Posted on Dec 11th 2009 12:50 am

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Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek: Blank Grey Canvas Sky

Blank Grey Canvas Sky
Fang Bomb 2009
06 Tracks. 42mins23secs

Icon: arrow Amazon UK: DLD Amazon US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Grey Canvas Sky is the second time that Rotterdam-based sound artist Rutger Zuydervelt and Peter Broderick, who shares his time between Portland, OR, Coppenhagen and Berlin, have worked on a release, but while the first, Huis, was a record by Machinefabriek on which Broderick was lending a hand, this new collection was conceived as a combined project from the off. And, despite their respective sonic universes being somewhat different, Broderick occupying the classical and folk end of the musical landscape while Zuydervelt’s is usually found crafting cinematic drone, processed guitars and electronics, the resulting collaborative effort is a totally effortless and immersive piece of contemporary music.

Broderick and Zuydervelt create here a beautifully nuanced and intimate impressionist mood, where subtle touches of piano, acoustic guitar or violin brush against swelling atmospheric drones and ambient forms to create a series of dreamy sequences. The journey takes them from the autumnal Departure, on which a fragile piano motif hangs softly over a mournful processed violin and a sombre textured drone, to the equally melancholic features of closing track Homecoming, on which clear waves of piano and violin wash over Zuydervelt’s earthy sound formations. In between these two poles, the pair proceed through the exquisite Planes and Kites, both of which hint at pristine classical forms, as Broderick weaves evocative melodies, played on both piano and violin, over Zuydervelt’s increasingly dense backdrop of decaying sounds on the former, and, on the latter, as acoustic textures are forever drawn into the flowing ethereal landscape which defines the piece’s boundary.

On the following Rain, Broderick swaps piano and violin for an acoustic guitar and, later in the piece, voice, as he first hangs solitary strums onto a sombre hum, then proceeds to build up a more refined accompaniment to his vocal contribution. He is joined in this endeavour by Swedish songstress Susanna Lundgren, whose voice complements Broderick’s tone pretty well as they repeat ‘rain is all sound’ a number of times. The epic Blank Grey is a much more complex affair. Here, the course of the record changes once more and becomes more experimental as Broderick and Zuydervelt incorporate radio interference, distortions and a recurring sample of a football match commentary with stark electronic treatments and both processed and raw acoustic instrumentation. The piano especially gets entangled in reverbs and effects, before melting into much more fleeting forms as processed voices rise over it.

Set apart from both Broderick’s and Zuydervelt’s usual sound, yet totally reliant on these, Blank Grey Canvas Sky is a particularly exquisite collection, where majestic soundscapes and delicate melodies form once consistent whole. The pair have an incredible understanding of each other, their respective contribution always finely complementing that of the other. This particular symbiosis transpires in the music, making this album one of the most successful collaborations heard in years. Simply stunning.


Icon: arrow Peter Broderick (MySpace) | Machinefabriek | Machinefabriek (MySpace) | Fang Bomb
Icon: arrow Amazon UK: DLD Amazon US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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2 Responses to “PETER BRODERICK & MACHINEFABRIEK: Blank Grey Canvas Sky (Fang Bomb)”

  1. Andrewon 12 Jan 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I really enjoyed this album. Thanks for posting. I’ve been a fan of themilkfactory for years.

  2. THE 2009 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 03 Feb 2012 at 12:32 am

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