Dutchboy weirdotronic Rutger Zuydervelt is one prolific motherfucker. He’s one of these types that seem to finish one project and immediately go, “I’m done. Oh shit … the existential dread is coming. Need something new fast! Okay, what’s next?” He’s an artist that takes pleasure in doing what isn’t supposed to be done. If someone says, “Rutger! You shouldn’t be doing that?!” The guy will fucking do it and smile like a jackal. As soon as you think you’ve defined Rutger, he’ll pop out of the bushes and say, “Gotcha, bitch! I’m this now!” and stab you twice before prancing away in a tutu made out of pixie dreams. Because of this, Rutger is difficult to define. But, here’s a paltry attempt at doing so.
Dude has been making albums since ’04. He generally likes to fuck around with samples and recordings all computer styles and is thrown into that opaque definition of ambient, minimalist, drone, field recording, modern classical shit. There’s a phrase I heard once to define such strange creatures, which is, “He’s an artist’s artist.” Meaning, the motherfucker makes art for those that are already knee-deep in the steez. I don’t think you’ve got to be an artist to enjoy Rutger, but it can still be a pretty useful term. So, it should go without saying, if you’re looking for something that’s easy to digest and without too much seasoning you should run the fuck away and not look back or else you’ll pull a Lot’s wife. Lady got salty as fuck.
This album is what happens when you show Rutger some Instagram. Someone showed him a video of Wei-Yun singing (she’s the singer on track 7 of this album) and he was inspired to make an album. The idea? Find a bunch of singers and tell them to improvise like a comedy troupe on acid jazz night, take that shit and throw it through the Rutger blender, and voilà. You’ve got yourself and album, motherfuckers.
Each track comes with a new singer going all improv. Sometimes they sing, speak, or grunt. Anything they fucking want. The singers on this album are equally as strange and top notch as Rutger. You’ve got: Terence Hannum (from Locrian), Chantal Acda (jazz vocalist that rubs elbows with Bill Frisell often), Peter Broderick (used to be part of Efterklang and now owns shit solo style), Marianne Oldenburg (up and comer), Zero Years Kid (strange, fun, oddly hypnotic), Richard Youngs (experimental, youthful, enjoys the guitar), Wei-Yun Chen (inspired it all), and Marissa Nadler (a folk giant).
There’s an imaginary line in art. One extreme is all about accessibility and popularity and the other end of art is shit so out there it doesn’t matter if the audience exists or not (it usually doesn’t). Because I’m a bit hungry, we’re going to use some food metaphors. In the culinary world, one extreme is like a bag of flour and the other is like a bag of glass. Neither sound too appealing. Machinefabriek is like a high-end restaurant that orders food for you. You don’t get a choice. What comes in front of you can be scary. Sometimes you really don’t want to fucking touch the shit. But, trust the cook, he’s been doing this a long fucking time. Some of this will make you feel uncomfortable at first (more on the ass end of the album), it might even cause you panic. As the album comes to a close, you will have experienced something you never tried before and, once you develop the taste for it, you’ll want more. Hell, this shit might become your new favourite sonic dish. That is, if you’re worth your salt.
5 thoughts on “Machinefabriek – With Voices”
I’ve only sampled some tracks on Bandcamp, but this goes on my list for sure. The flute-like vocal background of VIII (with Marissa Nadler), and the swelling behind her around a minute in. Marianne Oldenburg has a great voice (voices, I should perhaps say). You’re right that I might not like it straight-up, but going in prepared, the little samplers have only whetted my tastebuds. That’s how you can tell it’s successfully experimental, rather than wankishly so. Cheers for this.
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Ya, this album really blew me out of the water as well. So much of Machinefabriek’s discography is really great but I’m always a particular fan when an electronic based musician uses organic material. I’m a fucking sucker for it. It creates a depth to me that might not be as easy for me to realize if it were done in bleeps and bloops. Glad to add another one to your list!
I’ve really been getting into stuff of that ilk lately, with that depth of texture, usually organic but occasionally (I’m really thinking of Björk’s ‘Vespertine’), with a ton of patience, artists can pull it off ‘artificially’. By far and away my favorite is Disco Inferno’s ‘The 5 EPs’ compilation – their story’s brilliant, guitar-rock kids embracing samplers and synths about a decade before Radiohead, and building soundscapes out of running water, bird calls, car horns and all the rest, triggered by MIDI-enabled guitars, which themselves have been drenched in delay (but very little reverb, making for a very specific sound). No widespread fame until the mp3 blog era, and then this stunning reissue. As one dude put it, rock fandom is so obsessed with the idea of the album, to the detriment of EPs and Singles, that to have these 5 EPs held up as the best of DI’s work just shows how stunning they are. Definitely check them out!
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Now that’s a solid suggestion!
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