- Dave Huismans, the Dutch artist known as A Made Up Sound and 2562, shared an interesting anecdote that didn't make it into the final Machine Love feature. Before he'd released his first record, his friends organized something called a "beat battle," where producers were challenged to remix an old funk track. The judges passed over Huismans' contribution because they couldn't recognize the source material. "It dawned on me then and there that I maybe wasn't making things easy for myself, but I was OK with that," he said. "I simply enjoy starting from scratch, digging for sounds and shaping them, seeing what character they have and what happens when you change them."
That definitely rings true on A Made Up Sound, a retrospective of the project's self-titled label, and its final record. Released between 2009 and 2016, these tracks are the aural equivalent of metal sculptures, their sounds bent and twisted into shape as if by extreme heat and pressure. Musical styles—house, techno, post-dubstep—undergo a similar transformation, melted down and joined together into something new. With no commitment to any one scene, Huismans has always been something an outsider, which seems to have helped shape his singular sound.
For music released over a seven-year period, these songs hang together surprisingly well. That's thanks in part to a few sonic hallmarks: metallic sound palettes, loose and irregular rhythms, a particularly organic style of reverb. But beneath these common threads, the music is fluid and unpredictable, with each track offering something quite different from the others. There are subtle groovers ("Sun Touch," "Peace Offering"), club bombs ("Syrinx," "Endgame") and nonstandard beat explorations ("P.P.B.," "After Hours"). Some tracks manage to be all three. Despite having no drums, "Half Hour Jam On A Borrowed Synth" might be the raviest thing here. The cyber-divas on "Ahead" scream peak-time, but the demented rhythm could make the wrong crowd seasick. Some tracks are shrill, grating or disorienting—"Havoc," "Stumbler" and "Alarm" all live up to their names—but still irresistibly groovy in their own way. Even the weirdest ones tend to go down fine in a mix.
More than just a bundle of singular club tracks, A Made Up Sound is the best proof yet of Huismans' exceptional talent. Modest and mild-mannered as he is, this is someone other artists are in awe of, both for the quality and the quantity of his music. It's worth noting that these 20 tracks are only highlights from A Made Up Sound's self-titled label, whose entire catalog is only part of the project's total output, which would still leave out Huismans' albums and EPs as 2562. That such a vast body of work should have such a high strike rate is truly extraordinary. Back in the days of the beat battle, Huismans never expected his music to be played in clubs. Today, he's one of the best artists making club music.
01. Take The Plunge (First Thought)
03. Sun Touch
07. Untitled (Original Shortcut)
08. Extra Time
09. Half Hour Jam On A Borrowed Synth
02. Alarm (Edit)
03. Take The Plunge (Beat Mix)
07. Demons (Reprise)
08. After Hours
09. What Preset (Edit)
10. Peace Offering