Monday, January 17, 2011

Rural Route No. 6 - Machinefabriek (Rural Route Series)

Rural Route No. 6

Standard Form Records.

SCQ Rating: 85%

No sooner had The Gentleman Losers’ released their lovely contribution to the Rural Route series when Standard Form announced a sixth installment would be forthcoming via Netherlands-based artist Machinefabriek. Unlike the single improvised recordings that Alex Durlak committed and then divided into cohesive tracks, Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuyderveldt) keeps ‘Halfslaap’ unified as an unsliced seventeen-minute piece of multi-dimensional ambience, formless and beautiful.

Inspired by the sensations we experience moments before falling asleep – or “from reality to the dreamworld” - ‘Halfslaap’ floats upon an undulating music-box coda that swells with purpose only to dip beneath any audible level of consciousness. The focus relies on melody only for the first few minutes, establishing its haunting theme before Zuyderveldt goes to work modulating our aural perception with delicate quivers to its frequencies and a gentle blurring of each note’s self-reliance. No differently than how the distinct qualities of a memory wane over time, so too does ‘Halfslaap’ morph as a composition from concrete to vaporous. That this process doesn’t feel dutifully stripped back or phased-out becomes just as important as the melody’s durability itself; Machinefabriek’s gentle submission into forgotten slumber grows ever more nuanced flirting with silence, to the point where its few remaining traces evoke the most powerful nostalgia.

Rural Route No. 6’s a bit of a mind-fuck, to be honest, capable of rendering the most meaningless past memory somehow poignant. It’s also the crowning achievement thus far in this tremendously unpredictable series.

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