In this instalment of The Maker, Fernando Perales joins the conversation. The Buenos Aires-based musician has been creating and releasing music under the name of Mi Cosa de Resistance since 2017, having released music on labels including Whitelabrecs, Elm Records, Left Tapes, Aural Tethers and Nebula Science. Mi Cosa de Resistance will be joining RTR with the album ‘Blank Polaroids’ (RTR030), to be released tomorrow. Fernando describes his music making process as “Frankensteinian”, recycling fragments of long-lost vinyl samples to create a unique blend of lulling loops, gentle progressions, and beds of hiss and crackle. ‘Blank Polaroids’ will be released alongside the album ‘Slö Tungg’ (RTR029) by fellow tape and lo-fi enthusiast, Hymns57.
In this feature, Fernando gives an overview of the early music experiences that led him to discover ambient music, describes his creative process, discusses achieving a sense of cohesion when making an album, and elaborates on the commitment required when using tape as a recording medium. Fernando also gives a shout out to RTR alumni Andrew Heath.
How did you first get introduced to ambient/drone/experimental music?
As I was born in 1971, I became a regular rock fan around 1985. When I was 16 or so, I remember listening to David Sylvian’s wonderful ‘Gone to earth’ and Eno’s ‘Another Green World’. on a midnight radio show in Buenos Aires and I had the chance to recorded them to a tape cassette. In 1988, I discovered Nick Cave, Crime & The City Solution, and Tuxedomoon through ‘Wings of Desire’ soundtrack and also around that time, reading an underground magazine I finally arrived at Sonic Youth, Pixies and stuff which led me to noise rock. In 1989 I also came across by chance, firstly John Coltrane and free jazz and then also through a radio show I discovered John Zorn and Naked City, Bill Frisell, Diamanda Galas and the rest of the NY avantgarde movement from mid-80s. So, for years and years, my musical diet was based on noise rock and this NY free improv world, which both combined have been like a common ground to my own musical experiences.
What inspires you to create a new body of work?
As my compositional process has suffered a radical shift during the last months I can tell what’s about to come. Since 2016 I have been working exclusively with samples taken from vinyls and manipulated with Samplr, an Ipad app. There were no instrument at all, just samples ensambled with a Frankensteinian approach, I mean I have brought back to life bits and pieces of forgotten bodies, mixed in the box via Ableton or lately Reaper. That’s was until a few months ago. My upcoming work will be still based on my Frankensteinian passion for collage and assemblage but it will also include a more regular instrumentation: guitar, bass, piano, and percusive objetcs, wheter musical or not. And I am also starting using harware equipment to mix, leaving plugins behind.
How do you approach working on a new release?
Once I have recorded several tracks I usually take those which I think could fit together as an organic whole. As much as I love working with bits of music with different precedences I am completely obsessed with cohesiveness. I need to feel that the tracks I have picked convey the same emotion and atmosphere; the pursuit of melancholia through musical means is the other corner stone of my musical poetica.
Can you tell us about your favourite new release from the last 12 months?
I absolutely love Andrew Heath’s work, especially ‘Lighting Beacons’, but I love all of them. He achieved some wonderful and emotive sonic landscapes. His music reflects for me a feeling of eternal homesickness or saudade, to use a Portuguese word, an ever longing for something that it is not clearly defined. I also appreciate his ability to mix heterogeneous music materials, not only in the stereo field but also back to front. Every detail has its own space, like in a good and classic English album (think of Adrian Sherwood and his mixing concept).
As RTR is a tape label, we have to ask: What attracts you to the cassette medium?
I grew up listening cassettes way deep into the mid-90s and just recently came back to them as a recording tool, using a Fostex X-18 Portastudio. What I learned so far is that If you commit yourself to using hardware gear and tape recorders you will find yourself obliged to take aesthetic choices in the way in, before you press the record button, making decisions that somehow you will have to live forever with.