Thursday, 24 July 2014

Silent Flow

We got in touch with Max Gruzin, label administrator of the Silent Flow Netlabel, based out of Moldova. A country between Romania and Ukraine who became independent from USSR in 1991.
Who are the people behind Silent Flow? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
I’m the founder and label administrator, Max Gruzin. Bogdan Bondar helps me with social networks and Kirill Kirillov with cover art. I’m from Kishinev, Moldova. I work as a senior programmer in a charter aviation company.
Where did the idea of setting up a netlabel come from?
I wasn’t planning to start a netlabel. I was fond of netlabelism and released some compilations of netlabel music. In a month or so I’ve started receiving submissions from the artists. I’m still releasing both: artist submissions (SLNT) and compilations (BRE).
Did you follow other labels as rolemodels or inspiration to create Silent Flow? Can you drop us some names?
Yes, there were netlabels that I’ve got my inspiration from. It’s a pitty that some of them are defunct. Groovecaffe, Zymogen, Cism, Clinical Archives and of course my favorite: Resting Bell. I must have listened to all of their releases.
I’m still following a lot of other netlabels and artists as well.
Is your artist roster focused locally or worldwide?
We’ve got releases from artists all over the world. And only one of them is local.
You seem to have special concern with the artwork of the releases. Do you have a group of graphic designer or photographers helping out?
Our policy is simple: artist can use his own artwork or we can help with that. We prefer colorful nature pictures. Photographer Kirill Kirillov suplies us with most of the photos, also we use some creative commons images which can be found on the internet.
You also seem to follow a specific genre / aesthetic line. Can you express it in words? Why this specific genre/style? Is it just your preferred type of music?
Ambient, Experimental, Soundscape – that is our main aesthetic line. But we are open to different genres. I think it’s because these genres need much more attention and publicity. True “gems” can be found among these genres.
Can you tell us about your latest release?
“Sozu Project – Introspection [SLNT064]” is one of the latest releases. I’ve got the submission from Paolo in February together with “Requiem” [SLNT059]. We’ve decided to release “Requiem” first and “Introspection” as its continuation. I really love this EP, especially the last track “Elevation and Return”. It’s so close to what I want Silent Flow to be. I really recommend listening this one.
Do you have any connections with local event organizers?
Unfortunately not. Ambient isn’t popular here at all. We are pioneers here. Most downloads and listens come from abroad.
The boom of the netlabels seems to be dying out, with many artists opting for the 100% indie stand of previewing tracks on soundcloud and monetizing them on bandcamp, cdbaby or similar services. How is Silent Flow adapting to these changes?
I’ve noticed this trend some time ago and you’re probably right that netlabelism isn’t what it used to be. Netlabel boom ended, a lot of them disappeared, but some are still functioning and new ones appear. Soundcloud and bandcamp are digital markets distributing and streaming all what users upload. You can simply imagine how much “bad stuff” is there. Netlabels are closer to the listener, we have quality standards which help filter music. We reward loyal listeners by releasing music listener expects us to release. Surely these families become smaller, but they become more loyal as well. We also have our “strongholds” on the enemy side – profiles on soundcloud, facebook, vk and other social networks.
Some netlabels are hybrid with physical releases, have you tried anything in that department or have plans to do so in the future?
We make free digital releases only. We’re still experimenting with different forms of presentation like internet radio streaming, listening directly from the website, subscriptions and more. We’re not planning to give up or stop releasing. And why should we? We’ve never received this much submissions as we do now. Here’s a simple advice to new netlabels: release quality music only, be sincere with your artists and listeners.
It was a pleasure answering your questing and thank you for the opportunity to share my opinion.

Sunday, 27 April 2014


Continuing our series of interviews with different netlabels, we ran into the recently created Datamask netlabel:
Can you tell us a little about who the people behind Datamask are? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
Datamask is run by me, Ghostwerk, from North Hollywood, California. I don’t do anything for a living besides making music, because I’m 17. Releases have been from friends of mine on irc and otherwise.
How did you get involved with netaudio?
