Posted on Sep 10th 2008 10:26 pm

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Machinefabriek: Dauw

Dekorder 2008
05 Tracks. 47mins06secs

As an audio collagist, structure is Rutger Zuydervelt’s particular forte, and in this respect Dauw is one of his strongest works to date.  Zuydervelt’s evinces noticeable compositional control over how he arranges and uses a small, considered palette of sounds.

An orderly canon structure builds soberly then breaks apart beautifully in Singel, the twenty-five minute closing track.  Zuydervelt has clearly matured in his ability to recontextualize traditional instruments with small scufflings, rich washes of surface noise and other infinitesimal sounds. They now slither together and tug apart with stealth and purpose.  As the sounds interact and engage with each other, as if in an intricate ballet, there emerge long, loud moans, ghostly incantations, shimmering drones, and murky undercurrents of noise.  These drop seamlessly into place as the different compositions merge and ultimately come across as a single piece.

It’s this remarkable feeling of wholeness that sets the disc apart from the rest of Zuydervelt’s catalogue.  A fastidiousness and deliberateness that is seldom seen, without dulling the music’s edge, enables him to better test ideas for their musical worth and discard or develop them accordingly.  A distant, drifting guitar follows an instinctive, weary gravitas during Porselein, enshrining a dry, weathered melancholy.  Before long, though, gliding overdubs of bells and harmonies and warm filters leaven the brooding feel and give the piece a transient, shadowy elegance, which is carried on and rendered more robust in later places.

The pace at which this development occurs also plays no small part in the experience of this recording.  Zuydervelt shelters the works ceremonious poise under pewter-gray surfaces and repetitive figures that bring with them a disquieting sense of non-specific alienation.  Late in the work, only after a proper period of preparation and waiting, does it come to a head as the title track has its structure deftly reshaped by new piano and guitar voicings, and a hymnal chorus that, in its humble way, is nothing if not rapturous.


Machinefabriek | Dekoder
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