Review: Banabila + Machinefabriek - S/T

By the sounds of it, the sheer magnitude of creative momentum driving this remote collaboration was unforeseen by either participant. Initially expecting to carry the construction process through into early 2013, Machinefabriek and Banabila found themselves caught in a more spontaneous and pacier file-swapping process than they ever anticipated – the slow burn seemingly burst into flames, and I get the sense that the record’s sense of fluidity and constant movement is a direct result of the collaborative “hot-potato” subsequently played out by its two partakers.

In fact, the steady-handed over-analysis and refinement that usually characterises these sorts of collaborations is completely absent – instead, the album is abundant with sudden explosions and dramatic changes in direction that feel more akin to the irreversible actions of an improvisational gut instinct. Take the opening of “Dead Air”, which bleeps and gurgles like a jammed jet plane GPS before erupting into white noise, modem malfunction and trapped intercom voices, like the sound of a catastrophic mid-flight mayday. Who saw that coming?

Elsewhere, the transitions are smoother in their execution but no less drastic in their atmospheric overhaul. The end of “Flares” sounds like a submarine maneuvering a gigantic underwater sewer system (complete with the metronomic, echoing beeps of radar), emerging suddenly in amongst the aggressive electronic chatter and ominous low drones of “Bad Wiring”. Just as the audio files that comprised the collaboration’s building blocks were tugged back and forth between the two artists, the listener is hauled to and fro between unstable circuit rooms and expanses of lush woodland, thrust into snatches of field recording before being sent spiralling into concrete hangars stacked with whirring machinery. It’s dizzying, but there’s a real sense of ecstasy within the total loss of control.


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