Saturday 6 August 2016

Banabila & Machinefabriek

We (Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt) met quite a while ago, in our hometown Rotterdam. It felt inevitable to work together. Both restless and busy with all sorts of projects, it took a while though to truly make it happen. Things got more serious once we finally got together to talk about the collaboration, in September 2012. We agreed to start slow, and then really kick it off early 2013. But in all our enthousiasm, we quickly got caught up in an unstoppable workflow. Swapping files back and forth, layering and processing each other's sounds, it immediately felt like a match made in heaven. In an incredibly short, though highly inspiring time span, the album 'Banabila & Machinefabriek' was created. A 40+ minute journey through warm drones, mysterious crackling and outbursts of digital noise. Obviously, we are both immensly proud of the result.


Both Zuydervelt and Banabila live in Rotterdam, so it's hardly a surprise that the two of them would meet up and work together. They started in September 2012 with the idea to take time and kick it off next year, but as soon as they started they got into lots of interesting results, so that now, early December 2012 there is already the first release. Forty minutes in total, with nine pieces, from a handful of seconds to nine minutes. A fine album, I think. It combines the interests of both, the drone like material of Machinefabriek and experimental electronics of Banabila, while both of them keep a keen ear on the ground to make it also musically interesting. A vibrant album I should think in which a lot happens. Digital noise sits along nicely with more subdued music, and sometimes within one piece. It seems as if Banabila also knows how to keep Zuydervelt on track in trying something new, with improvised bits on the guitar such as in "Flares". I like the fact that this is more noisy record than I would expect from Zuydervelt, with a whole lot of new ideas harvested here.(FdW)

Their first, eponymous record together demonstrates this shared aptitude for cooperation, their respective approaches blending so seamlessly that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It could be argued that the album is too dramatic and too flooded with ambient warmth to be a Machinefabriek record, and also too playful and fluid to be credited to Banabila alone, yet the overall impression is of the workings of a single entity rather than the juxtaposition of two different styles. Although electronic sound sources predominate, with a fair few field recordings thrown in for good measure, the ‘acoustic’ appears privileged over the ‘electro’ in that I could almost describe the air pushed by my speakers as syrupy, so full and weighty is the sound. Highs are piercing and lows throbbing, yet never irritatingly so; this is music that is strongly present, without being overbearing. The idea that “two heads are better than one” may not be new, but if putting it into practice is increasingly the norm, for Banabila and Machinefabriek it is an approach that has reaped rich dividends. Nathan Thomas.

Since both can also have quite a different musical focus, it's interesting to see where these ends meet when they are working together. When they finally met, the spark obviously exploded into a flame: "We agreed to start slow, and then really kick it off early 2013. But in all our enthousiasm, we quickly got caught up in an unstoppable workflow. Swapping files back and forth, layering and processing each other's sounds, it immediately felt like a match made in heaven. In an incredibly short, though highly inspiring time span, the album 'Banabila & Machinefabriek' was created." On "Banabila & Machinefabriek " , their shared interest is in creating abstract electronic soundscapes, with a dynamic range varying from immersive calm sounds to noisy eruptions. This means their album is not exactly 'easy listening', it can be a challenging but adventurous listen. Their interaction is immaculate: it is surprisingly hard to distinguish the Banabila elements from those added by Machinefabriek. The sum of their contribution is definitely "more" than just both separate parts. Considering some of the noisy outbursts in Bad Wiring and Dead Air, this album may probably not be to anyone's liking. But everyone else - especially those who know the previous works of Banabila and/or Machinefabriek - should definitely check out this release ! Peter van Cooten.
These finely-tuned forays into hiss, crackle and anti-Pop are designed to play through as one long trip on the CD, but in digital form it's broken up into 9 tracks. All the same, it sounds seamless; ever-shifting sands of sound (!) seduce and spring surprises. Just as your lulled into a sense of security you get sucked into black holes like 'Frost' and 'Bad Wiring'. Even the calm is frequently fused with static unease, as on 'Slow Wave 1', which evolves to the point where a robot Fred Astaire taps across the sound stage. At least, that's what I imagine.

At one point there’s a sudden brain-splattering barrage of computer mayhem which led to exclamations of “this is hard work!” in the office, but it slowly eases into a blurry shivering dronescape which heads into Deathprod-esque territory, which I guess is their way of saying sorry for splattering your brain. Basically this is a measured and varied tapestry of blissful ambience, glitchy melodic sound art that’s not afraid to step out of your comfort zone and slap you round the chops, expertly crafted by two men who know their way around a soundwave. 8/10 Mike.

