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Machinefabriek & Minus Pilots: Signals

img  Tobias Fischer

Dreams have always held a special place in the oeuvres of these artists. Sometimes quite literally, as on a Machinefabriek 3inch series dedicated to the wonders of sleep. At others more conceptually, as in the Minus Pilots' personal goal of designing pieces "for listening through headphones while gazing at the stars". On Signals, the reference is both more discrete and more obvious than ever. A delicate foil of vinyl crackle runs through this long-form composition, framing the beginning and end of what seems to be a peaceful REM-phase - before the former lies fatigue, beyond the latter the infinite lands of a deep slumber. The instrumentation is recognisably sparse and of chamber-musical intimacy, the process of running simple melodic phrases through an effect unit well familiar. And yet, nothing is what it seems here: Basses are laying down gently undulating patterns in a range usually reserved for guitars, while the richly swelling drones are provided by not by bass but clarinet – a perhaps coincidental, but nonetheless meaningful choice, as its timbre opens up associations with Debussy's "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune", forever the classic dreampiece. Despite the constant transformations and variations, which lend the music a sense of liquidity and fluency, the arrangement is really made up of just a handful of elements, artfully spread out over the canvas in a way that relates every bar of sound to everything that predates and precedes it. It is a fragile complexity, forever at the border of falling apart, at the mercy of a single disruptive semblance. And yet, for as long as you closer your eyes, the illusion is perfect.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Machinefabriek
Homepage: Minus Pilots
Homepage: Dronarivm Records