PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Machinefabriek Explores the Domain of Voices

Photo courtesy of Western Vinyl

On With Voices, Machinefabriek collaborates with an array of highly reputed artists/vocalists, using his ambient techniques to accommodate their presence in his music.

With Voices
Machinefabriek

Western Vinyl

18 January 2019

Rutger Zuydervelt, the man behind the Machinefabriek moniker, has been traversing the far edges of ambient, drone, and noise domains, producing minimalistic works of electro-acoustic experimentation. Since 2004, these sound design explorations have resulted in a rich discography, and Zuydervelt's return now in With Voices, sees him further expand on this path, but with a slight twist. On his new album, Zuydervelt once more implements his sound crafting techniques to produce his trademark soundscapes. However, this time around these are used to surround vocal performances from an array of esteemed guests, which include Peter Broderick, Marissa Nadler, Richard Youngs, Chantal Acda, Terrence Hannum, Wei-Yun Chen, Zero Years Kid, and Marianne Oldenburg.

There is a subtlety in the core of Zuydervelt's work, and that is apparent in his ambient craftsmanship. The start of "I" sees this vision settle in, with Machinefabriek taking on a serene and yet electrifying form, reminiscent of Ben Frost's tactics. Similar is the subtle approach undertaken in "VI", where the minimalistic touch of Zuydervelt sees electronics and audio effects being left aside, and only the synth strings allowed to mold this ambient realm. This approach provides the resulting atmosphere with an organic touch, making it appear as a living organism that evolves through the various mutations Zuydervelt introduces.

The ambient approach provides a fertile ground for introspection, and Zuydervelt expands on his ritualistic setting to bring forth the more towering manifestations of Machinefabriek. That is the case with the appearance of Peter Broderick in "III", which sees the soundscapes morphing around the spoken word component of the track. The last part of "V" also implements a similar approach, which further exposes the ceremonial-like motif of With Voices.

Still, there is room for experimentation towards a different direction within this work, and it becomes apparent when the heavier editing process comes into view. "II" sees the vocal delivery of Chantal Acda being manipulated to great extent, creating a cut-up motif in impressive fashion. The result is a hazy sonic landscape, granting a further layer of abstraction to this work. "V" takes this mode a step further and produces an almost incoherent exploration of samples and sound design techniques. Still, Zuydervelt reaches the zenith of this approach with "VII", using once more this cut-up technique, merging vocal deliveries and field recordings into an amalgamation of harsh sounds.

Despite this tendency towards the stripped down ambient progression and the heavy editing/processing of vocals, With Voices also provides a counterpart to this endless experimentation. The melodic aspect of this work is powerfully pronounced, making a subtle first appearance in the opening track, when the mood tilts towards the serene. The presence of Marianne Oldenburg takes this a step further, as she unleashes an impressive and beautiful delivery in "IV". Still, even more impressive is the conclusion of the record, where the great Marissa Nadler makes an appearance. Here, Machinefabriek take an even more minimal approach, allowing more space for Nadler's delivery, which results in an ethereal final act that concludes With Voices.

With Voices is a very nice addition to the rich discography of Machinefabriek, one that sees the approach of Zuydervelt alter in order to incorporate these new elements to his project. The result is a strong record with a very nice balance between experimentation and lyricism.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.