Ever since I was a little kid I have been interested in computer music and the culture around it, netlabels and trackers being a part of that.
Datamask is not a “normal” netlabel, can you tell us a little more about your concept and format for releases?
Datamask is a module based netlabel, the releases will be in tracker module formats like .it (for impulse tracker or schismtracker) or .xm (fasttracker or milkytracker).
All of your releases are tagged as being released in 1999 even though they were released in 2014. Why the fascination with 1999? On your website you mention Inpuj, Milk and Mono netlabels as your inspiration. Why those three in particular?
1999 was a time in which mp3 netlabels hadn’t really taken over module labels, and the tracker scene was still flourishing, the fascination with those three labels are just examples of influences on the style of datamask releases and their presentation.
Can you name some of your favorite releases from those labels?
After having religiously listened to Inpuj, Milk, and Mono releases for so long I can’t really pick any favorites, but artists I love that have released on them are Ilkae, Proswell, Temp Sound Solutions, Meek, Vim, Mortimer Twang, Xhale, H.Kyllonen, Ylikulju, Emit, Muira Puama, the list is neverending…
All 3 of those labels eventually turned into mp3 labels and revamped their image. Inpuj is still active after a few relaunches. Why is the old format more relevant for datamask?
The old format is romantic to me as I’ve always felt like I was born too late to really be a part of the tracker scene like I wish I was, and with a bunch people still making modules I felt that it’d be cool if I brought that netlabel paradigm back.
Is Datamask only focused on IDM and experimental electronics then?
Datamask is indeed focused on experimental electronic music, some would call it IDM but even that’s a bit too restricting for the types of releases that will come out.
Can you tell us a little more about your latest release?
The latest release is by Henkka Kyllonen under his tainnos alias, which I definitely had to release because henkka doesn’t track that often and it was really nice of him to make an .it specifically for datamask! The style is sort of influenced by my stuff as Ghostwerk but infused with his style.
I’m out of question, anything else you’d like to add?
Soon Datamask will be releasing a music disk organized by vim (Keith Baylis) who is one of my big influences in the tracker game, it’s honestly really great to have people you respect and are influenced by want to work with you!

Sunday, 16 February 2014


Continuing our series of interviews with different netlabels we came across HAZE netlabel and ended up asking its curator Dzmitry Ladzes a few questions by email:
Who are the people behind Haze? When was it formed?
It was formed in 2007. I had an idea to create some kind of web resource that would represent the Belarusian experimental and avant-garde scene abroad. Local musician and DJ, as well as my friend, Vladislav Buben proposed to use the format of a netlabel for this purpose. That’s how it all started.
I read from your website that you are based in Belarus, can you tell us more about the netaudio scene there and music in general?
Yes, we are based in Belarus. Belarus is a very strange country, which is located in the geographical center of Europe between Poland and Russia. It’s a strange country with a strange history. And the music scene in this country has its oddities. When I started HAZE, the aggressive experimental stage dominated Belarus. Electro industrial, harsh noise, etc. Can you imagine a noise party in a gay club? At that time the country did not have enough good clubs, there were no professional club promoters. But the experimental stage was very active nonetheless. Parties and festivals were held in very strange places.
Today there are many clubs and venues in Belarus. But they haven’t formulated concepts or orientation. For certain clubs, yesterday could have seen a reggae party, a retro party might be held there today and tomorrow they could even host a children’s party. The experimental scene has also changed. While some individuals are still active, young musicians are not so interesting as they do not yet have their own unique vision and sound. Of course, there are exceptions.
Are most of your release artists from Belarus or other countries?
In the beginning I published only Belarusian musicians. But then it grew into an international netlabel. Currently Belarusian musicians are organically merged into a huge global context of experimental music.
Why the focus on experimental, avant-guard and eclectic music?
Because it is the music I like.
You are a musician yourself right? Care to tell us a little more about your personal project?
My project is called Aortha. I do not use instruments, synthesizers or samples banks in my music, only what I have recorded. I like to record the sounds of the street. Then I create samples of these records and processes them through a variety of effects. This is creating collages from the sounds of urban transport, supermarkets, voices of the crowd. I like this method. It’s like hearing an “angel’s song” in the humming of the fridge or finding interconnections in ordinary things.
