SR Hess & RM Zuydervelt – Re: Collecting

Although prompted by a dislocation in recent years with the compact disc format – a de facto pull of vinyl fetishisation merging into tape nerdery – the humble tape before decorative finery is still an artifact to behold. Have a look at the reels, and it’s like bark of a tree, a metaphor and symbol of a tale twined up like a ball of wool. On this ‘Re: Collecting’ edition in gold (110 copies) by R. Zuyderveldt (Machinefabriek), members of the Locrian (also a type of rarely used playing mode) crew, and Hess, arrives four tracks of enwombingly warm sonics that feel as human and natural as the placement of a branch.

Having drone diametrics in common with heavy minimalists like Steve Roach and Richard Chartier, the release is a very pleasant swoop through the feelings of abstraction (see the intermission voices that cloud the narrative early in), and abrasion (the mixing of organic hum with the synthetic). In typical Machinefabriek fashion, post-rock arcs and aeolian mode leanings are a cornerstone, dredging up debris of fertile moments of the past and respinning them into fireworks of fresh life. A conversion that is as complex as this release is unique. All the more, it really works to bring substance.

Second track, “Re: Collecting” bears a lovely refrain after the nattering AM/FM radio reels of track one. It sounds as if from a violin, or some kind of string instrument. The atmospheres slipstream like wild fires on a hot tin roof. Constant, chitter-chatter pitter-patter radio re-enters with a echo of Glacial Movements recording catalog. Music equally arctic and ultramundane, transcendentally introspective and refractively assuaging all at the same time. In other words, chilling, bold, calming and synaptically soothing.

The length of the album sits comfortably on tape, at about 44 minutes. By the time “Evenfall” has arrived – piece three – the listener can be found in a state of protoconversative slumber with the previous baby voice samples, very reminiscent, as on track one, “Auroral”, of Sawako – Hum LP. What Machinefabriek may have in common with Chartier, female droner Sawako and Roach may be an interrogation of plunderphonics, the term Mark Fisher of Wire magazine uses to resemble aspects of part environmental tuning, part radio waves on the hauntology spectrum a la Leyland James Kirby. But I would like to think, in the typical criti-contrariwse idiom, that the best types of music cannot be compared. Indeed, “Re: Collecting” cannot be skewered onto anyone’s twine reel, it cannot be remixed, it is unique as such, and it remains, all the while, one of the rarely touched gems of the outer reaches.

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