VITAL WEEKLY 1052: Macrocosms

This is already the fourth time that Rotterdam based composers Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt, also known as Machinefabriek get together to record music, and do a release. First there was the self-titled release (see Vital Weekly 860), 'Travelog' (see Vital Weekly 898) and, thirdly 'Error Log' (see Vital Weekly 984). That is perhaps already a most remarkable fact, seeing these two men being very active when it comes to playing and composing music, also for occasions we don't hear or see because they are not always released as such, music for films, installations, theatre, and dance. For the fourth time these two men manage to surprise the listener again;
'Macrocosmos' is not a rehash for the earlier albums, I think. The first was abstract, the second more melodic, and the third was more about ambient music, through the use of longer pieces. On the fourth album they explore the best of these three worlds and expands on that, with a relatively bigger role for real instruments, or so it seems. This is their most all-round album so far, I'd say. The guitar plays quite a big role in some of these pieces, along with the crackling of the modular synth, but in 'Stokjes', 'Awake' and 'Turmoil' they as easily slip into a rhythmic piece, the latter with an almost Alva Noto like but with a slightly more exotic mood. Melodies are never far away in these pieces, and 'Awake' is a like true pop song, with an electro melody below. Then there are pieces in which the ambient side is more present, such as in 'Prey', 'Upwards' or the title piece. Here the influence of Zuydervelt seems to be more apparent, even when these duties are no doubt not divided like this; this is just something I was thinking of. It seems that field recordings, mainly  insects, birds and rain, play a role in the majority of these pieces, which further enhances a somewhat 'tropical' feel to the music. That too might be something I am just imagining of course.  It makes that this album has a very diverse feeling to it, in terms of textures they choose, of changing moods, instruments to use and make it a fine ride for the listener, going through various places; like a road trip through the macrocosmos. An excellent release by these masters of their trade. (FdW)

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Music composer & sound artist. Michel Banabila releases music since 1983 and has produced musical scores for numerous films, documentaries, video art, theatre plays & choreographies. His music varies from minimal loop-based electronica, 4th world and neoclassical pieces, to drones, experimental ambient, and punk-as-fuck tape music. In addition to acoustic instrumentation, Banabila uses electronics, field recordings, and snippets from radio, tv and internet.

Bureau B, Eilean Rec, Séance Centre, Pork Recordings, Tone Casualties, Challenge Records, Steamin' Soundworks, Knekelhuis, Tapu Records.