machines learning
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machines learning


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"Future Perfect with Machines Learning - An Interview"

Sonic Youth e Pixies são referencias eternas pro college radio americano e para toda e qualquer banda que tenha como influência noise e guitarras gritando.

Um bom exemplo anos atrás foi o Autolux que gerou frisson e de repente sumiu do mapa, mas que parece ter feito escola, porque através de mais um contato via rede social chega até o TBTCI o Machines Learning com seu debute Pendragon´s Lullaby, um petardo barulhento e melodioso, 6 grandes canções fazem do EP um frenesi para os amantes das guitar sounds, mesmo que soe datado em alguns momentos ou derivativo, não significa desmerecimento aos caras, ao contrário, serve como aprendizado para voos mais altos, Pendragon´s Lullaby mostra que o Machines Learning tem querosene fervente a queimar....estamos no aguardo de mais noise.

Enquanto aguardamos, como de praxe vai uma entrevista exclusiva e inédita, é obvio, dos caras so TBTCI.

***** Interview with Machines Learning *****
Q. When did Machines Learning starts, tell us about the history...
The bassplayer Brad and I have been playing in bands together over the better part of the last 6 or years. We were in between drummers and the other band I play guitar in called Immovable Objects ( was gearing up to record the record 'So I'll Know to Believe in Sparrows' so our project was put on hold due to the demanding rehearsal/recording schedule of I/O. The Drummer Mario owned and operated Black Box Rehearsal and Recording Studios where I/O practiced and he was engineering the recording. During the Immovable Objects recording sessions I told Mario I had some songs I'd like to record for posterity and he offered to play drums. Once we got the guitars and drums down, I called Brad and he came in laid down the bass work and machines learning was born.

Q: Who are your influences?
The Life and Times
Sonic Youth

Q. Made a list of 5 albums of all time…
Autolux - Future Perfect
Failure - Fantastic Planet
Tool - Undertow
Tortoise -TNT
Polar Bear - Why Something Instead of Nothing?

Q. How do you fell playing alive?
Playing live is a funny thing for me since this is the first band I've ever sang in and I'm really just getting comfortable with it. As a guitar player, I've always been proud to present the music I've written and jump around and move and have a great time. At first as a singer/guitar player I wasn't performing the songs as much as I was concentrating on singing, playing guitar, switching pedals,etc. Now, it's a much more cathartic experience as I'm more comfortable doing everything and I can really enjoy what's happening. I love looking over and seeing Brad and Mario just ripping it up and hearing the music we've worked on translate to the audience the way it was intended. It's a magical thing.

Q. How do you describe MAchines Learning sounds?
I would describe machines learning as post atmospheric space rock. I think it has an element of shoegaze, but also that 90's alternative feel to it. I think we wear our influences on our sleeves without biting on actual songs. I've heard us compared to failure, autolux and smashing pumpkins, which flatters me of course because I love those bands.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs?
We had a simple formula for the whole pendragon's lullaby ep. I would come in to the studio with mostly completed songs on guitar that neither Mario or Brad had really heard. I would sit with Mario and we'd record them to a click track and tweak anything that needed to be tweaked. He'd run out into the live room and I'd man the controls and he'd do 3 or 4 drum takes. We'd do the guitars next and then I'd take the tracks home and write lyrics and melodies to the recording and send it to Brad. Brad would come in and do the bass and then I'd do the vocals and then we'd do the whole cycle over again. We had a basic theme of not overthinking things, just making everything simple as there's a certain power that comes from simplicity. The biggest challenge for me was writing lyrics and melodies. I had never done it before and had no idea what I was doing, but I had gone through a particularly difficult time in my life, so I just decided to write based on those things and excercise those demons. It was a completely different outlet for me and I really enjoyed the process....once it was over! HAHAHA.

Q. Which new bands do you recommended?
I highly recommend Mario's band Sleep Lady ( He plays guitar on it. It's a fantastic record.

