Though promising collaborations are a regular enough occurrence in underground music, seldom does the whole exceed the sum of its constituent parts. However, this final instalment in a trilogy of 7-inch singles from Celer and Machinefabriek is happily a case of two musical styles complementing each other quite perfectly, resulting in two short tracks of top-tier ambient exploration which can’t help but leave this particular listener wishing for more.
Hei/Sou comes with vintage Japanese postcards and follows similarly carefully packaged releases from the Celer and Machinefabriek pairing, named Maastunnel/ Mt. Mitake and Numa/Penarie, respectively. Like its predecessors, the creation of the two-sided single was facilitated by the internet, connecting the Rotterdam-based Rutger Zuydervelt and Tokyo resident Will Long over thousands of miles and several time zones.
Despite the artists’ significant physical distance from each other though, the music contained within this release feels like a cohesive whole and both of the two roughly five minute numbers contain sonic touches from each artist, lending Hei/Sou the appearance of a truly joint effort, with gentle soothing drones joined by subtle electronica to great effect. Each track is a fine example of subtlety and understatement, and Hei/Sou is also bundled with two accompanying videos by Marco Douma which lend an additional perspective to the music.
While this author doesn’t wish to hazard a guess as to where this work stands in regard to the voluminous previous works of Machinefabriek and Celer, it does feel like one of the better offerings from both in recent months and one can only hope that this inspired pairing continues to produce such results.