VITAL WEEKLY 879 : Gardening Extended
Back in Vital Weekly 837 I woke up with a small shock: Michel Banabila is perhaps not the man who does the sort of stuff I thought he was doing for years. I associated his music with world/jazz/fusion/ethnic but 'The Latest Research From The Department Of Electrical Engineering' was quite a strong work of electronic music, and his collaboration with Machinefabriek was easily one of the best collaborations the latter did. Here Banabila manages to surprise me again. This is another work of electronically processed sounds, but with extensively use of field recordings, and judging by the title of this work, as well as what we hear, these field recordings might have been taped while gardening. The amplification of a spade for instance. Raking the grass, picked up with a rusty contact microphone. Then electronic processing which Banabila uses here is not heavy, or extensive, but rather gentle. Sometimes he creates a loop or two, which by itself already form a small song, and let's the other crackles just continue. It's not music for which we could use the word excessive, but it's not exactly 'ambient' either. Intimate seems to me a word that is more appropriate for this music. A tinkle on the piano, more loops, but essentially also a work of gardening, which if it always sounded like this, I would indulge in it too. But gardening is easily in the top three of activities I don't like. Listening to 'Gardening' is of course something else. This is great! Thoroughly relaxing music, and with the balcony doors wide open because spring more or less seems to be arriving, this is a most pleasant release. Banabila's work spans eight tracks, but also invited seven friends to do remixes of this work, and those seven remixes follow straight after his eight originals. Here we have many of his Rotterdam chums, such as Radboud Mens, Lukas Simonis, Machinefabriek but also Peter van Cooten, Naoyuki Sasanami and Zenial. They all seem to capture a similar atmosphere in their pieces, but all seem to be using more electronics to transform the original sounds, which are a bit removed/remote here, except, funnily enough in Banabila's own remix, and make occasionally massive waves of sounds, such as in Machinefabriek's work. It's very nice to have these remixes as an added bonus, but maybe altogether it wasn't that necessary to have a an equally strong album.