The Secret Life of Machines is the new release on VHF Records from the low-profile Fairfax-based band Doldrums. Or is it New York City-based? Or Texas? After recording Machines, the trio’s members went their separate ways, but didn’t break up. “We’re still a band, as much as a band can be made up of three people who only see each other occasionally and are separated by hundreds of miles,” says Bill Kellum, guitarist for Doldrums and VHF’s major-domo. The secret to Machines‘s success lies in the consistency of its free-flowing, melodic compositions. “All of the music is improvised, at least at first,” admits Kellum. “We just jam and then go through the hours of tape looking for the five interesting minutes.” In fact, Machines, part of which was recorded on four-track and part live to DAT, contains 52 minutes of interesting music, spread over five tracks. Guitarists Kellum and Justin Chearno (of Pitchblende) create atmospherics and textures, then Kellum’s brother, Matt, lays down dub rhythms. Doldrums’ sources are disparate, but Kellum thinks “the format of the band is as much an influence as anything—two guitar players with very different styles and backgrounds, and no bass. I think because of that, we pay a lot of attention to the quality of the guitar sound, as opposed to just trying to come up with a cool line to play over the rhythm section.” The CD or vinyl is available for $8 postpaid from VHF, P.O. Box 7365, Fairfax Station, VA 22039.