segunda-feira, 21 de janeiro de 2019

Maschinelles Lernen with Telephone Exchange - An Interview

"Maschinelles Lernen" é o debute do projeto mexicano, Telephone Exchange, capitaneado pelo arquiteto freak, Cesar Saldivar.

O cara simplesmente concebeu uma daquelas obras que não só precisam, como devem ser saboreadas inúmeras vezes, é basicamente impossível absorver todos os detalhes, que diga-se de passagem, são totalmente analógicos.

Sonoramente o Telephone Exchange criou um trabalho que sem exageros, pode ser rebento direto de obras como White Light White Heat, NEU!, Real Life, Trout Mask Replica, A Trip To Marineville, This Nation's Saving Grace entre outras, das quais todas possuem em comum um linear elo onde os experimentos e a predileção por ruídos são a temática central.

Uma obra a ser desvendada periodicamente. 

***** Interview with Telephone Exchange *****

Q. When did Telephone Exchange begin? Tell us about the history...
A: Telephone Exchange was born as a concept by mid 2015 I think. I came up with the idea of making an alternate project to Bleak Boys (the band I was in by then) where I could portray the sound of the different places I've been at a determinate time; very personal and autobiographical in a sense... The name Telephone Exchange was suitable for such a concept, but it all ended just right there. A few months later, already in 2016 and established in Mexico City, my band and I parted ways. I had previously recorded a track in my home studio back in Aguascalientes, and it was meant to be the band's next single. Since I recorded all the instruments for that track, I decided to release it as a "transitory" single to a new personal project, which well, it is now Telephone Exchange (You can listen to it here: The initial idea of making music from different places and moments disapeared, I just wanted to start over from scratch.

There were some problems to properly kick off this project, since all my recording gear was back in my hometown, and I lived in a very small flat and had nowhere to drop all that. It was not that bad at all, since it gave me plenty of time to work on some demos and ideas. About a year after, I moved to a larger flat (by 2017), and began bringing all my stuff to Mexico City. This is really when Telephone Exchange really kicked off, and I began recording a new album; mainly during weekends... Living in Mexico City is tough job wise, and recording an album in a home studio represents big problems in means of all the sound levels and neighbours complaining about it, so, I had to stick to a very tight schedule, that's the main reason why it took almost a year to be finished.

This musical project was initially meant to be a recording project only, but some friends, which are good musicians and actually involved in Mexico City's scene, suggested to try playing it live. We set up a few rehearsals and started sounding really good; very fat, and I like that; so we are now rehearsing a lot, and a live act shoulkd be ready by February.

Our debut album, Maschinelles Learnen released on January 5th, in Mexico via my own label "project", El Cochinero Records; and in the U.S. via Ongakubaka Records. The album is available in 12" vinyl too! 6 tracks, 45rpm, now shipping; we are so happy about that!

El Cochinero Records (MX) release (sleeve available in three colours)

Ongakubaka Records (US) release (beige vinyl)

Q: Who are your influences?
A: Specifically for this album, I'd say Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Women, Electric Prunes, Neu! Captain Beefheart, The Fall, Lizzy Mercier Descloux (The first albums mainly), Kraftwerk, Magazine... Maybe not so obvious, bands like Metz, The Men, Swell Maps, Pissed Jeans, The Seeds...

Q. Make a list of 5 albums of all time…
A: Always a tough one... White Light / White Heat is deffo my number one... Not sure if Daydream Nation or Evol or Sister goes here... Marquee Moon, Women's Public Strain (Or maybe the first one?), and Soft Machine Vol.1,

Q. How do you feel playing live?
A: This is something I don't know yet, since we haven't played live yet, not with Telephone Exchange. During rehearsals I love it, since it's getting its own character, way fatter and more aggressive than the record itself. Also it tends to get a bit experimental, we love jamming and extending the songs. I think by February we will be ready for gigs, it will get very interesting!

Q. How do you describe Telephone Exchange´s sounds?
A: Raw... Unembellished and hazy soundscapes. Somehow rotten, but I think there's a lot of work due on this one.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs ?
A: The whole album was recorded in analogue format using a 4 track cassette recorder. It was really interesting doing it that way, since, I recorded all the instruments, one by one, and many sync and track-bouncing tricks had to be implemented in order to work it out. It was all recorded at very high gain levels, in means of the microphones, and tape saturation. I love the way that sounds.

The drums were actually recorded not in Mexico City, but in my old home studio back in Aguascalientes. I did it this way since I can't play the drums in my flat, I would get kicked out of the building immediately... Then I brought all the recording gear to Mexico City, and carried on with the rest; guitars, keys, voice, overdubs... And mixing of course, which was the toughest stage of this project due to the limited number of tracks available.

The only digital processes involved where during the mastering stage.

The official album description should be this:

"Maschinelles Lernen is the debut album by Telephone Exchange. It tries to transpose the most obscure aspects of human workforce and professional practice into a machine - learning artifact, which is eventually able to discern between performing, thinking, and all the moral, ethical and ontological aspects around these actions. This object of study is eventually transformed into an electronic kind of animal, doomed to respond to induced stimuli within a glazed stall. Maschinelles Lernen is the result of a three - year field trip working at architecture offices, living a corporate life."

Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
A: I haven't been too much into "new bands" really, but I'd say B Boys, Did You Die, HMLTD is bizarre... Palm is fantastic, Moaning, Omni, Idles is brutal, Wand... Though this isn't really, really, "new" stuff at all.

Q: Which band would you love to made a cover version of?
A: Roy Orbison, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Howlin' Wolf, Captain Beefheart.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Lose weight, do excercise, cut down the cigarettes and the drinks, work out the band, play a few gigs in Mexico City, and also set up a short tour around the country with fellow bands and friends. It would be wonderful to set up some gigs in the States too, hopefully this year. Also, start working on new music, but now as a band.

Q: Any parting words?
A: Our album is out now and on all streaming plattforms. You can get your own 12" copy of Maschinelles Lernen here: (MX) and here: (US).

Say no to tablets.
C Saldivar