Machinefabriek – Becoming


A quiet rumbling sine emerges, flanked by wisps of white noise.

After a minute or two, the octaves shift downwards fattening the soundscape, partnered by the odd pop and rumble. Low fidelity orchestrations from a table of pedals and tape machines build to become a beautiful suite of what could soundtrack a creepy seance. Analogue basses form foundations on which to build an equally beautiful suite of straining melodies and lo-fi airs.

Tremelo treated mid-tones creep out from this personal brew and it all evolves into one of the most sophisticated pieces in Rutger Zuyderveldt’s massive canon of works. It’s even more impressive to learn this piece soundtracks a live dance show. The download includes a live mix from one of the shows but survives totally on it’s own as an independent composition.

But back to the CD version, settling now into the ten minute mark we’ve had some deceptively loud mid-tones, kind of phantasms really, which pave the way for some ghostly sequencing. I’ve seen the equipment list. I wonder if this derives from the Critter and Guitari ‘Pocket Piano’ – I know Rutger seems to have every desirable pocket sound generator.

Mangled tape loops (similar to Taylor Deupree’s treatments) unravel in the background. Flatter tundra-like passages follow, mildly post-apocalyptic before an overtly hauntological sample drifts in like a 78rpm Hildegard von Bingen clip (it reminds me a little of ‘O Eucari’).

Another Pocket Piano series of bleeps here possibly, which are treated with minor distortions and delays washed in white noise and given, at times, almost a post-acidic 303 rendering to create a memorable trance-like sequence. Alan Lamb-like contact recordings arrive causing a storm with feedback that never loses it’s sense of discipline and moderation. It’s loud and distorted but it’s controlled and well mixed. This is a very impressive section of the near 40 minute long track.

Is this the best Machinefabriek release yet? It’s certainly massively accomplished by this point. Those contact recordings have broken loose and now kink, bend and spasm at the forefront of the mix. There’s detail in the distortions too before they abruptly burn out leaving behind a kind of tinnitus howl in the background.

Out of a lull builds a feedback loop and the a solo female voice we heard earlier comes back again. This reminds me a little of the Polish sound artist Jacaszek’s Piesni album of orthodox Christian hymns from Eastern Europe. This territory is a welcome surprise from Machinefabriek and showcases a growing mature trajectory of sound design over the last decade.

We are in a slow pedal-organ collapse at this stage – we feel like we are forever fading out and the voice flits in and around the organ to dissipate completely.

A sensitive and very accomplished release.