Are you involved in organizing local events?
Oh… Previously, I was organizing parties and festivals. For example, together with Vladislav Buben we organized the Belarusian part of the Unsound festival. Later, together with the guys from the Foundamental Network and local promo-group Intelligent Punks we organized the experimental music festival InTouch.
Being an ‘artwork manager’ doesn’t just bring one satisfaction from the activities and participation of musicians and audiences. It is very hard work that requires a lot of effort, time and money. Therefore, I decided to quit organizing cultural events, for the time being, at least.
Can you tell us a little more about your literary series?
The literary series was an experiment. Musician had to rethink the literary heritage of the great writers of the 20th century. It was an attempt to translate a literary text into the language of sound and rhythm. We published a total of 12 releases for 2012–2013. Each release was dedicated to a single writer.
I, as a curator of the project, loved this series. Musicians really immersed themselves in the texts of writers and passed on their ideas. However, it seems to me that the series failed.
Today we launched a new series of compilations. HAZE comrade and my wife Anna Rodina suggested a cool idea. Musicians dedicate their works to the cities. Cities in which they were, which they never visited, the city they love, fear or avoid. You know, every city has its own smell, its air. But other than that every city has its own sound, rhythm and musical mood. These features we strive to convey in the new series. This is a sonic journey through various cities. The first compilation from this series will be dedicated to Minsk.
Have you considered other means of distribution? Physical media, paid digital downloads?
Today HAZE publishes music in digital form only for free under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
It is possible that we will soon start selling selected releases on CDs. But it will be an additional opportunity for collectors and connoisseurs. I’m not going to abandon the free distribution of music. It’s part of my values.
What other labels influenced your work? Can you drop us some names?
Variety is one of the features of netaudio. Therefore I find it difficult to identify some leaders. Nevertheless, there are netlabels which draw my attention more often, e.g. Clinical Archives, headphonica and Brusio netlabel. I try to monitor Belarusian netlabels as well. Foundamental Network released very good quality music.
What process do you have to announce a new release? What platforms do you cover?
Mainly I use social networks to promote the releases. Unfortunately, many resources that were dedicated to the promotion of netaudio no longer exist today…
Care to tell us a little more about your latest and upcoming releases?
Heh. It is very difficult to identify a particular release. Just today I published an album with the collaboration of four musicians. This is freejazz. The album is interesting in that it was recorded at a distance. Usually jazz musicians come together in one place and play their improvisation. But there was no visual contact. It was a cool experiment. Recommend listening.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Thanks for your netlabel

We got in touch with the folks behind the conceptual project Thanks for your your netlabel for a chat on what their project was about and the state of the netaudio scene. Mikel Nieto and Blanca Rego were kind enough to answer Filipe a few questions.
Can you tell us a little about yourselves? Who are you, where are you from and what do you do for a living?
Blanca: My name is Blanca. I am from Galicia. I usually work with video but I also do some audio stuff, not really music, only noise, because I can’t make music.
So are you an artist? How do you make a living?
Blanca: I don’t consider myself an “artist”, I don’t like some of the implications of that label. I don’t know if I want to be an “artist”. Besides, it’s really difficult to make a living doing these kind of things, so I have a job. I work as a translator. I didn’t study anything related to translation, but I translate things related to video, photography and sound.
What about you, Mikel?
Mikel: My name is Mikel, I am from the Basque Country. I work with sound, mainly with field recordings, soundscapes and that kind of stuff. I create different projects around those subjects. I’ve worked with Blanca in several projects, like this one, “Thanks for your netlabel”. I like her work because it’s very clear.
So what do you do for a living?
Mikel: We have an art centre here, called Arteleku and I work here on Hots Radio. I coordinate contents and curate, and things like that, working on the soundmap of the Basque Country, which is soinumapa. I also organize concerts to get by.
How did you first come across netaudio?