Michel Banabila & Rutger Machinefabriek are two musicians from Rotterdam whose recent collaboration has really taken me into a rewarding sonic experience. With the two artists having their own careers respectfully, the collaboration serves as a joining of forces in which is as surreal as it comes in terms of the musical pallet expressed. Exotic minimal tones find crackles and other digital decaying noises in a nestled and dreamy state. Created as one continuous piece stretched over nine songs, the overwhelming sense of emotion present is incredible. Music devoid of harmony in the way this album is normally has little climaxes, little identity and carries on a shallow and most times hollow body. Banabila & Machinefabriek is a stunning example of how to extract a lot of life into regions where most things can’t flourish. It speaks of life and this world in a strikingly potent form, creating spirals of windows into the human condition and the fluorescent aura of the cosmic surroundings this world offers. It’s everything and nothing all at once; the void and opening of something new in this dimension. Banabila & Machinefabriek is a highly experimental album that glows with some of the most breathtaking ambiance I have ever heard. This is gorgeous music that evolves slowly and every bit of patience is demanded to fully realize what this world represents and contains. The nature of how this album glows specifically goes well beyond a simple explanation of “noise” and has become a type of sound I truly love. This is the type of recording that proves how special and important this generation is and has continued to be in the name of 20th and 21st century atonal music. Erik Otis.

ATTN magazine : Banabila & Machinefabriek.
By the sounds of it, the sheer magnitude of creative momentum driving this remote collaboration was unforeseen by either participant. Initially expecting to carry the construction process through into early 2013, Machinefabriek and Banabila found themselves caught in a more spontaneous and pacier file-swapping process than they ever anticipated – the slow burn seemingly burst into flames, and I get the sense that the record’s sense of fluidity and constant movement is a direct result of the collaborative “hot-potato” subsequently played out by its two partakers. In fact, the steady-handed over-analysis and refinement that usually characterises these sorts of collaborations is completely absent – instead, the album is abundant with sudden explosions and dramatic changes in direction that feel more akin to the irreversible actions of an improvisational gut instinct. Take the opening of “Dead Air”, which bleeps and gurgles like a jammed jet plane GPS before erupting into white noise, modem malfunction and trapped intercom voices, like the sound of a catastrophic mid-flight mayday. Who saw that coming? Elsewhere, the transitions are smoother in their execution but no less drastic in their atmospheric overhaul. The end of “Flares” sounds like a submarine maneuvering a gigantic underwater sewer system (complete with the metronomic, echoing beeps of radar), emerging suddenly in amongst the aggressive electronic chatter and ominous low drones of “Bad Wiring”. Just as the audio files that comprised the collaboration’s building blocks were tugged back and forth between the two artists, the listener is hauled to and fro between unstable circuit rooms and expanses of lush woodland, thrust into snatches of field recording before being sent spiralling into concrete hangars stacked with whirring machinery. It’s dizzying, but there’s a real sense of ecstasy within the total loss of control. Jack Chuter.

Released December 12, 2012.

Music by Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt,
Rotterdam, The Netherlands, October 2012.


"Glitchdroneworldbeat collaboration to die for" (Peter Hollo / Utility Fog - FBI Radio)



When Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) finished their first collaborative album, it felt like they were just getting started. Suprised by how fluent and natural their collaboration went, it was obvious that this wasn't over yet... While 'Banabila & Machinefabriek' was quite an abstract affair, it's successor 'Travelog' is lighter, playful and rhythmic. Some moments might recall the mighty Tape, while others showcase motoric krautrock influences and subtle hints of African rhythms. All in all, this album clearly radiates the joy of its creative process and sees Banabila and Machinefabriek on the top of their game.

Reviews / comments:

"Travelog is a collection of ambient and atmospheric soundscapes mixed with emotion filled layers and recordings that tell stories only possible in this medium. Their vivid use of space sets the stage for a performance of a lifetime." (via twitter):
"The entire new Banabila & Machinefabriek album is my new jam. Yow. Glitch ambient sonic travel heaven" - Marc Weidenbaum.

Cyclic Defrost:
There’s a deeply meditative feel to much of the music here, making ‘Travelog’ one of the most cohesive yet hard to categorise headphone soundtracks I’ve heard for a while. (Chris Downton).

Incendiary Magazine:
This record has a quality of something special, of something indefinably GOOD about it; in fact so good I think I can get away with calling it brilliant. One thing’s for certain, I can’t get enough of it at the moment. (Richard Foster).

A Tapu Records release in collaboration with Lumberton Trading Company.
Cat. nrs TRBOP 21 / LUMB 22.

Released September 11, 2013.

All music by Michel Banabila & Rutger Zuydervelt.
Photography : Michel Banabila.
Artwork : Rutger Zuydervelt.
Voice samples on ‘Narita’ taken from ‘Yuko, me and the Troentechairs’ by Yuko Parris & all n4tural.

Error Log

Tapu presents the third album by Banabila & Machinefabriek. Whereas its predecessor Travelog had a charming brightness, Error Log is abstract and dystopian. The album is comprised of three long monolithic tracks, based on electronics and heavy sampling of acoustic instruments. Howling bass clarinet, warped voices, cinematic strings, Muppet drums and glitchy electronics are used to create a delirious sound universe. Keimpe de Jong (wind instruments), Edita Karkoschka (voice), Salar Asid (violin), Umit Sav (electric violin) and Oene van Geel (violin) all contribute their masterful sounds. The cd comes in a 3 panel full colour matte digipak, with found error negative scans by Michel Banabila, designed by Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek). Total time 39 minutes

Banabila & Machinefabriek : Error Log from Michel Banabila on Vimeo.

