MACHINEFABRIEK/KLEEFSTRA-BAKKER-KLEEFSTRA/LIONDIALER: That It Stays Winter Forever (White Box Recordings) / MACHINEFABRIEK: Rural Route No. 6 (Standard Form)


Posted on Nov 16th 2010 01:41 am

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Machinefabriek/Kleefstra-Bakker-Kleefstra/Liondialer: That It Stays Winter Forever Machinefabriek: Rural Route No. 6

That It Stays Winter Forever
White Box Recordings 2010
03 Tracks. 59mins32secs

Rural Route No. 6
Standard Form 2010
01 Track. 16mins57secs

Released to coincide with a series of common live dates in Tokyo, White Box Recordings have collected three exclusive tracks from Machinefabriek, Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra and Liondialer, each around twenty minutes long, onto a very limited CD album (300 copies). That It Stays Winter Forever may be hinting at a cold and desolate time of the year, and each of the three compositions presented here could be interpreted as bleak and deeply introspective, yet there is a current of warmth circulating through the whole record, made more potent by the use of exquisite textures and sounds.

Prolific is an adjective which doesn’t quite do justice to the sheer amount of music churned out by Machinefabriek’s Rutger Zuydervelt in the space of just a few years. Scattered on too many labels to mention, his work, while varying a lot in style, has managed to remain consistently interesting and of high quality. Instuif, which kicks off this record, is a slow evolutive piece of drone-based textured electronic music which, while seemingly remaining fairly static, continuously changes, almost imperceptibly, its warm and rich tone glowing increasingly strongly over its course. Endless crackles and miniature static imperfections scar its otherwise highly polished surface, bringing out the rough grainy layer of the overall sound formation. While totally beat-less, there is something strangely hypnotic developing over the course of this track, like often in Zuydervelt’s work, articulated around the tiny changes in the tone of the main sonic form.

Brothers Jan and Romke Kleefstra, poet and guitarist respectively, and guitarist Anne Chris Bakker have been touring together for some time now, and have so far released one album together, Wink, published last year on Apollolaan Recordings. Like the Machinefabriek track, Dat It Altyd Winter Bliuwt is a slow evolutive piece with has at its core a warm drone. Poet and vocalist Jan Kleefstra drops rare phrases, spoken in Dutch, while Romke and Bakker work up layers of guitars, bowed and strummed, over the slowly shifting backdrop. The progression is not quite as linear as that generated by Zuydervelt though, and resembles the relentless ebb and flow of the tide breaking up on a beach. The trio’s intense processing results in a series of stark contemplative moments which, beyond their natural bleak aspect, reveal some truly evocative settings.

Greg Haines and White Box mastermind Danny Saul have developed a particular live set up with takes them into tiny venues and pubs, where they perform to totally unprepared, and often despondent, crowds, confronting them with guitar textures and laptop processing. They will presumably be expected when performing the handful of Tokyo dates, and whether this will change the dynamic of their performance is perhaps something the pair are keen to investigate. It is unclear whether Mitt Andra Hem results of live recordings, as was the case with their debut album, Live!, published last year, but the lack of crowd noises is perhaps an indication that the track is the fruit of a different creative process. Unlike the two previous pieces, Mitt Andra Hem opens with an almost pastoral acoustic sequence, but, three minutes in, the rumble of a more composite sound form begins to gain presence, and progressively grows as the original acoustic motif is submitted to increasingly wide reverbs and begins to dilute into the dense soundscape towering over it. Half way through, the acoustic guitar emerges once again of the now declining sonic mass, but it is supplanted by a fresh succession of abrasive sound forms, each more impactful and dense than the previous, until the acoustic surfaces one last time in the dying moments of the piece.

Ahead of this Japanese interlude, Machinefabriek contributed to the Standard Form Rural Route series, adding to recent offerings by the likes of Damian Valles, Kyle Bobby Dunn, Martin Clarke, Alex Durlak or The Gentleman Losers. The single track presented here, Halfslaap, is more delicate and dreamy than Instuif. Built around sounds evoking the soft shimmer of a music box or a celesta, the piece never shifts from this template, but Zuydervelt emphasises occasional sonorities and tones by either stretching notes or bringing the warm tones of an organ drone up, as to apply some gravity to the otherwise wonderfully ethereal, dreamy and stripped down soundscape. While this is very much in line with other Zuydervelt’s compositions, placed alongside Instuif illustrates how widely open the Machinefabriek scope is. Halfslaap is as delicate and exquisite as Instuif is sombre and textural, but the latter sits extremely well beside the contributions from Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra and Liondialer, the context of this record being somewhat different. Both released in extremely limited quantities, That It Stays Winter Forever and Rural Route No. 6 are superb exercises in contemporary music.

That It Stays Winter Forever: 4.9/5 Rural Route No. 6: 4.6/5

Machinefabriek | Machinefabriek (MySpace) | Jan & Romke Kleefstra (MySpace) | Liondialer (MySpace) | White Box Recordings | Standard Format

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