Tomorrow the German Miasmah label will release Shivers, the debut album of a trio of the same name. The members are Rutger Zuydervelt (much of whose work, including installations and other projects, is created under the name Machinefabriek), clarinetist Gareth Davis, and drummer Leo Fabriek. Zuydervelt’s contribution to the group seems to be the creation and use of electronic audio processing equipment. The group is named after David Cronenberg’s first film.
Between that last sentence and the image on the album cover (reproduced above), the curious listener should be prepared for all of the sinister qualities of the dark side. The background material on the Machinefabriek Web site suggests the influence of Albert Ayler. My own impressions suggest a much closer family resemblance to Glenn Branca at his most violent, even if no guitars are involved in the Shivers combo. At the same time I would say that Davis’ wind work is capable of bringing mournful qualities to the overall rhetoric that one never encounters in Branca’s work.
The entire album is rather brief, only a little more than half an hour. However, each of the six tracks is presented at a palatable length. While each of those tracks develops its own particular approach to establishing a sinister lurking quality with the suspense of potential catastrophe, there is no sense (as sometimes arises with Branca) of an unbearably oppressive experience in which all you want is for it all to stop. Shivers seems to know just how to get under the skin of the attentive listener without overstaying its welcome (so to speak).