When is a single not just a single? When it’s an event – in this case, the product of two stellar talents, joining forces for the first time. A shared concert in 2010 inspired these prolific performers to begin exchanging files between Tokyo and Rotterdam, resulting in seven vinyl inches of immersive beauty. The recording highlights the specific talents of each, while serving as its own unique creation. On “Maastunnel”, one can hear echoes of Machinefabriek‘s field recording work on The Breathing Bridge: gently withdrawing waves and feathery spindles of traffic, paired with Celer‘s willowed clouds of ambience and embedded static. The dropout at 2:37 raises the emotional ante with the repetition of the spoken words, “just anybody.” The bridge sways in the wind; the sonics rise; a lone vehicle speeds off somewhere in the distance. While it’s irresistible to speculate who did what, it’s enjoyable to remark at how well these two artists have been able to meld their visions. The beginning of “Mt. Mitake” sounds more like Celer, casting an undulating glow; but by the three and a half minute mark, the timbre seems more reminiscent of Machinefabriek: a building buzz that threatens to overwhelm, but never does. In the final minute, a three-note chime, offset by a twin contribution, wraps around to the beginning and lends the project a sense of completion. While listening, it’s easy to imagine one artist contributing the higher-pitched chime and the other the lower.
In light of such an impression, the full dialogue sample found on “Maastunnel” seems particularly relevant: “What did this man look like?” “I didn’t see his face. He didn’t look up … he might have been just anybody.” By virtue of their extensive output and expansive careers, either artist could have imposed his sonic stamp on this project, eclipsing the other. Yet each keeps his head down and enhances the mystery. A full-length project would be divine, and thanks to an upcoming tour, this wish may soon come true. (Richard Allen)
Release Date: February 13