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machinefabriek - Shuffle
Limited copies back in stock. It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since Rutger Zuydervelt helped nail our jaws to the floor with his exceptional album 'Dauw'. It used to be that there was a new Machinefabriek album almost every week (sometimes two or three) but since 'Dauw' it seems like Rutger's slowed down and withdrawn into a self-imposed silence . And that's no bad thing - 'Shuffle' is his first self-released record in some time and it shows in the near-obsessive quality of the record. You see, this album is far from the dense, slow-moving drone that Rutger made his trademark; rather it focuses on a different area of the experimental music spectrum. Taking cues from the understated bliss of his release on 12k and the more minimal moments of 'Dauw', Rutger has stripped his sound back to only a precious few key elements, and those elements have ended up as the song titles. Apparently the tracks were edited from randomly organised sound fragments (hence the title 'Shuffle') but with each track only using a maximum of three elements, the pieces manage to breathe through an invisible sheet of negative space. The simple pluck of an acoustic guitar string cuts through the hum of its partner the E-bow, a tapped autoharp sits atop a flock of vinyl static and the smoky sustain of Espen Reinhertsen's saxophone finds itself wedged between the buzz of a radio and the gentle hum of a cassette tape. As the album draws to a perfectly-timed close we're drawn into the whirl of a reel-to-reel tape player and the more familiar sound of Rutger's electric guitar. Subtle and mesmerising, this is all he needs to do - sometimes less is most definitely more. Buy it.