Behold the power of a thin electronic whine and some random stuff clattering around in a particularly echo-y room. Machinefabriek, a Dutchman named Rutger Zuyderveldt with a talent for identifying and micromanaging the massive capabilities of slight sounds among other things (like shoegaze-qua-drone with Marianas Trench depth), has assembled a variety of found sounds here, most of them indeed very slight, and not so much composed music with them in any forward way but dressed them up. In a sense, it’s like coaxing a pre-existing atmosphere out of a sound (like a fairly dry narration of the seconds leading up to the Apollo moon landing), summoning the perhaps buried mood of a thing.
In the case of “Apollo,” that mood is subdued terror. The voice is professional and calm, yet stumbles just a little bit, perhaps under the weight of knowing that the astronauts he’s speaking of have a pretty good chance of dying in space. The narration cuts off before the actual landing, leading instead into such lonely, tense electronic tones, not quite covering up a deep, muted pulse: barren, dark, airless. Perfect. The track becomes lovely even as it builds from this into a humming, wavering tone, like music being born from icy dread. The tracks bookending the record, “Slovensko I” and “Slovensko II,” are described by Zuyderveldt as “travel diaries,” and sure, why not: collageworks of distended field recordings mostly ambiguous about where they came from. The second of those builds and builds in knocks and rumbles and, what’s that, a stern voice in another language, subsumed into something vibrating against metal. It suggests a train station, but the unpeopled recesses of one where trains become the big, lumbering, shrieking, ground-shaking creatures they are. At the very least, Veldwerk will make sound, any sound reaching your ears from the world, less a thing to take for granted.