A new collaboration between Rutger Zuydervelt and Stephen Vitiello has been released on the 12k label. It’s a collaboration in, with one exception, a purely conceptual sense — but since creative collaboration often has more to do with casting than with curation, more with people than with process, their innovative approach is especially appreciated.
The album, Box Music, takes its title from the duo’s unique mode of working in tandem while toiling separately. Each musician sent to the other a box of generally “non-musical” items (according to the album’s write-up at 12k.com) and then set about making musical constructions from provided materials. Imagine Joseph Cornell at work with a laptop sampler, and you’ll have a sense of what lurks beneath track names such as “Bells, Book, Tin Foil, Buttons” and “Crackle Box, Thumb Piano.”
The fifth and final entry on the album is the only one of the tracks on Box Music that is attributed to both Zuydervelt (who records as Machinefabriek) and Vitiello, the only one that was created by both of them. Titled “Chocolate Sprinkles, Tape, Egg Cutter, Rice, Plastic Bag,” it is a mix of quietly documented activity beneath what sound like ceremonial bells (MP3). The MP3 clocks in at 4’33, which may or may not be a nod to John Cage, who certainly would have appreciated this effort to locate aural beauty in the mundane physical world. More on Zuydervelt at machinefabriek.nu and Vitiello at stephenvitiello.com.