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Machinefabriek With Voices Western Vinyl

Dutch experimental artist Rutger Zuydervelt has been making hypnotic, slow-burn electronic music as Machinefabriek for 14 years. His dense back catalogue loops gracefully through stuttering bursts of static, shimmering rushes of melody, and plaintive soundtracks and scores for films and other performances. His work is in the same restless, spectral space as artists like Tim Hecker, or Christian Fennesz. Field recordings, sonic abstractions, swooning cyclical motifs – all of these define Machinefabriek’s extensive discography, and most of which are present on With Voices.

So what’s new? The clue’s in the title: in this (relatively) conventional set of songs, Zuydervelt has assembled eight vocalists to lend their voice to his audio stew. The backbone of the album is a 35-minute composition that each of the vocalists were encouraged to improvise around, bringing to mind the gleefully chaotic David Shrigley album Worried Noodles (where dozens of musicians wrote songs based on Shrigley’s oddball scribblings and poems). ‘Using the voice as an instrument’ is one of those well-worn experimental tropes, but Zuydervelt expertly executes it. Peter Broderick’s burbling brook is especially captivating, his single word utterances punctuating Zuydervelt’s menacing meandering. Marianne Oldenburg’s neo-classical lilt creates a temporary moment of melodic concentration before the clanging, discordant contribution of Zero Years Kid, while Marissa Nadler’s 11 minute closing opus is something beautiful to behold, bringing this strange but endearing album to a bittersweet finale.