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Slow Machines brings together veteran Stephen Vitiello and 12k newcomer Michael Grigoni, whose debut Mount Carmel (12k1090, 2019) made an impression for its merging of the pedal and lap steel guitars with a hushed, ambient sound. With both calling the southern mid-Atlantic region of the United States home, the two met up and discussed a collaboration in which Grigoni would provide the guitars and Stephen the electronics and processing with a goal of combining each of their artistic languages into a new form.
Vitiello, whose work is steeped heavily in the installation and art world, utilized both his trademark field recordings as well as recordings from the oddly whimsical kinetic sculptures of artist Arthur Ganson. The clicking and rattling sounds of these sculptures were the inspiration for the album title as the metal forms whirl and whir in repetitive motion like slow machines. A feather on one of Ganson’s pieces softly touches the string of a violin and recordings from Vitiello’s fieldwork in Sheridan, Wyoming provide a tactile sense of place as the duo creates a series of new sonic machines that morph and evolve over the bending, lulling tones of the steel guitars.
Michael Grigoni: dobro, lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar, and voice Stephen Vitiello: digital and analog sampling, field recordings, Ebow guitar