Mort Aux Vaches
Peter Broderick and Machinefabriek
with Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra and Nils Frahm
cd on Staalplaat, February 2011
Release of two live improvisations by Peter Broderick and me, and a group improvisation with Peter, Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra and Nils Frahm. Recorded live for VPRO radio.
For sale at the Staalplaat shop
The Mort Aux Vaches recordings, made at the Dutch radio station VPRO under the guidance of Berry Kamer, started out as gig recordings. You know, a band passes through town and play their live set in the afternoon in a radio studio, tape an interview and a program is dully made. After all those years (close to fifteen I reckon), and all those releases, a few weren't made like that. In fact only a few are 'specials', recorded the occasion, such as Pan Sonic's meeting with Charlemagne Palestine. And perhaps this one. At the core we find Rutger Zuydervelt, also known as Machinefabriek, who gathered a few of his guests from various areas to play together: Peter Broderick (violin, piano, saw and voice), both on all three tracks, and on the second piece Jan Kleefstra (words), Romke Kleefstra (guitar, effects), Anne Chris Bakker (guitar, effects, laptop) and Nils Frahm (piano), all on the second piece. I choose 'Broderick & Machinefabriek' as the main artists to headline this review. This extended line-up makes this altogether quite a more musical release, than the solo work of Zuydervelt sometimes is. Atmospheric piano tones throughout all three pieces, meandering violins, layered singing on 'Session III' (which is actually second track on the CD). Everybody join in 'Session II', the third track on the CD, although the cover might be wrong, as they are all credited to playing on track two, which clearly isn't the case, hearing Jan' Frysian poetry here, but perhaps the cover should have read not track 2 but session 2? Almost chamber music like, reminding the listener to play some older records of the Obscure label again. Partly improvised by some of the players, while the real instruments - piano mainly, violin partly - keep it together as an almost classical piece music of music. Maybe the third session could have been edited down a bit, as it meanders a bit too much, but it certainly has that great afternoon live feel to it. An excellent work throughout. It would be great to see more of these sessions of (un-)expected collaborations.
How have here in my sweaty, deranged paw, a "collab" betwixt that sound-tinkering Dutchman & the classically-inclined Swede. It's in three parts, involves a great deal of restrained guitar feedback, reverb, static, crackle, vast acoustic space, moody violin & one of the guests, Nils Frahm, hitting his piano. With his lady fingers. On the second track. There's also lots of violin & piano action from the Brod-meister, amongst all the other wondrous textures here & i'm seriously finding myself wishing i'd been in the VPRO studio to hear this grand, oft minimalist sound swelling & fluctuating into all the nooks & crannys. So the first track is a spellbinding epic that is both gracefully structured but somehow comes across as cleverly improvised. The second movement involves a lengthy hum of ambient drone & has some a spot of silky choral action half way through. Too short it lasts, alas. This track is very minimal & atmospheric with an implicit hint of tragedy about it. The final track is also quite chamber-like & seemingly of minimal style (initially) although there's always something immersive & ear-caressing happening - be it the gentle tinkle or thunk of piano or the fluctuating, willowy tease of strings. Then it breaks out into a wonderful aural dreamland with delicate circling piano, maudlin, grieving strings & some quietly industrial laptop scrunch. Guitars here have their strings teased and plucked right at the neck and then looped which creates this utterly vital chime-like sound that I cannot shift from my mind. 'Mort Aux Vaches' provides a really thought provoking & exhilarating meeting of minds & as a modern improvisational style work, i'm quite blown away in parts!!