Harry Towell & Friends * Machinefabriek

Petrologist's Lens


Besides being the tireless force behind the Whitelabrecs label, Harry Towell is also a musician himself: he has released over 20 albums as Speruleus – on many different labels such as Lost Tribe Sound, Home Normal, Time Released Sound, Hibernate and Eilean.
The combination of running a label and being a musician opens up a great possibility using his network: a collection of works created with his friends. All of them have previously released at least 2 releases on Towell’s label.

And thus, Whitelabrecs starts 2023 with the release of The Petrologist’s Lens, by Harry Towell & Friends. Petrology is the branch of geology that deals with the origin, composition, structure, and alteration of rocks:
‘Harry studied the land history of the areas where his collaborators reside, to help form a title for each piece. Tracks are named after particular fragments of rock or sediments, land regions or fossils for example, and the compositions were developed in a way which mimics the layering of these.’

Regular readers will obviously know most of the (12) artists performing here with Harry Towell: Edu Comelles, Pruski, Glåsbird, Pruski, Sven Laux, Andrew Heath, Polaroid Notes, Adrian Lane, Slow Clinic, Blochemy, Phil Tomsett, Simon McCorry and Guy Gelem. 

Apart from the digital download, there are 2 CD versions available: a gold vinyl-effect as well as a marble vinyl-effect CD. Both include a 16-page booklet



While on the subject of an artist’s network: it sometimes seems that there are only a few artists in the electronic/experimental/improv scene that Machinefabriek / Rutger Zuydervelt has nót worked with. His immense discography (Discogs lists no less than 219 albums as Machinefabriek and 52 under his own name) features many collaborations, sometimes with a lot of people on the same release (most notable of these perhaps being 2021’s With Drums, and 2014’s Stay Tuned).

+ (Plus) refers to all the friends featured on this latest release: no less than 52 (!) to be exact… Rutger invited all of them to send him a short track, a musical idea not longer than one minute. The length was the only directive given for this: “because I love surprises”. He then treated or reworked the submission, adding his own fingerprint to the result. And finally, the last step was ‘to sequence everything into a more or less coherent album’.

That ‘coherent’ leaves some room for discussion, I guess … ‘The variety is huge, with jazz cats, electronica wizards, classical players, and more.
The diverse and often unclassifiable work of Zuydervelt in combination with artists coming from such diverse backgrounds is rather unpredictable and covers a wide range of experimental styles. But Zuydervelt has carefully arranged the sequence, for example by ordering them by their main instrument. Anyway, it’s coherent enough when you’re familiar with Machinefabriek’s diverse output.
As Rutger states himself: ‘it’s safe to say that these tracks are all over the place, stylistically. But it surely is an intriguing trip. ‘.

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