I’ve become a little obsessed with the works of Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek over the past 18 months or so. It all started when I first heard the amazing Veldwerk compilation which was almost the perfect blend of field recordings, drone, noise, electronic manipulation and sonic experimentation. Since then I’ve tried to track down most of his readily available records and not once have I been disappointed. I think the main reason for that is that Zuydervelt isn’t beholden to one particular sound. Although it was his processed field recordings that sucked me in, it is commissioned works for dance and film that keep me coming back.
The soon to be released Episode 23 of The Antidote Podcast will feature two of his more recent works, the challenging Doepfer Worm and the sublime piece written for the Moscow Ballet, Attention, the Doors Are Closing, and because this blog doesn’t necessarily focus on new releases I thought I’d start with Secret Photographs, the 2012 soundtrack to the film of the same name.
I’m not sure if the film has seen the light of day as yet but it was to focus on the photographic obsession of Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, a 1930’s gangster that spent his final days in Spain. After he died a large number of photographs were discovered and sold on ebay. The director of the film Mike Hoolboom managed to purchase them and the idea for the film began.
The soundtrack is made up of three long pieces which span a total of 70 minutes or so. Each of the tracks focuses on a minimal, shimmering drone. That seems to be a term I’ve used before but to further clarify – Secret Photographs is drone in a fragile, Stars of the Lid kind of way rather than the painfully pitched drone work of say Hototogisu. This album is a great staring point for anyone interested in minimal drone work. Indeed it is in a select group of records that manage to stay true to it’s ascetic without ever becoming boring. Simply stunning.