Through the simple act of layering and editing, 1000 Abstract Machines (aka Andrzej Koper of Wroclaw, Poland) in the track “Phone Lines” summons up what seems like the Cold War–era nightmare of a professional patchcord operator. Conversations, signal interrupts, and prerecorded alerts combine into a slow-motion frenzy of data overload.
The period audio is sourced from elmercat.org‘s phone mashups, and, thus, further back from Evan Doorbell’s phonetrips.com, a collection of archival recordings from phone phreaking, the dawn of what would mutate into — would merge with — computer hacking.
Doorbell recounts his early phone phreak activity:
I would drive around to small towns primarily for the purpose of playing with their payphones. I often brought along my trusty Craig 212 portable 3-inch reel-to-reel tape recorder (this was before cassettes were popular) to record the phone noises and narrate information about them for my friends. I don’t go on phone trips anymore and you are probably thinking that this is because I grew up, but no, I never did. The reason I stopped phone tripping is that all phones are about the same all over the country nowadays and they are really boring.
More on 1000 Abstract Machines/Koper at 1000abstractmachines.com.