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.

Track­list:

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)