy­dervelt, and he has carved out quite a repu­ta­tion for him­self in both the Dutch and inter­na­tional scene of exper­i­mental elec­tronic music. This is one of the first releases I hear from him, but judging from this and a few other impres­sions, I can con­firm that this pos­it­ive repu­ta­tion is very much deserved.

Stof­s­tuk is a true single, released on a busi­ness card format CD-R, which is basic­ally a 3″ with two bits cut off, redu­cing the data capa­city to a mere 60 MB. Enough to house this one track though, which was com­posed to accom­pany a gradu­ation pro­ject (art, I take it) of one Yvette Geelen. The track was recor­ded using only a singing bowl and a vinyl record, and of course record­ing equip­ment and digital manip­u­la­tion.

The track starts with the soft swell of the singing bowl drone, digit­ally lowered in tone, I think. Soft vinyl crackles accom­pany it, and mul­tiple lay­ers of drone, still very low in volume, cre­ate more space. After a while, the actual high tone of the singing bowl sounds once, and fades away, leav­ing only the soft drone again. Halfway into the track, there is a twist, and now all ele­ments are com­bined. We hear both a low and a high pail on the bowl, and the drones and crackles intensify. Near the end of the track, it is as if the bowl doesn’t exist itself any­more, but only on the vinyl record, which loops and warps, slowly fad­ing away into silence.

As you may have noticed from this descrip­tion, Stof­s­tuk is both extremely min­imal, but reward­ing at the same time, if you have the patience for it, and a quiet atmo­sphere. There­fore, this is truly some­thing for those who are deep into sound-explorations, because it’s not very access­ible. If you do have a feel­ing for such things, this track shows that Zuy­dervelt has a great tal­ent for this kind of thing. So, if you think you can handle it, it’s worth pick­ing up this cheap little single, which is one of a stead­ily increas­ing amount of releases by Machine­fab­riek. Rut­ger is a rising star in the world of aural explor­a­tion, and it’s also nice to encounter tal­ent from my own coun­try for once.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Stof­s­tuk (5:29)