Aaron Martin & Machinefabriek – Seeker

Seeker’s retro music is close to failing even after it takes its first breath. With only seconds into the album, its intervals seem to be glued to an old, dusty motherboard predating Windows 95. The opening stuttering points to an incoherent and ruptured album until Aaron Martin’s cello comes in and softens those rougher edges, processing a calmer period within a chaotic life. While the music was originally created for a dance piece entitled Hide And Seek by choreographer Iván Pérez, the record has nonetheless matured into a well-developed piece. Eventually, the score grew, and Seeker was the result. As Machinefrabriek states, it’s “… basically the refined versions of the first sketches we made”.

The cello isn’t without a sliver of darkness, because its moon-shadow falls upon the scurrying electronic clusters. The stark electronics point either to a decaying machine or to an advanced, intelligent and efficient processing system, scanning and then radiating an infinite number of rebooted phrases, while the cello adds a level of grace and composure.

The union produces a strange shapeshifter of a record, jumping from one calm area to an arena of destructive distortion which is still radiant and ebullient even as it falls apart, shining like a migraine-inducing solar flare or a dying star. Like a spell of vertigo, what was once stable suddenly becomes queasy and turbulent, its music twinkling like blackened Christmas lights.

‘Hidden’ introduces a wavering ambient horizon, a brighter, easier and more optimistic light like that of the rising dawn, a brief but beautiful piece of music. At other times, as in the titular piece, the cello is dominant. A thick-skinned drone breathes into the ear on ‘Close to Dark’, bringing back some of that earlier uneasiness. The return of the disturbance is an unsettling development; if you thought it’d disappeared, think again. You never know which way Seeker is going, or where it will turn next. Because of this, Seeker’s well suited to the choreography of a dance. The music weaves in and out, slithering like a long tentacle, a creature beyond human understanding or recognition.

A layered vocal covers ‘Buried Cloth’, draping itself over the music like an unblemished sheet. While it appears to be placid…serene…perfectly fine, a shady core whistles around it, as if the dancers themselves were lost in the malignancy of the dark.


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