Supergroup alert! Shivers is the latest collaboration from Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt), Leo Fabriek and Gareth Davis (also on Erik K. Skodvin’s new album). The album is a tribute to the film of the same name by David Cronenberg, an investigation of the melodramatic and the macabre. Even today, the trailer (seen below) evokes chills, at the same time betraying a sick sort of humor, as evidenced by the final line.
Shivers skips the humor and goes right to the seeping, mounting dread. The album is all about atmosphere: claustrophobic, threatening, sinister. The wormlike creatures of the film invaded the body; this music seeks to create earworms. While it’s unlikely that anyone will be humming these songs soon, those who listen may experience a humming paranoia. This is lights-out music, music for creaking closets and open windows that we were sure we had shut.
“Ash” sets the scene with synthesized sounds that crawl and lurk, drums that attack and retreat and a clarinet that strikes like a snake. “Otomo” leaps from the closet, knife in hand. We like to play with our food, but sometimes we get hungry fast. The gurgling, snacking sounds may be from the film; if not, they’re darn close. And the children? They really shouldn’t be so close to the … oh, never mind, just clean up the mess.
The thick synthesized growl of “Rapid” is a perfect reflection of its title. When the sound jumps from speaker to speaker, it sets up a surprisingly rhythmic section; but it’s clear the danger is still present. This is a musical respite, like a tiny romantic scene in a horror film But we all know what happens when people have sex in horror films. Fast forward if you like, or wait it out – it won’t be long. By “Brood”, the Carpenter synths have returned. Too much has already happened; there won’t be a happy ending. The movie ends with a virus being unleashed on the world (don’t blame me for the spoiler; you’ve had 39 years to see it), and the album ends in a similarly dour fashion as the music is engulfed by feedback. The recording ends in nearly half a minute of silence. Hold onto hope if you will, but no rescue is coming. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 20 June