I don't know how new they are, but the band Death Grips is unbelievable. It's a more hip hop than 'rock' but the beats are crazy and his flow is insane. He reminds me a little of artist from NY called Beans who is also worth checking out. I like how they play with the different rythms of the songs.
There's also a band called 'Palms' that I can't wait to hear. It's basically ISIS with Chino Moreno from the Deftones on vocals. I have a feeling that album's going to be a MONSTER.

Q: Which bands you love to made a cover version?
I've thought about this one a little lately but haven't come up with anything, when I do, I'll let you know.

Q: What´s the plans for future....
We've got a 3 song EP coming out called 'Success Has Many Fathers While Failure is an Orphan'. It should be out in January or February. There's a free download of one of the songs on the record here

Q: Any parting words?
Thanks so much Renato for what you do! It's people like you that help keep the spirit of independent music alive, without people like you our music would never reach the people reading this right now!
Thanks Paul -

"Machines Learning, the rock band you oughtta know"

Perhaps I am biased because I have a true appreciation for rock. I mean actual rock. I mean a couple of guys or gals, their trusty instruments, and the raw energy that can only come from a string vibrating against electricity. That is the kind of rock that comes with San Diego natives, Machines Learning.

There might be a particular singer out there who in 2011, said that rock would never die. Most of us music fans already knew this, because rock doesn’t have to live on the mainstream charts in order to live. And local players like Machines Learning are proving that fact, everyday.

I really miss the feeling that comes from the perfect balance of melodic music to edgy noise, a balance that can be seen all over the band’s debut album, Pendragon’s Lullaby. Machines Learning creates the kind of music that reverberates in your chest, and yet you can still sing (or yell or scream or whatever) along with it. Songs like “Bulletproof Tiger” will become instant anthems as you chant along to the punchy guitars. It fades to just the perfect level of subdued melancholy before hitting you right back again with intense energy that was definitely meant to move you.

Not to mention, the guys are talented and seasoned instrumentalists. Comprised of Black Box Studios‘ own Mario Quintero on drums, Bradley Botbyl on bass, and Paul Balmer on guitars and vocals, the group created the perfect trio. Their precise use of rhythm is not only fun, but it is what sets them apart from any other local rockers. There’s something that is just a little bit different about their debut; just different enough to set them apart, but not so different as to put them in hipster category. They have the meaty parts of the dish, but their potatoes are the little surprises that come from the dynamics, effects, and down-to-earth lyrics that puts them just on the line of rock and something else. Which is probably why the guys dubbed themselves “post atmospheric indie space rock.” Say that five times fast.

The ‘atmospheric’ will definitely come in on tracks such as “this destroyed me”, an instrumental treat which uses just the right amount of effects before leading into the chord-heavy, structured guitar and slightly syncopated, heartbeat-driven drum patterns that are very customary to the group, and heard throughout the album.

Final verdict? Machines Learning has a sound that is sure to please, whether you’re looking for something to jump around to, or looking for something to sing along with. And if you really want to get a good opinion on the band, check out their show at The Tin Can Alehouse on Thursday. They’ll also be in L.A. before the year is up!

"Machines Learning – Pendragon’s Lullaby"

I’ve been alerted to this six track EP by Machine Learning’s guitarist/vocalist Paul Balmer, one third of the band’s line-up alongside bassist Bradley Botbyl and drummer Mario Quintero. Can’t tell you much more about them, but they tag themselves as akin to Smashing Pumpkins (with justice), shoegaze and space-rock among other things, and as San Diego so I’m guessing that’s where these folks hail from. What they play is a glorious mess of noise and melody, all fuzz and distortion playing across something sweeter. Remember when Jim Reid claimed that he didn’t realise that the Jesus & Mary Chain were making so much distortion and that he thought he was singing like a bird? (Yeah, right). Well, that’s something of what happens with Machines Learning.