Mikel: I can’t remember exactly but I think that my first reference in netaudio was maybe addSensor or Plataforma LTW, which I think was the first netlabel here in Spain. I think they are my first references, addSensor is probably one of my biggest references.
Your project “Thanks for your netlabel” is not really a netlabel, is it? Can you tell us a little more about it?
Mikel: We made this project because we wanted to talk about netlabels, we spent one year publishing different posts about netlabels on mediateletipos. And we thought it would be interesting to just make a website with all the information we collected, so we began to make it and to try to put references to different important projects related to netlabels.
It feels like a history of the netlabel scene somehow…
Mikel: Yes, but it’s not like a true history of netlabels, just some references that we consider interesting. We didn’t intend to reflect Netlabels History. All the references that we included are just a proposal.
Fair enough, well, it’s still quite interesting.
Mikel: Thank you!
Can you tell me more about the sound and the artwork of the releases? Is it made using some sort of generative algorithm?
Blanca: I don’t know if you can call it generative really, because I didn’t do any coding or anything like that. If you have a raw file, it doesn’t matter if it’s audio or image, you can open it in an audio or image software, and save it as an image or as a sound. That’s all I did here.
I didn’t realize it was just the raw file of the seed! Did you do any selection, like trying different options and picking the best result?
Blanca: Not in this case, no. You have to make some decisions because the method is not completely automatic, but most of the time you don’t know what is happening, it’s just chance.
So you’re into noise aesthetics?
Blanca: I am interested in that kind of rendering and some glitch stuff, and I also like noise, yes, but not just this kind of digital noise.
There is large divide in the noise and glitch art, between the more conceptual kind of approach and artists who are trying to use those aesthetics for emotional works. How do you fit in this?
Blanca: Most of the time when I do these kind of things, converting one file into another, is just an experiment, so it’s much more a conceptual thing than anything else. In this case I didn’t choose anything, Mikel gave me a list and I just did it. But sometimes when I do it for myself I try it a lot of times and I choose what I like better.
What can you tell me about the netaudio scene in Spain?
Mikel: I don’t know exactly, maybe it’s the same in Portugal or Italy, but here in Spain seems that there isn’t a big stem of netlabels anymore, because there is Bandcamp and that kind of platforms, which are working better with the artists, because they want to sell their music, and that’s it. I don’t know if this means that netlabels are dead or not.
Bandcamp and Soundcloud are currently very big in acceptance, but don’t you think the curational work that the netlabels provide is still important?
Mikel: That’s a good question. I don’t know if it’s important or not, but for example one of our seeds for this project is, which was a great netlabel and now it’s closed. They just published everything. If you wanted to publish some of your stuff, you just sent an email to them and they will publish everything. They didn’t care about it was interesting or not. For me this is a very interesting point of view on netlabels. David Nemeth also talks about this topic, how curation still works on netlabels, and that netlabels sometimes just publish everything, which results in some of their releases not being very good or worth hearing.
I think this topic is very interesting, there was a big boom and after that I think there were a lot of netlabels that were working a lot, publishing a lot of music. And the listeners couldn’t listen to everything, it was crazy. Now Bandcamp and that kind of platforms works better with the artist, without any curator work, directly. On Bandcamp you can publish your music and sell it. But some artists are not mainly interested in selling, they care more about the political position of some licensing, having it available in public domain.
For me it’s very interesting how the netlabels have maybe lost the power on how they publish everything, or how they publish music. Anyway, netlabels are not closing because of Bandcamp, it’s more like a hiatus. It’s an interesting moment. I think netlabels have to change, they need a change right now.
In the boom of the netlabel scene there was always this mention to how netlabels enabled a sort of democratization of the music industry. Providing easy access to the masses to listen to all kinds of indie artists and niche genres. That brought on a wave of releases, as you mentioned, more than anyone could listen to. And in that sense the way netlabels could distinguish themselves was through the curation work. Do you think that has changed?
Mikel: I think the question is for the curators themselves, if they make sense right now, in the netlabels. Because listeners do that work, they are also curators. When we want to find new music we just type in Google and that’s it. Or maybe a friend sends you an email and you listen to that and see if it’s interesting. Then we make that selection. So, do netlabels really need the curators work? Or do the listeners just want make their own selections?
