The Rio trio (part dos - interview) - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #40

Part one here.

Okay, so last week I had a good old rant about Brazilian trio Sobre a Máquina. I mentioned that there was an email interview incoming but I was just so stoked to bring you their music I didn’t want to wait a week, so they get two articles, as would seem to befit a band of their considerable underground stature. The interview has now arrived. Thank you Cadu for your time. And for your answers, you seem to have a knack for doing that thing people often do when English is not their first language. Stumbling upon awkwardly beautiful phrases. I’ll try to keep the pointing out of them to a minimum because every arsehole does that and it’s pretty patronising.

So I’ve had another week to completely absorb the three records and boy are these things rabbit holes! Long sequences of space and void filled only with electric wailing like robotic howls issuing out over a deserted post-apocalyptic wasteland. Even when the music does become filled with something more substantial, it trudges alone through the wastes, like the addictive and never-ending bassline on Língua Negra; and then without much warning, flurries of violence that are as quick as they are shocking. The entire tableau plays like a Sergio Leone film. Vast emptinesses with tiny details, a close up bassline that holds for a long time, back to wasteland, and whip-cracks of bone-snapping violence. The style is most pronounced in the later work, but the early album has so much to offer in terms of at times drifting almost into electric Bardo Pond-esque mindfuckery. What do you expect from a band that dressed like the kid from the Orphanage grown up and list Throbbing Gristle, Tim Hecker and John Coltrane in the same sentence as influences? Clearly these dudes are to be taken seriously and are not someone sonically with whom you ought to fuck. Of his music Cadu says “it’s chaotic but mesmerises, brings a sense of understanding... it was the ability of this type of sound to translate everything I see, the peace that passes”.

Sobre a Máquina are a product of the interesting avant garde music scene in Rio that is springing up at the moment, which Cadu was keen to talk about. “An underground show called ‘Quint Avant’ helped the scene grow. It was about incredible bands and artists with varied sounds that shared experimentalism. Sobre a Máquina were there with Chinese Cookie Poets, Rabotnik, Duplex, Dorgas, Terrorism in Tundra and Brazilian underground mainstay Arto Lindsay”. This show and the continued success of the avant scene in Brazil point to a sad fact about the way music scenes work. Unless you have a scene, the chances of your band being able to reach a lot of people are extremely small. A whole infrastructure of bands, venues, promoters and fans needs to come into being and sometimes it takes a conflagration-like super-event to give a scene the big-bang style kick it needs to get going. And Sobre a Máquina don’t pull any punches when it comes to ambition and ideas, just like the rest of the Rio set. “Our two albums (Decompor and Areia) and the EP (Anomia) form a trilogy that close a cycle of ideas based on the wear of life and forms of self-renewal; or if you prefer, “Decompor” (decompose) represents the perception of wear, the intense repetition of the routine and the conflicts that arise based on that. “Areia” (sand) is what remains. It’s like finding ways to continue in some form without a clear purpose. It’s like you have lost your old identity... but it’s not all bad”.

Especially with all this tedious SOPA/PIPA business clogging up the internet, I am always interested to hear what an artist thinks about releasing their music for free on the internet. Sobre a Máquina have the support of shoegaze internet music label Sinewave; they do release corporeal music but in small handmade packages of CDr’s with beautiful artwork by Thiago Modesto. The new album that’s coming (oh yeah, a new album’s coming) will include a wider release and maybe even vinyl so keep up to date by looking them up. “We believe that people who buy the album will not stop buying because they downloaded the album in mp3, I believe the perception of having physical album with all the work of art is different, but the best way to get our music to people today was via the internet.”

A new album is in the works from these guys and I can’t wait. It means a new idea and with Sobre a Máquina that could mean anything. These guys are currently only playing in Brazil so chances are if you’re reading this you won’t get to see them live and buy corporeal discs with ornate packages. Please be cool and follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and drop round their bandcamp and pick up their records totally free. If you do though, and you like what you hear, let them know. Drop them a tweet or an email telling them you rock, gimme more! And do the one thing that’s more important to small bands than anything else. Tell your friends. Get the music downloaded.

Thanks very much to Cadu and the rest of Sobre a Máquina for their time.

Written under duress by Steven.

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