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Machinefabriek – Dubbeltjes


Machinefabriek - DubbeltjesI’m not familiar with Machinefabriek‘s work, but on the strength of this release I think a little extra digging into the man’s back catalogue is required. Dubbeltjes (Dutch for dimes) is a collection of small wonders culled from 7″ and mini CDr rarities recorded and released by Rutger Zuydervelt between 2008 and 2013, the tracks being re-presented here in pairs and trios, reflecting how they originally appeared. As compilations go, it’s a really focused piece of work, intentionally honing down the goods to a limited sound palette and fitting into the restrictive time constraints of the two formats without sacrificing any potential in drama.

The album shimmers with a controlled sense of destiny, the microcosmic details Dubbeltjes conjures feeling fresh, intriguing, leaping off the page in sulphite electron smarts as on “Huiswerk 1” and “2” where simple guitar strums are braised on a sampler’s cut-up logics. The symphonic slur of “Hilary,” whose stretched tones linger like a mirroring mirage, full of dysphasic slip and lovely bass depths; the retracting breaths on “Jeffery” preferring to pull at your cranium in a bamboo of tapping brackets adding a disquiet gristle to the dispersing drones: there’s plenty to wrap your head round here.

The “Ontrafelde Tonen” (“Unraveled Tones”) triptych that follows initially jolts the mood with what sounds like somebody digesting a contact mic, a disturbing gastric-choked bubble that bursts into the ghost choir of the second part. Here, a grieving phantom, cascading in spectral surges, staggered retractives, tapering ear drifts of disembodied grace leaves a stress-fractured third to unleash a kinetically destructive concoction of wooden creaks, metallic washes and crumpling keels in  a shadowy P16 D4-like vibe with brief snips of voice occasionally gasping through an eerie imbalance and glassy debris. This mascara-snakes your mind brilliantly, and opens you up for the sufi-like melancholia of “My Funny Valentine” and “Oh Doctor Jesus,” where clarinet harmonies are gift-wrapped in a cheese-wire tracery of electronics.

“Ax” starts all jellyfish-like, garnished in teeny guitar glints slowly succumbing to a banquet of modular nails and waving pulses. The dusty run-out turntablism of “Eeuw” plies a similar tang, twined with tranquil wedges of guitar until the whole looping gymnasium is sedately immersed into a fat reddening of horizon. It’s a brilliantly varied album that leaves the best to last in the shape of “Dances Des Loops,” where separated samples lacuna in a collusive waltz of differing textures, everything sync-slipping nicely, fed tiny touches of disharmony before vanishing into silence.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-


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