Review: Tim Catlin & Machinefabriek – Patina

For their second collaboration, Tim Catlin and Rutger Zuydervelt (aka Machinefabriek) stick to the construction process established in their first outing – Catlin prepares recordings for guitar and sitar, and then sends them onto Zuydervelt to be sequenced, added to, processed, completed. It’s a method that tends to achieve very different results to real-time collaboration; gone is the hesitance and self-consciousness of collaborative etiquette. Both artists are provided their own creative space with which to gather and express their ideas, and whilst it doesn’t allow for the of-the-moment dynamic flexing that occurs when musicians can sonically respond to and converse with eachother, this method seems to have worked well in the case of Patina.

“Side A” is undoubtedly the stronger of these two pieces. The music here is lively and warm; even the electronic static rustles with organic movement, and smothers the acoustic tones to leave them sounding like broken, unearthed relics. Stretches of free drone rise and fall in fuzzy waves, but these collapse before Patina sinks in too deep. Often the mood of the piece is completely inverted during these moments yet transitions never feel arbitrary, fading from ghostly female choir into fierce factory machinery hums into light glacial guitar, patched together with a loose, dream-like logic. Its 17-minute duration passes in no time at all, and yet the first half of Patina manages to cover an impressive amount of ground. “Side B” is comparatively weaker, settling into a flat dronescape for the vast majority of its 16 minutes. This is slightly redeemed by the ritualistic plod of drums that makes an unexpected entrance in the first half, as well as by soft, spilling improvisation of the final two minutes, and whilst it’s not entirely unpleasant, the piece feels frustratingly static after the rich and dynamic collage of “Side A”.

But even during Patina’s less inspiring moments, the music never sounds like “Catlin remixed”. It’s clear to see why the pair have picked up the tried-and-tested collaboration method from the first time round; Machinefabriek’s contributions are seamless and leave little basis for guessing where each collaborator ends and begins.