Machinefabriek/Rutger Zuydervelt: 3+1

Judged by his output alone, Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt must be the ‘hardest working man in electronic showbusiness’.

Machinefabriek is the alias he uses for almost all of his work, currently counting 150 titles on Discogs!
From this list, only 19 are listed under his own name, but recently he seems to be using his own name more often for projects that stretch the limits (as if there were any) of the Machinefabriek trademark music that he has become internationally acknowledged for.

Below is a pick from the latest batch… but chances are that by the time you finished reading this post and listening to the samples his website will already have announced some newer releases…

The Measures Taken

Released on the illustrious (polish) Zoharum label, The Measures Taken” is the score for a dance performance by choreographer Alexander Whitley and visual artists Marshmallow Laser FeastA multimedia performance “that explores our interdependent relationship with technology. […] A work that is both a dialogue and a duet between human movement and the digital world.”

Machinefabriek‘s music perfectly fits the theme of this performance. It starts with a short electronic snappy pulse, and there are all kinds of abrasive electronics in the score, but the true power is that it is also engaging on an emotional level.
There’s a lot of room for moments of rest between the more enervating parts, which may be why the soundtrack is very cinematic in nature.
From the abstract beginning to the soulful melodic ending, the impression is that the uncontrollable beast of electronics may be tamed. For a while, at least: the returning pulse suggests that the struggle is not over completely.


Released under his own nameSneeuwstorm (‘Blizzard’) represents a somewhat different side of the same artist, although the Machinefabriek trademark sound is still prominent.
I guess the main difference is in the approach creating this album: it was created using a detailed cut&paste technique using fragments of saxophone improvisations played by Colin Webster and Otto Kokke (Dead Neanderthals).
Some of the sounds in the 31 minute composition are hardly recognisable as saxophone sounds, as they are ‘restructured, processed and looped’ inbetween the added sounds of field recordings, samples  and electric guitar.
Like in the blizzard cover painting, you can only see what’s right before you but every next step will bring new unexpected surprises.


“Loos” may (arguably) be the most radical album of the three mentioned here. It is a 27 minute recording of a 2014 live performance in Studio Loos – a favourite place to perform because, as Rutger states, “their sound system is top notch and there’s always a big crowd that’s open minded and quiet as mice.”
This leaves a lot of room for subtleties and extremes: soft and ultra-low parts yet ‘without losing excitement and power’.
For this, Rutger considers this performance as one of his best, and there’s no reason to doubt that.

HALFSLAAP III – Live @ LeGuessWho 2014
with Fox String
It’s is not an ‘official’ release, but it’s too beautiful not to mention it here.

This preformance shows Rutger’s versatility, because “Halfslaap” is a modern classical chamber music arrangement that is as different from the other albums mentioned here as Dr. Jekyll was from Mr. Hyde.

This third incarnation of Halfslaap (check here and here for the previous editions) was performed at the 24 Hour Drone Fest, part of the LeGuessWho festival in Utrecht, Holland. Early sunday morning in a loaded festival weekend is nót the best time to attract a large part of the audience, so it’s great that there is this beautiful quality video recording produced by Gaudeamus, who also commissioned this performance with Maarten Vos’ Fox String Quartet.

This performance also included “Blauw”, a ‘dubby’ kind of chamber music piece written together with cellist Maarten Vos.

O, and just so you know: the audio version of this performance can be downloaded for free!

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