Review: Stephen Vitiello & Machinefabriek - Birds In A Box

Great concept behind this one. Vitiello and Zuydervelt (aka Machinefabriek) sent each other a box of “non-musical” objects to play with; the sounds of which have been twisted, processed and arranged into compositions. Central to Birds In A Box is that initial sense of curiosity and discovery – the first glance into the box, the first excitable fumble through its contents, and most prominently, those first tentative and unpredictable experiments with the various objects inside. A majority of these sounds seem to have been left relatively untouched in the processing stage, and thus the element of human interaction has been retained. Many of the components sound manhandled, shaken between clasped hands or pounded firmly on worktops, with the listener granted very intimate access to the creation process behind it all.

Focus is on texture, with tonality applied only in supportive strokes. Birds In A Box excels during its most unusual constructions – when the phased exhalations of inflating balloons run alongside the harsh rip of Velcro, or when the fierce scribbling of pen-on-paper fades into a downpour of shaken bags of marbles. Truth be told, the contents of the boxes isn’t divulged, and therefore the listener is left guessing at their contents just as I have, but naturally that’s part of the fun – often these sounds lay on the fringes of familiarity, with the various knocks and scrapes that play a merely consequential role in everyday life granted centre stage, enlightening listeners to their inspired potential functionality within an artistic context.


Nuun Records –

Metamkine –