1. SH VT TV (with Steven Hess, Vasco Trilla, Teun Verbruggen)
2. MD EV IZ (with Martin Dosh, Els Vandeweyer, Ingar Zach)
3. TH JS KV (with Thor Harris, Julian Sartorius, Kris Vanderstraeten)
4. GS CV KW (with Greg Saunier, Casper Van De Velde, Karen Willems)
5. JL LS TV (with João Lobo, Lars Skoglund, Teun Verbruggen)
6. SA AJ ET (with Shane Aspegren, Anja Jacobsen, Eric Thielemans)
7. TD RS KV (with Tim Daisy, Rogier Smal, Kris Vanderstraeten)
8. SF AL JW (with Sep François, Andrew Lisle, Josiah Wolf)
9. AB SF JW (with Alexandra Bellon, Sep François, Josiah Wolf)
10. TB SC YO (with Tony Buck, Sylvain Chauveau, Yuko Oshima)
11. ED ØS KV (with Erland Dahlen, Øyvind Skarbø, Kris Vanderstraeten)
12. JL MT VT (with João Lobo, Mauricio Takara, Vasco Trilla)
13. TB YO MW (with Tony Buck, Yuko Oshima, Mike Weis)
14. RA SH JS (with René Aquarius, Steven Hess, Julian Sartorius)
15. RF TH LS (with Rudi Fischerlehner, Thor Harris, Lars Skoglund)
16. LF RF TV (with Leo Fabriek, Rudi Fischerlehner, Teun Verbruggen)
17. CB PE GS (with Cyril Bondi, Philipp Ernsting, Greg Stuart)
18. SH TM JM (with Steve Heather, Tom Malmendier, Jon Mueller)
19. JS EV JW (with Julian Sartorius, Els Vandeweyer, Jim White)
20. AB TB YO (with Alexandra Bellon, Tim Barnes, Yuko Oshima)
21. TF TM ET (with Tim Feeney, Tom Malmendier, Eric Thielemans)
22. TD JS KV (with Tim Daisy, Julian Sartorius, Kris Vanderstraeten)
23. RA RF VT (with René Aquarius, Rudi Fischerlehner, Vasco Trilla)
24. VT KW JW (with Vasco Trilla, Jim White, Karen Willems)
Hello, hope you’re doing well.
I just started a little project, and I’d like to invite you to participate.
Not to worry, it won’t take up too much of your time.
I’m asking drummers/percussionists to record a few short
fills or phrases. It can be recorded by simple means;
a hand-held recorder or even a phone will do just fine.
These gathered recordings will be used as the ‘Lego bricks’
to build a series of short rhythmical collages with.
It would be fantastic if you’d like to join the project...
All the best, Rutger
René Aquarius (Dead Neanderthals, Cryptae, Plague Organ)
Shane Aspegren (Berg Sans Niple, Songs:Ohia)
?Tim Barnes (solo, duo with Jeph Jerman, Text of Light, Wilco)
?Alexandra Bellon (L'Ensemble Batida)?
Cyril Bondi (solo, Diatribes, La Tène, Plaistow)
?Tony Buck (solo, The Necks, Regenorchester XII)?
Sylvain Chauveau (solo, Ensemble 0)?
Tim Daisy (Made to Break, Dave Rempis Quartet)?
Erland Dahlen (solo, Stian Westerhus & Pale Horses)
Martin Dosh (solo, Andrew Bird, Fog)
Philipp Ernsting (Albatre)
Leo Fabriek (Broeder Dieleman, The Julie Mittens)?
Tim Feeney (solo, Meridian, So Percussion)?
Rudi Fisherlehner (solo, Fiium Shaarrk, Not Applicable)?
Sep François (Ifa Y Xango, Book of Air)?
Thor Harris (Thor & Friends, Swans, Xiu Xiu)?
Steve Heather (Heaven And, The Still, Shelter)?
Steven Hess (Locrian, Pan•American, Haptic)
Anja Jacobsen (solo, Selvhenter)
Andrew Lisle (duo with Colin Webster, Kodian Trio)?
João Lobo (solo, Oba Loba, Tetterapadequ)?
Tom Malmendier (nuits, Thisquietarmy)?
Jon Mueller (solo, Death Blues, Volcano Choir)?
Yuko Oshima (solo, Donkey Monkey)
Julian Sartorius (solo, Sophie Hunger, Merz)?
Greg Saunier (Deerhoof, Xiu Xiu, Nervous Cop)?
Øyvind Skarbø (1982, Bly De Blyant, Skarbø Skulekorps)?
Lars Skoglund (Tenniscoats, Lykke Li)
Rogier Smal (duos with Dylan Carlson, Eugene Chadbourne)?
Greg Stuart (Meridian, Michael Pisaro)
Mauricio Takara (Rob Mazurek Octet, São Paulo Underground)?