The contrast is in the switch from the noise-fest of ‘Bulletproof Tiger’ and ‘Punching The Rabbit’, frantic conflagrations of sonic attacks meshing themselves over Balmer’s vocals, and the cleaner sound of the title track with Bobyl’s determined, dominant, bass lines as it switches from its rough-hewn but un-fuzzed origins into another tightly played melodic cacophony that Billy Corgan himself might have been proud of. ‘satAMcoffee’ delves, probes, even deeper into gritty denseness while Quintero gets particularly punchy on ‘010710’, another one that sharply blends its dual characteristics of grunge with melodic underbelly and, again that Pumpkins analogy, sits square into Machina/The Machines Of God territory, which makes it exciting and very worthwhile in my book.

‘This Destroyed Me’, plays it all out with a pensive, haunting and melancholic mood-swing that lingers in the mind and adds substance and atmosphere to what’s gone before it. Very Smart Stuff. -

"Machines Learning - Pendragon's Lullaby ep (2012) - A brief overview"

Bowing at the distortion-addled altar of Hum, Failure, and even hometown brethren No Knife, San Diego's Machines Learning brew up a sonically teaming cocktail of amped-out, droney sprawls that I'm sure would have you running for earplugs were you to encounter them in a live setting. Unfortunately, unless you live in Southern Cali, the trio's Pendragon's Lullaby ep will have to suffice.

Lumbering bass lines, a concussive yet tuneful delivery system, and Corgan-like crunch all factor into Machines' heady mix, commencing with the white-noise maelstrom that informs "Bulletproof Tiger," gradually segueing into the comparatively lucid title track, and back again to the murky, foreboding howl of "satAMcoffee" and finally, the dynamic juxtapositions of "This Destroyed Me." Very solid stuff, and highly recommended for fans of My Vitriol and Amusement Parks on Fire, as well as the initial comparisons I mentioned above. You can obtain Pendragon's Lullaby from M/L's Bandcamp page, and cd hard copies may be available as well. -

"The Inbox Giveth: Machines Learning"

With crunchy chords that induce a dreamy gaze and generate heavy fields of sonic thrust, Machines Learning has taken cues from Billy Corgan and Kevin Shields and interprets these influences well. Their new 3-song EP, Success Has Many Fathers While Failure is an Orphan, is immersed in a lush and serrated tone, texture and grace allowed to coexist.

With Machines Learning, there is definitely an appeal to nostalgia for anyone pining for the days of flannel shirts and 120 Minutes, when Loveless was new and legitimate college radio won mainstream attention. While "Strong Men Also Cry" opens the EP with an Explosions in the Sky styled post-rock instrumental that doesn't seem too out of character with the past decade or so, the following song, "The Island in the Hills," is an exercise in reminiscence: the drum sounds and stride, the trails of charred guitar strums pulsating through its expanse, a melancholic and sincere disposition communicated through relish of tone.

Album closer, "Penntucket Blues," toys a bit with Slint-like math rock, but ultimately unifies the album's sound by injecting the necessary distortion and quickly finishes off the EP.

I believe this is a digital only release, which is unfortunate. As Machines Learning so ably emulate a time and era that was reliant on the warmth of the analog format, Success Has Many Fathers While Failure in an Orphan seems perfect for cassette or 7."

Letters From A Tapehead -

"Machines Learning – Success Has Many Fathers While Failure is an Orphan"

People who read the content of (((O))) regularly would have noticed our new developed love for San Diego based band Sleep Lady. Interestingly, guitarist in said band Mario Quintero is also active in another project called Machines Learning, but in this case demonstrating his skills as a drummer. Mario met guitarist/singer Paul Balmer when the former was producing the album I’ll Know To Believe In Sparrows by another San Diego band called Immovable Objects, which also has been given some love on (((O))) a while ago. Bass player Bradley Botbyl was added and voilà, Machines Learning was born.

Interestingly, both Sleep Lady and Immovable Objects are instrumental bands, whereas Machines Learning uses a slightly different formula, as they play heavy alternative rock, which brings back many memories to the early 90s. They recently released their second EP Success Has Many Fathers While Failure is an Orphan. With 3 tracks this release is on the slightly shorter side, but it perfectly demonstrates the message Machines Learning wants to throw out to the world, namely going back to the essence of heavy rock with the minimum amount of instruments needed to do so.

