"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Friday, 1 October 2010

Grin & scowl

The prospect of a Machinefabriek & Richard Skelton collaboration is so unexpected & so delicious I alternate between an idiotic grin at the thought of it & a self-lacerating scowl for having missed it this spring. It’s not quite what you’d expect, though, this dream-team collision. Perhaps Skelton’s sound is too distinctive to blend with anyone else’s? Perhaps Rutger is too sensitive a collaborator to try?

In any case, the pair’s Daas (extract below) bears fairly few traces of Machinefabriek. There’s some subtle knocking & scuffling behind the strings (the fine Greg Haines one of the players, winningly) in the first five minutes that might be down to him, & then a languorous long fade into a glitchy final smattering of notes. That isn’t anything you’d hear on solo Skelton, admittedly.

Not that it isn’t lovely. On the contrary, it’s deeply lovely - aching & yearning. But then, as you hardly need LMYE to spell out if you follow his work, Skelton only makes music of great beauty & potency.

Nonetheless, it’s only on the much longer & older Flotter (also extracted below) that we get an inkling of what a blended version of the pair could sound like. & even that's almost certainly just the power of suggestion – this dense, magnificently gathering piece, which dates back to a 2006 self-release, hints at a richer, more overtly emotional Machinefabriek informed in some roundabout, trans-North Sea (& now Irish Sea too) way by Skelton...

But is it? Probably not, though it’s unlikely you’d come to collaborate with someone you’ve never heard & whose stuff means nothing to you – even if you’re as much a serial pairer-up as Rutger (whose latest encounter with clarinettist Gareth Davis, part of the brooding, honking Drape, features as a bonus below).

Previous coverage (& here, & here) [MF] / (& here, here, here & here) [RS]

Machinefabriek / Skelton on Spotify / Skelton streams via Type

Machinefabriek (featuring Richard Skelton) > Daas [extract] / Machinefabriek > Flotter [extract] (both from Daas, Cold Spring)

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