Fan cd, July 2010
A 19 minute piece made using only sine waves, generated and edited in with the ancient SoundEdit software program. Very restrained indeed. Comes in a nice duotone printed wallet, and pressed on a fancy 'fan-cd' (with a transparent outer ring).
This cd costs 4 euro including worldwide postage
Buy at Bandcamp (with immediate download)
This is a bit of a departure for Rutger since it's made entirely from sine waves layered into a lengthy drone piece. Sachiko M territory then? Sort of, but there's more studio trickery at play here, and it holds the attention better than any Sachiko M stuff I've drifted through.
Duotoon is a single nineteen minute piece composed entirely from computer generated sine waves that have been layered and arranged. There are no dubs or overlays added in to enhance the sounds. It is more distancing at first, than the more immediate Hillary Jeffery Tapes. It has rawness to it that at first listening could be intimidating or alienating. The small changes in pitch, volume and texture brings it life, though this effect might not immediate one. Zuydervelt points out: "There are no dusty vinyl crackles, textural field recordings or grainy guitars hereâ€¦ just pure tones". In Duotoon as opposed to the Hillary Jeffrey Tapes, you'll find the beauty of the machine sound. This sound as you will discover has its own harmonies, built up by a frosty melodic development. The haunting sound of Duotoon gives the listener a sense of deja vu as the middle of the track is hauntingly similar to the first part. Zuydervelt does of course not repeat himself, but rather takes us on an alternative path.
The Line of Best Fit
Duotoon is a single nineteen minute piece which exhibits the most bare work of Machinefabriek. Composed entirely from computer generated sine waves which were then layered and arranged on the old SoundEdit program to offer some semblance of form, it's quite unlike most of his previous work but at the same time strikes at the heart of what makes all of his material so engrossing; there are no dubs or overlays added in to enhance the sounds, just raw waves. It seems initially like a very cold piece which is almost daring to not be interesting but, on closer inspection, it's tiny shifts in pitch and volume as well as natural spurts of dissonance make it a compelling listen. Although generally more immediately perceptible this is the basic tenet on which almost all of his work thrives, an undying dedication to subtlety and naturalism fighting off the increasingly bombastic approaches which are seeping into areas of 'ambient' music. If you can appreciate the quiet artistry in a piece like Duotoon then the rest of his work should almost certainly appeal.
Duotoon, the first of Machinefabriek's two latest EPs, is a single track made purely with computer generated sine waves, layered and edited using an antiquated piece of computer software. It's a simple idea but one which, through the care in which it has been handled, results in an absorbing and far from monotonous composition, its 19 minutes encompassing shifting in volume and intensity throughout, never once sounding jarring.
Here, Zuydervelt strips his sound bare of any textural feature, crackles or glitches, and abandons guitars and electronics to work with simple tones, which are placed in relation to each other and layered to create strange harmonies. This is, in Zuydervelt's own admission, 'an attempt at purifying the Machinefabriek sound'. The result is particularly absorbing. In the absence of familiar harmonics or identifiable sound sources, what Zuydervelt is left with are bare sine waves. In such a desolate setting, the minutest changes in a tone's intensity, hue or appearance takes on a disproportionate importance. And it is precisely these changes which give substance to this piece. In appearance, Duotoon is a cold monolithic mass, but in closer inspection, patterns, albeit loose, materialise and disappear, at times almost instantly, fluctuations in density create subtle nuances in the sonic aspect of the piece and establish a slow yet constant flow throughout.
These may be extremely basic sound forms, the sonic equivalent of the simplest life forms, with no texture or emotional current, but in Zuydervelt's hands, they are brought to life in very effective ways. Whether this will filter down into the textured Machinefabriek framework remains to be seen, but as a standalone piece, Duotoon provides a space for a micro-tonal universe which would otherwise go totally unnoticed.
In krap 20 minuten oscilleert Zuydervelt zich door een spectrum van pure sinusgolven heen. De kunst zit hem vooral in de faseverschuivingen en interferentiepatronen. Dat maakt het ene wat academische excersitie, maar gelukkig verschijnt er op een derde een rudimentaire melodie, wat het even heel spannend maakt. voor fans van Eleh en Alvin Lucier ten tijde van 'Crossings'.
