RIYL: Sean McCann, Félicia Atkinson, Colleen, Stars of the Lid, Machinefabriek

Label: Umor Rex

An increasingly favored label of mine, México City-based Umor Rex, has recently dropped a plethora of new cassettes and among them was Steven Hess’ (Locrian, Pan American, etc.) and Rutger Zuydervelt’s (Machinefabriek) Re:collectingRe:collecting is an ambient pastiche of the shimmering and the darkling. Clocking in around a humble thirty minutes, it doesn’t overwhelm the listener. As a huge fan of the genre myself, I admit that when you turn on a drone/ambient album, you’re making a commitment. With Re:collecting, however, you’re getting a sampler platter instead of getting a proper three course meal (sometimes that meal can be four and five courses). The album’s (EP?) title track (and my favorite off of this), “Re:collecting,” is like if you took the entirety of The Ballasted Orchestra and compressed it in to seven-and-a-half minutes. The mournful string flourishes swathed over the static-ridden vocal recordings is the aural bath anyone would welcome after a long day. Listen to Re:collecting below via the Bandcamp player and see what you think of it. Cheers!

The Details

Re:collecting is the first collaborative album of Steven Hess (member of Locrian, Cleared, Pan•American, Haptic, and Innode) and Rutger Zuydervelt (also known as Machinefabriek).

Over that past years, Steven Hess has recorded piles of cassettes on an old four-track and classroom desktop tape players, going through a chain of pedals and loopers and then back into the cassette recorders again. Besides his usual drum kit and cymbals, the sound sources include guitar, bass, AM/FM radio chatter and wood floors. After sifting through the big archive of recordings made over the years, he sent the best material to his collaborator. Rutger Zuydervelt further processed these recordings, keeping the mysterious murkiness intact, but subtly adding extra sounds, creating a complex palette of textures, and working on an overall structure. Despite their dark nature, there’s openness to interpretation and an appealing seduction. The tracks on Re:collecting are different ‘states’ or ‘environments’, converted in fascinating ambient/drone and minimalistic songs.

Released in a hand-numbered edition of 110 copies on pro-dubbed chrome tape, packaged in a custom silkscreened cardboard box printed on 100% recycled stock with an insert and a download coupon.

Price $8.69

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