Tag Archives: Drone

Machinefabriek’s Experimental Electronic Music Swings From Murmur to Explosion

Machinefabriek

Machinefabriek by Robert Gradisen

The name of Rutger Zuydervelt’s creative identity, Machinefabriek, conjures notions of futuristic industrial dystopias—but, in fact, it came from a rather unremarkable source. “The word, meaning ‘machine factory,’ was on a building that I passed each time I went grocery shopping,” he explains. The upside is that he now has a name that carries with it a kind of cold, imposing authority. The downside is that he’s now regularly approached by people wanting to invite him to things like forklift auctions.

But then again, maybe that could be a good sonic source for him. For nearly 15 years, the Rotterdam-based Zuydervelt has worked both under the Machinefabriek name as well as his own, releasing an almost daunting but also highly varied series of albums, EPs and singles. His work resists easy classification, ranging from louder explosions of sound to minimal murmurs. His stated emphasis is on ‘experimental electronic music,’ a term Zuydervelt says works as well as any, though he adds, “Terms like ‘experimental’ and ‘abstract’ are quite relative, and a lot of my music has an electro-acoustic aspect.”

We interviewed Zuyderfelt—by email, at his request—to talk more about his life and approach to work, as well as how Bandcamp has particularly suited his continually evolving discography.

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On “Concrete Desert,” The Bug and Earth’s Dylan Carlson Destroy L.A.

Bug Vs Earth

Bug vs Earth by Phil Sharp

Kevin Martin and Dylan Carlson have both been making music since the tail end of the 1980s. Martin first made his mark as a chameleonic presence in Britain’s industrial music scene, later metamorphosing into dancehall and dub, and founding his best-known project, The Bug, in the process. Conversely, Carlson essentially picked up his guitar, strummed a single epic chord, and never let go. As the core member of Earth, Carlson essentially invented drone metal, taking stoner riffs to their logical conclusion and, more recently, setting the project loose to explore mysticism and melody. The two artists had been considering collaborating for a long time, but didn’t actually meet until they bumped into each other by chance on the streets of Krakow. “We were strolling around looking to find some cake,” confirms Martin.

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Planning for Burial: The Intimacy of Loneliness

PFB_10_S-Micah-Sedmak-600

Thom Wasluck, who makes music as Planning For Burial, is an intensely private person—so much so that on his debut, Leaving, only instruments were listed in the album credits, not names. I didn’t know who he was until a year after I discovered him; at one point, I assumed they were an actual, multi-member band. This solitariness bleeds into the music as well; Wasluck’s songs explore how intimate loneliness can be. He combines doom, slowcore, drone, and goth-pop and uses it to soundtrack meditations on past loves slipping into mist, and watching days become weeks while bedridden with regret. It’s as if Phil Elverum traveled with Sleep’s rig.

After living in Matawan, New Jersey, for just under a decade, Wasluck moved back to his childhood home in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 2014, to pursue an apprenticeship in the International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators Union. Below The House, his third and latest full-length, was recorded in this home. There’s more accessible material on here than his previous work, such as the heavy, Cure-esque “Warmth of You” and the crushing expansiveness of “Somewhere in the Evening.” It feels enclosed and intimate, and even when it drifts into serene drone or tracks colored by somber piano, it never has the spacey quality that the quieter moments on previous albums did. That’s because Wasluck didn’t have much room to move: he felt more isolated when he returned home, and took refuge in whiskey—a lot of it.

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Daniel Menche’s Crushing Drone and Noise Sometimes Features His Dog

Daniel Menche

Daniel Menche has one simple, specific criteria by which he judges his music: it has to keep him awake.

“Whenever I’m mixing a record, I test it out right here,” the 47-year-old experimental artist says, pointing to the small couch that sits across from the rather imposing-looking stereo in his humble Portland, Oregon home. “I play it on my stereo and crank it up real loud and I sit there and listen. And usually what happens is, after a little while, I’ll fall asleep. Once I wake up, then I’ll know, ‘Well, gotta keep working on this.’”

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Mysterious Composer Eleh Blends Drone and Otherworldly Sounds to Haunting Effect

Artwork for Eleh

Graphics from Eleh’s Circle Four: 100 Gongs for Arieto.

Eleh‘s music could be described as a meditative moan. For the last decade, he’s crafted compositions that are long, slow and contemplative, often warbling in strange frequencies, sometimes barely there at all. It’s so soft that it’s hardly audible, similar to the hum of power lines outside. Other times, its deep bass tones are forceful enough to buckle the air in a room. A note appended to one album reads, “Volume reveals detail.” Another: “Incorporating tones as low as .05 hz (well below the range of human hearing) Eleh is as much of a physical experience as it is an audio one.”

All of the music is made with modular synthesizers, with an ear for the most intricate details of microtonal control. “Eleh came about quite by accident, while trying to sync two oscillators on an old modular synth,” the artist says. “The resultant rhythms from the closely-tuned pure wave forms were infinitely fascinating and entrancing. I forgot about syncing the oscillators, and instead followed this path.”

The artist behind Eleh chooses to remain unidentified—less out of a desire for cryptic mystery than a desire for his music to act as its own corporeal force. “I don’t think of it as anonymous—it just doesn’t have an identity attached,” he says. “Eleh is about letting go of a lot of things you want.”

His process is just as deliberate. “I build a large consonant mass of sound, then take it apart and mix it back together again and find combinations of sounds from within that mass,” he says. “It really is about mixing things very slowly so that they arrive in such a way that you didn’t notice them coming or going—so that things are morphing and changing slowly, beyond the point where it’s perceptible. At its core, it is a meditation.”

With a significant amount of Eleh’s discography now available on Bandcamp, the artist—based not in Sealand, the self-styled micronation in the North Sea off the coast of Suffolk, England noted on his page, but somewhere less-mysterious in North America—picked five especially momentous releases from his discography and talked about the ideas behind his music.

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