It took some time before Michel Banabila and Machinefabriek, both living in Rotterdam, finally met and started working together. But after the release of their first album, they soon decided there would be more like that.
Not just because their first CD was very well received critically, but also (probably even more) because their collaboration was so fruitful that the new ideas started to roll in soon, and simply begged to be continued.
So now, some 9 months after its predecessor, “Travelog“ is presented.
Both covers share the same kind of bright blue colour, but while “Banabila & Machinefabriek“ presents a view UP into the sky, “Travelog“ shows a view from the sky DOWN to earth.
The shadow of a plane flying over a sunny beach indicates a somewhat lighter, less abstract, approach (compared the the first album).
This is confirmed in the first track (‘Spin n’Puke’), with its handclaps and playful rhythm.
Later tracks keep this playfulness, showing the two artists looking for ways to merge their different musical experiences rather than focus on what they both have in common (since they already explored that earlier).
The result is remarkable, and clearly the sum is more than the separate parts.
“Some moments might recall the mighty Tape, while others showcase motoric krautrock influences and subtle hints of African rhythms.”
The krautrock reference is absolutely clear in some of the samples: ‘Rain Painting’ has the spirit of Holger Czukay floating around, and there was a short moment when I thought I heard a flute sound like used on very early Tangerine Dream albums (“Zeit”- era). ‘Yarra’ and ‘Dinsdag’ even have some subtle references to Banabila’s own older work (like ‘Marilli’ and ‘Des Traces Retrouvees’).
But do not mistake this for a ‘retro-album’ because it simply isn’t. The interplay of both musicians, their innovative musical dialogue, pushes the boundaries into new dimensions.
Also, do not be misled by the sunny cover and ‘lighter and playful’ connotations: there’s a lot of gritty feedback sound too. Though the overall sound may be somewhat less ‘abstract’ than before, this still isn’t the kind of music you’ll hear on any average radio station!
“Travelog“ clearly radiates Michel and Rutger’s enthusiasm.
This probably will not be the last collaboration we will see from them…