AMN Reviews: Banabila & Machinefabriek – Banabila & Machinefabriek (self-released)

English: Michel Banabila Nederlands: Michel Ba...
English: Michel Banabila Nederlands: Michel Banabila (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Machinefabriek´s latest and perhaps most logical collaborator is sound artist Michel Banabila. Aside from sharing a hometown, Rotterdam, the soundworlds they respectively inhabit provide the perfect infrastructure for smooth integration. Both have mastered many of the trickiest dialects of experimental electronics, from mellifluous, ingenuously textured ambient to glottal noise sputtering to make sense. This self-titled self-release has an immediacy that reflects its creation in a very short time, with a flurry of file-swapping in October of last year.

It´s a shame they haven´t given it a title, because the nine-track, forty-minute suite, from the wheezy harmonium of “Ascend” to the elegant denouement of “Descend”, definitely tells a story of some kind, with a pleasing narrative curve and some dramatic hairpin turns. “Slow Wave I” is foamy with plucked guitar and computer glitches that lap lazily at a pebbled beach. “Dead Air” is long, drawn out and troubling and “Frost” captures a blizzard inside a snow globe. “Slow Wave II” initiates a second half which makes you woozy with gongs, singing bowls and singing birds briefly discernable through an ambient fog that, hit by a sudden chill turns into spiky, sparky precipitation. Somehow, we end up dry and cozy inside an electronic church at the end.

Stephen Fruitman