You really need to listen to Machinefabriek with headphones. In a pokey office with a coupla small speakers in it really doesn't work. But stick on some headphones and suddenly it makes a bit more sense. Duotoon is constructed using just sine waves so it's a wee bit different to his other releases. The tones shift from speaker to speaker which at times can be quite disorientating. If you like Eleh's use of tones then you'll like this but this is much busier than the sparse work of Eleh. It sounds like music from an alien planet which is solely inhabited by BBC test card images. It's one of those albums that when you crank it up you'll be taken on a journey which is so often the way with machinefabriek's work.
A most refreshing, back-to-basics composition from Rutger Zuydervelt, new Machinefabriek release 'Duotoon' is said to be inspired by the works of Alvin Lucier and Steinbruchel - an intriguing pairing of influences, but you can certainly hear their respective fingerprints all over this fine concoction. As Zuydervelt himself is keen to point out, there are "no dusty vinyl crackles, textural field recordings or grainy guitars here... just pure tones." A statement like that is itself music to the ears, implicitly acknowledging and shunning elements that are increasingly becoming platitudinous mainstays of the ambient/microsound genre. 'Duotoon' is all about nuanced harmonic interplay and layered micro-intervals, drawing the ear toward clever phasing effects and infinitesimal melodic development. On the surface it's all very simple, but it's within this economical, back-to-basics construction that the piece's great strength resides.
Ik geloof zo langzamerhand dat het tijd wordt om het brein van Rutger Zuydervelt eens onder een MRI-scan te leggen, om te onderzoeken hoe zijn onuitputtelijke creativiteitscentrum eruit ziet. Wellicht steekt de wetenschap daar nog eens wat van op. Grote kans overigens dat hij alle geluiden opneemt en de apparatuur grijpt om er muziek mee te maken. Volgens mij lukt het hem nog wel om met een nagelschaar een klanklandschap te creÃ«ren. Hij is denk ik de meest producerende muzikant met zijn project Machinefabriek. In ieder geval zeker als je kwantiteit en kwaliteit bij elkaar neemt. Op zijn zoveelste release dit jaar, Duotoon, tracht hij eens puur geluid te maken in navolging van Alvin Lucier en Steinbrüchel. Hij werkt hiermee enkel met uit de computer gegenereerde sinusgolven die hij vervolgens bewerkt en van lagen voorziet. Hij heeft daarmee vervolgens Ã©Ã©n lange soundscape van 19 minuten gefabriceerd die een drone-achtig karakter heeft, al zijn de geluiden helder als kristal. Het is haast of hij het maakt met een natte vinger en een wijnglas, zo breekbaar. Dit keer dus geen gitaren, geen platen gekraak of andere afleiders, maar enkel puur geluid. Het heeft alles weg van een probeersel, ware het niet dat je die 19 minuten als gehypnotiseerd doorbrengt; met andere woorden ook compositorisch zit het weer sterk in elkaar en dat is toch wel de gave van Rutger. Ook met weinig geluid weet Machinefabriek te imponeren.
Following a long line of self-released CDRs, mostly on 3" format, Machinefabriek now enters the stage where he starts to release pressed 3"CDRs. And given his popularity: why not? On the cover we read: 'sine waves generated and edited in SoundEdit', which is a rather ancient piece of software (running on OS 9.2). A simple piece of editing software, but with some great potential. It can generate sine waves and has some relatively easy means to process that sound. Maybe as a goodbye to that piece of software, Rutger Zuydervelt decided to use to 'simple' generated sine waves and do a nineteen minute piece of music with it. Its interesting to hear that he manages it to sound like a piece of music by Machinefabriek. Long sustaining sounds, which are always on the move. Piercing at times, high ends and low ends, but then always covered with that ambient like sound that we know Machinefabriek for. A moody piece of music that evolves slowly. A nice, gentle beast. Not his best release (which in his vast catalogue is not an easy thing to spot), but surely one of his better.