Review: Machinefabriek - Veldwerk (2011)

artist: Machine­fab­riek
release: Veld­werk
format: CD
year of release: 2011
label: Cold Spring
dur­a­tion: 67:22

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Veld­werk is a com­pil­a­tion of five indi­vidual works, pre­vi­ously released on small formats or for art install­a­tions. Though the des­tin­a­tions of the ori­ginal record­ings were some­what dis­parate, the col­lec­tion on one disk is suit­able, and the styles of the track are com­pat­ible enough to stand together, but dif­ferent enough to put a bit of excite­ment and ten­sion in this album.

The ingredi­ents are rather typ­ical for Rutger Zuy­dervelt’s music: field record­ings, lots of dif­ferent sound gen­er­ators and equip­ment, most likely, and touches of melody. “Slov­ensko I” couples these found sounds with some loud crashing noises and high-frequency beeps, res­ulting in an opening track that can be quite jar­ring. The long “Rusland” starts with a sparse and calm e-piano melody, slowly decaying into mel­lower notes, and finally a long fuzzy drone and coda of deep notes. “The Breaking Water” settles into rather gloomy dark ambient ter­ritory, with lots of deep sounds, some aqueous samples, and intense rattles that make the track pretty unset­tling here and there. Sim­ilar vari­eties of sound are found in the latter tracks, such as the sparse ticking sounds in “Floor & Radio”, and the subtle beat in “Appollo”.

The very dynamic loud-soft con­trasts are what make Veld­werk an inter­esting series of tracks, but it also makes it a rather chal­len­ging album to listen to. Playing a track or two at a time and listening attent­ively is rewarding, but put­ting the whole album on in the back­ground can be mis­leading. Once or twice, a sudden noise will draw your atten­tion for a few minutes, but the quiter parts can make you forget you’re really listening to some­thing if you’re not paying strict atten­tion. My enjoy­ment depends on the approach of the indi­vidual moment, in other words. All the same, this album can be very rewarding both taken as a col­lec­tion of sep­arate tracks, as ori­gin­ally presented, or as a longer work, but mostly when you approach it con­sciously rather than hanging back and waiting for it to come to you.

Regard­less, it’s very good of Cold Spring to put out ambient music like this once in a while, as the subtle sounds presented here, at times calming, at times dark and uncanny, provide a good addi­tion to an impressive label roster. Recom­mended for con­scious elec­tronics listeners.

reviewed by O.S.


1. Slov­ensko I (7:04)
2. Rusland (17:01)
3. The Breaking Water (9:57)
4. Floor & Radio (5:12)
5. Apollo (21:17)
6. Slov­ensko II (7:00)