This EP actually starts with a beautiful instrumental track called Strong Men Also Cry, which, especially during the opening minutes, draws parallels to Sleep Lady and Immovable Objects. But then Machine Learning’s heavy rock sound kick in with deep, almost sludgy distorted guitar riffs and a heavy bass sound all played over slow hitting drums. This track ends with a long outro falling back to similar musical structures as heard in those intro minutes. It feels like this opener is actually one big intro track laying the foundations for the next song.

This second song The Island In The Hills instantly kicks of with something different. Balmer’s slight distorted vocals provide the opening to this song, sang over a couple of distorted guitar cords. Then Quintero’s big drums blast into the song to open it all up. Botbyl’s bass sound is beautifully heavy and steadily drives the song with the help of Quintero’s great drum work, using lots of fills and little subtle stops. The vocals continue in using this distorted effect and Balmer has this dreamy voice, almost pushing them a bit to the back of the music, but after a couple of listens I catch myself starting to hum along to them. I can’t however stop drawing musical comparisons to some great guitar bands from said 90s, and especially the early Smashing Pumpkins come to mind.

The third and final track Pentuckett Blues is the shortest song on this EP and continues where the previous track finished, but with a lot more focus on the bass guitar, which starts this song with a complicated and almost funky bass line, drawing another comparison to a great guitar band, namely The Jesus Lizard. The drum work is again very sound and it demonstrates how versatile Quintero is as a musician. Balmer continues with dreamy almost hypnotic vocals guiding you through this song, which in contrast to the other 2 tracks ends rather abruptly.

The band is in a great position with Quintero running his own recording studio, and he did a great job recording and producing this EP, really bringing all the instruments together in a dynamic sounding mix.

This very pleasant EP provides a great start to this New Year. The only negative I have with this EP is that it is only 3 songs long, of which the opening track feels more like a huge intro track. It would have been great if the band had included 1 or 2 more tracks to this to complement my listening experience. However, considering their first EP Pendagron’s Lullaby was released only a half year earlier, I am pretty sure we can expect more to come from Machines Learning in 2013.

This EP is available as a free download from their bandcamp site. And while you’re at it, you can download their first EP too, which I recommend as well.

Posted by Sander van den Driesche


Success Has Many Fathers While Failures is an Orphan - 3 Song EP released on 01/01/13

Pendragon's Lullaby - 6 Song EP released on 5/01/12



Melodic and abrasive in the right places, Machines Learning will punch you in the chest and massage you with hypnotic passages. They hit hard with a revitalized loud quiet loud approach of the early 90s, bands like My Bloody Valentine, Sunny Day Real Estate, Sonic Youth and Hum all come to mind. When the band aims at a build, they are relentless. The song Bulletproof Tiger is a great example, the precision pounding drums, body rattling bass and wall of guitars reach such a tremendous crescendo that there is nowhere left to climb. Instead the song’s peak empties into a well of sound, a soft ambient abyss, giving you just enough breathing room to anticipate the next triumphant build, which comes soon and spikes immense.

Singer / Guitarist Paul William Balmer sighs with a unique soft innocence which works especially well juxtaposed against the angular serrated guitars of satAMcoffee. That same soft innocence can give way to a fierce piercing howl when the necessity of the dynamic dictates, matching the intensity of Mario Quintero’s arena worthy fills and Bradley Botbyl’s steadied driving bass work. Machines Learning reclaims the potency of the trio, building a tremendous sound that leaves the listener marveling at the fact that three humans are indeed making it. They are the essence of rock n roll, bass, guitar, drums and vocals, all that was ever needed to move the mind and heart and shake the soul to its core.

The band is composed of three San Diego natives, brought together through the crosspollination of a fertile music scene. Brad and Paul had played together in the band Better Class of Flying Man and later Petticoat. After Petticoat broke up, Paul began concentrating on Immovable Objects. Multi-instrumentalist and owner of Black Box Studio, Mario Quintero was engineering the Immovable Objects record. After Paul had recorded his guitar parts he had some extra riffs he wanted to lay down, Mario offered to play drums, Brad got the call on bass and Machines Learning was born.