Eric Thielemans (solo, The Mechanics, Chantal Acda)
Vasco Trilla (solo, October Equus, Phicus)?
Casper Van De Velde (Schntzl, An Pierlé Quartet)
?Els Vandeweyer (solo, Philippe Petit & Friends)
Kris Vanderstraeten (solo, duo with Timo Van Luyk)
Teun Verbruggen (The Bureau Of Atomic Tourism, Flat Earth Society)
?Mike Weis (solo, Zelienople)
Jim White (Dirty Three, Smog, Xylouris White)?
Karen Willems (solo, Inwolves, BARST)?
Josiah Wolf (Why?, Caustics)
?Ingar Zach (solo, Huntsville, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra)
A Closer Listen
In prior years, we’ve described Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) as prolific, creative, visionary, and a host of other terms ~ but this is the first time we’ve described one of his releases as fun. When label and artist proclaimed that With Drums “doesn’t sound like any other Machinefabriek album,” we were skeptical; how could this be, after hundreds of releases? Turns out they were right. We suspect the pandemic may have had something to do with the stretching of boundaries, but this album is a blast.
It all started with an email. Zuydervelt invited a multitude of drummers to submit “a few short fills or phrases,” recorded however they wanted. 42 of them responded, which would make one think this would become a pretty long album. Instead, it’s remarkably concise, 24 tracks in 37 minutes, each piece combining the talents of three drummers, with post-production by Machinefabriek. The end result is what one might imagine if an extensive drum kit were set up on a festival stage and each of the festival’s drummers stopped by for about minute before passing the sticks to the next person. But there’s a caveat: it seems that each drummer tries to make the most of their limited time, contributing a unique or challenging fill or phrase. In other words, With Drums is a celebration of percussion in its various guises, a primer on what is possible. It’s the most one can imagine in the smallest space, an album of fascinating nooks and crannies.
Without a guiding hand, this project might have been a bowl of spaghetti; but Zuydervelt tidies up the lot, making the album flow as a whole ~ a feat whose difficulty cannot be overstated. He had to choose sequencing not only between tracks, but within tracks, and determine how much he could add without tipping the listener to his presence. Some tracks receive electronics, others strings. In deference to the title, a few contain percussion that is not drums: chimes and other struck objects.
If there is a comparison to be made, it might be to Virgin Babylon’s One Minute Older, which spun through a wealth of artists in an extraordinarily brief amount of time. Blink and one might miss a favorite sound or misidentify the source. The initial round of enjoyment is the hearing, followed by a second round of identification: oh, there’s Tony Buck! There’s Jon Mueller, Thor Harris, Cyril Bondi, Karen Willems! As one listens and reads, one starts to separate the distinct personalities, and becomes amazed at the maestro playing match-up, creating compositions out of fragments, and tercets out of individual contributions.
After hearing the puzzle assembled in such a fashion, one has difficulty imagining it any other way, although it’s clear the possibilities are myriad. Might there be a sequel or a series of sequels? We are already imagining the experiment continuing with brass or strings or woodwinds. Or perhaps Zuydervelt will continue to innovate, never content to rest on his laurels, pushing sound forward, or sideways, or wiggling it around until it morphs into the beautiful other.
I can only assume With Drums was an absolute delight to work on. For sure it’s a thrill to listen to. From an artist whose records often suggest a steady-handed sculptural process comes this: a rough bundle of clatter and whim, doubtless assembled with the same care as everything else bearing the Machinefabriek moniker, yet radiating the flustered joy of someone who ran to catch their bus and just about made it. Adopting a mega-collaborative sprawl also used in the likes of Stay Tuned, over 40 drummers contributed short fills and phrases, with Zuydervelt noting that the quality of the recording was unimportant (“a hand-held recorder or even a phone will do just fine”). These recordings were then used as the basis of 24 pieces, with only a couple stretching over the two-minute mark. Each track features three drummers thrust into collaboration with one another via the geo-chrono-warp of post-prod, producing splices of energies, cymbals, tempos and recording spaces, with the resultant amalgam adorned with bells, marimbas, synthesiser pulses and other fragmented miscellanea that thread themselves through the beats like a tangle of Christmas lights. Pieces veer toward overblown drum n bass (João Lobo, Mauricio Takara, Vasco Trilla); others are roughly looped into lopsided grooves (René Aquarius, Steven Hess, Julian Sartorius) or have ribbons of metallic rattle draped from beautiful melodic motifs (Alexandra Bellon, Tim Barnes, Yuko Oshima). All pass in a dizzy flash, and in culmination they celebrate drums and drummers in all their expressive potential: the infinite flavours of snare ring, the alternation between slackened and stiffened limbs, the multitude of ways to attack a cymbal. Absolutely glorious front to back.