Vertonen – Le Coeur Mecanique (CD-R, Ratskin Records)

Drone, harsh noise, Industrial, Noise, Review


Vertonen has been making noise for years; the earliest releases on Discogs date back to 1994. I haven’t heard any of Vertonen’s work before Le Coeur Mecanique, but from most descriptions it seems that this release is somewhat of a deviation from the bulk of the artist’s work. On this CD-R, Vertonen has compiled a series of tracks using real recordings of industrial equipment, as noted by each of the song titles.

From the tracks themselves, it seems like Vertonen has done very little to manipulate the sounds other than what they were originally. He’s obviously cut them down and looped them, and at times he brings in different sounds to pair with the main layering. For the most part, though, the recordings really do sound like the sources that Vertonen states  they are.

“Recycling Facility” sounds the most like its namesake. One can actually hear the machines pressing and squashing, with the bottles making their trademark wrinkling sound as the plastic is pressed into tiny pieces. Others sound vaguely mechanical, but without the captioning afforded by the song titles, one might not be able to pick out the source.

On the first listen, Le Coeur Mecanique sounded somewhat fresh. The repetitious mechanical loops barely changed, and it was interesting to hear what industry sounded like without manipulation. On subsequent listens, however, tracks don’t stand out from each other as much – they follow the same formulas, and many of the industrial sounds tend to blend together. The most noticeable track is “Air Circulation and Ventilation Feed, Shredding Facility”; its loop sounds like a slow dirge thanks to a clank that resembles a snare drum hit. The whirrs of machinery don’t blend into each other like the other tracks.

It’s still a fun listen to immerse oneself in the act of production, and Vertonen spent a lot of time listening  to the pure sounds of steel and machine to compile these sources. The idea is there, and it occasionally results in some interesting sounds; but it also falls into a repetitive lull, showing that even pure sounds can grow stale after a while.