Review Machinefabriek – With Drums

BANDCAMP.

I can only assume With Drums was an absolute delight to work on. For sure it’s a thrill to listen to. From an artist whose records often suggest a steady-handed sculptural process comes this: a rough bundle of clatter and whim, doubtless assembled with the same care as everything else bearing the Machinefabriek moniker, yet radiating the flustered joy of someone who ran to catch their bus and just about made it. Adopting a mega-collaborative sprawl also used in the likes of Stay Tuned, over 40 drummers contributed short fills and phrases, with Zuydervelt noting that the quality of the recording was unimportant (“a hand-held recorder or even a phone will do just fine”). These recordings were then used as the basis of 24 pieces, with only a couple stretching over the two-minute mark. Each track features three drummers thrust into collaboration with one another via the geo-chrono-warp of post-prod, producing splices of energies, cymbals, tempos and recording spaces, with the resultant amalgam adorned with bells, marimbas, synthesiser pulses and other fragmented miscellanea that thread themselves through the beats like a tangle of Christmas lights. Pieces veer toward overblown drum n bass (João Lobo, Mauricio Takara, Vasco Trilla); others are roughly looped into lopsided grooves (René Aquarius, Steven Hess, Julian Sartorius) or have ribbons of metallic rattle draped from beautiful melodic motifs (Alexandra Bellon, Tim Barnes, Yuko Oshima). All pass in a dizzy flash, and in culmination they celebrate drums and drummers in all their expressive potential: the infinite flavours of snare ring, the alternation between slackened and stiffened limbs, the multitude of ways to attack a cymbal. Absolutely glorious front to back.