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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Saxophone vs. Machine(fabriek)

An asynchronous collaboration loops back on itself.

Machinefabriek turned the tables on his own production technique. As described in an advance notice, his forthcoming release with saxophonist Neil Welch began as a one-way affair. He was to provide a foundation (a “backing track,” in the official release language) for Welch to improvise upon. However, upon receiving Welch’s responsive work, Machinefabriek proceeded to work upon it some more. The result, as heard in this four-minute advance listen of an eventual 38-minute release, to be titled Tides, makes any discernment between background and foreground imprecise at best. There is a dense blur between the original work and what Welch provided. In part this is because Welch’s work is often heard with several parts layered in a manner that an individual player couldn’t achieve live, except with looping equipment. In part it’s because the horn often dissolves into the greater noise, leading to something akin to John Zorn fronting a Ligeti concerto. But the real beauty of the resulting piece is how segments of Welch’s work were themselves improvised upon by Machinefabriek, who took the nuances and used them as source audio for his own efforts. Welch’s work was, in turn, as much a foundation for Machinefabriek’s efforts as was Machinefabriek’s for Welch’s. It would be interesting, down the road, to be able to listen to what it was that Machinefabriek sent to Welch in the first place.

Track originally posted at More from Welch at, and from Machinefabriek, aka Rutger Zuydervelt, at The full album is due apparently from Confront, though it isn’t yet showing on the label’s website (

By Marc Weidenbaum

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