Interchange is Warm Digits' second album - an experimental film and album of music inspired by photography and illustrations drawn from the Tyne and Wear Archives, of the 1970s' biggest civil engineering project on Tyneside – the construction of Metro. Invited to investigate the archives to find inspiration to make some new music, Warm Digits found a selection of photographs documenting the transitions between the crumbling, decommissioned British Rail stations of Tyneside and the new, futuristic Metro stations.
These 1970s photographs now carry a powerful aura of nostalgic hopefulness about publicly-funded civic development and connected communities. Visually, this has to do with the collision in the photographs of modernist architectural forms and advanced technology, with the dirt and grind of construction and the demolition and development of the older stations - what architecture critic Owen Hatherley calls the "outright weirdness" of the Metro system's designs, its "curious combination of antique and futuristic". In these photographs, tunnel shells bore unstoppably through the city's underbelly; boffinish, white-coated engineers are lifted by crane into half-finished shafts; modernist, abstract geometric shapes resolve into walkways and overpasses; while on the architects' plans, tiny huddles of theoretical passengers wait as shadows on platforms.
The songs on Interchange, and the accompanying films which use the images as source material, take and hold on to some of the spirits conjured by these pictures: of hopefulness for a publicly-funded civic future, of the use of new technology for change, of the excitement and propulsion of travel.
Released on CD/DVD by Distraction Records; special vinyl/art print/DVD edition by Distraction Records & Alt.Vinyl
Films viewable at youtube.com/warmdigits