Quotes / reviews:

Straight away “Error Log” announces a very different musical experience from Banabila and Machinefabriek’s previous ambient-inspired collaborations from a couple of years ago. This time the electronics are thick and grungy, with greater exploration of each timbre and texture; strong contrasts are created with warm string chords and glimmering guitar that go straight for the heart-strings. Falling vocals and muttered words are drawn straight from the acousmatic playbook, but the overall tone is much closer to analogue synthedelica: warm, squelchy, and sculpted into vague, shallow peaks and valleys rather than precise formations. If the path followed by “Music for viola and electronics II” seemed relatively fixed and linear, “Error Log” is an album for drifters and wanderers; where the former fixes an image, the latter leaves an impression. Well worth checking out. (Nathan Thomas)

Banabila & Machinefabriek brengen op beide vorige CDs een mix van abstracte elektronica, experimentele ambient, veldopnames en ludieke samples, die ze op hun unieke wijze fraai vormgeven. Nu is de derde cd Error Log een heugelijk feit. Je krijgt 3 langgerekte tracks waarin ze de elektronica harder op de voorgrond stellen. Daarnaast stappen ze van die meer kille en robuuste elektronica op subtiele wijze ook weer over naar prachtig warme akoestische stukken. Hiervoor mogen ze rekenen op bijdragen van Keimpe de Jong (blaasinstrumenten), Edita Karkoschka (stem), Salar Asid (viool), Umit Sav (elektrische viool) en Oene van Geel (viool). De rijk gedetailleerde composities blijven mede door dit contrast maar ook door de prachtige vondsten (bijvoorbeeld knetterend haardvuur dat overgaat in elektronisch geknetter) spannend tot op de laatste seconde. Daarnaast is het ook gewoon weer een bij de strot grijpend en schoon elektro-akoestisch hoorspel. Een klasse apart die twee! (JanWillem Broek)

Dutch experimental artists Michel Banabila & Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek have been collaborating for a few years now, and each album seems to change tack in quite a dramatic fashion – although never diverging too much from the two artists' formidable talents. They started with a droney, experimental release, followed by something more in keeping with Banabila's jazzy world-tronica, and the new one is again more abstract, featuring a number of talented Dutch musicians on wind instruments, strings, and voice. The acoustic instruments are mangled in their machines but it's lovely to hear them cutting through here and there. (Peter Hollo)

This is the third collaborative effort of Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt, also known as Machinefabriek. The first two were released in 2013, in a time span of nine months (see Vital Weekly 860 and 898), but no doubt it's not easy to get these two busy bees together, hyper active as they seem in working with electronic music, collaborating with others and playing live. There was, I think, quite some difference between the first two releases; the first one was perhaps what we could expect from both of them: ambient like, digital noise, improvised and yet very much composed. 'Travelog', the second one (the first being untitled) seemed less abstract, more songs (as in 'songs' as in 'pop') like, with great little melodies somewhere. So the third one was highly anticipated by me. 'Error Log' has three pieces (divided in such a way that it says 'release me on LP too, please'), which are quite long, compared to the shorter songs on the previous release. It's however not exactly a return to their first release either; it seems they are exploring the ambient side here more and more, but also in a more orchestral way, especially in 'Stemmenspel' and the title piece. 'Animal', the eleven-minute opening piece here works with more loosely improvised sound embedded in larger clouds of sound. It's all right, but not their finest moment. The violins and voices of 'Stemmenspel' (play of/with voices) have an orchestral feeling, along with those swift changes we know from Zuydervelt, the melody of Banabila and the electronic treatments of both. It moves the listener gently through an excellent set of moods and textures, almost like a soundtrack. The field recordings of the title piece are just a start to move into quite a cosmos of drones (courtesy of the guitar), small rhythms and rainy day recordings; Here too a fine trip, spanning some nineteen minutes but perhaps less soundtrack material. Having said that: it's an excellent piece, which once again brings out the best of both composers. Perhaps this third CD is less of a surprise, but it explores their joint interests further. (FdW)

Released May 14, 2015.
Music by Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt.

With sampled contributions by:
Keimpe de Jong: wind-instruments in Animal and Error Log
Edita Karkoschka: voice in Stemmenspel
Salar Asid: violin in Stemmenspel
Umit Sav: electric violin in Stemmenspel
Oene van Geel: violin in Error Log
Mastered by Marlon Wolterink at White Noise Studio
Negative scans by Michel Banabila
Graphic design by Rutger Zuydervelt

Cat. nr. 005TR - Tapu Records ℗ 2015


Banabila & Machinefabriek: Kaleidoscope from Michel Banabila on Vimeo.

Banabila & Machinefabriek: Entropia [Eilean Rec] from Michel Banabila on Vimeo.

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