Listeners tend to be attached to what they already know and won’t search out of the box. I think curators still make sense as a reference that people can follow for discovering new music of good quality.
Mikel: It could be.
An experimental approach in this field was this project where a webradio would play music anonymously, so people wouldn’t know what artist is playing, just focus on if they like it or not. And they would just trust if the webradio was good or not.
Mikel: Yeah, that is also very interesting. But then there is the question if we want to listen to music in that position. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good proposal, it works very well theoretically. But not in practical terms, because we want to listen to big artists. We want those names. We like the big artists. We love it.
Anyway, I think when we are listening to music we are already making the curators work, and we just want, for example, to find music that connects with our friends. The socialization of music is possible to function.
Blanca: But that is not something new…
Mikel: No, it’s not new, we were mentioning David Nemeth before and he also talk about this, how we served our music with vinyls 30 years ago, and in the 80s with the cds. We spent a lot of time listening to the same cds with our friends. Now it’s the same, we want to find new music with our friends. The question for me here is if the curator is needed for this or not, and then if it makes sense or not. Because I think the main point of the netlabels is to serve music (and for free, without money). And when you serve music online, it’s very different from serving music on k7 or cds. Online everyone can take your music and make another thing with it, you know? They listen and then they can make something new. And I think that’s very interesting, that’s the most important part of netlabels: listen, no money, take it if you like it and make another thing out of it.
So are platforms like Bandcamp the future for the music industry?
Mikel: Bandcamp is the present. The music industry is different from the netlabels. Netlabels are about sharing music. Music industry is about money. They build very comfortable and pretty websites to sell music. They build an industry around music.
Netlabels are just about sharing. This reminds me of a documentary I recently watched called “Downloaded”, it was about Napster, how they were fore-fronting what people wanted (to easily share music online) and how the music industry completely failed to make any agreement with them to evolve their business model to meet the technology.
Mikel: Yes, it’s just like Napster, we want to share, we don’t care about the money.
And my question is, aren’t we, with the netlabel movement, somewhat forcing the music industry to adapt itself? Making them come closer to what the listeners want in terms of technology? What’s the future for this clash of worlds?
Mikel: Hmmm, We must understand that the music industry is always following new things, new models, new systems, just to get money. They just serve Napster or the way Napster serves music to get money. It’s not related to netlabels or netaudio ideology at all.
So what is the future?
Mikel: In the future all the people will just make their own music and share it. We’ll spend a lot of time making music instead of listening to other’s music. I think this is our future: not to listen to music. For example, 1000 downloads mean 1000 listeners? People download music but they are not listening to it.
Yes, lots of times we just download releases, listen to them once and never listen to them again, there is so much music out there, and everyone is a musician, music is so accessible, you yourself can just make the music you like and listen to your own music.
Mikel: It’s very important to think about this. If people don’t want to listen to others music then it’s ok, just listen to your own music. I don’t think this is a problem. Besides, I think some people just want the downloads, not the listeners, because maybe it’s easier to get more concerts with a big number of downloads.
Don’t you think social networks like Soundcloud fulfil that role?
Mikel: I have a Soundcloud account, but I never use it. Do you use Soundcloud for communication? Or to make more social interactions? How many listeners do you have in Soundcloud? Does it work for you?
I know what you mean, I have a Soundcloud account for the label and yes, I mostly just use it to get more followers and announce the releases. But it’s almost like a fake network, I don’t listen to 99% of their work. I doubt many people do.
Mikel: A fake network? It could be. Like MySpace, and MySpace is over now.
Blanca: MySpace is not over, it’s making a slight comeback.
Yes, MySpace guys have revamped their site and are getting a little community back. It doesn’t have anywhere near the quantity of active users it used to have, but they are still alive. But yes, they went to shit a few years ago and it was all just fake networks spamming each other. Not much real interaction.
Mikel: Yes, that’s the point: if Soundcloud works or not for real interaction. I don’t think it does.
Before MySpace there was, and after MySpace there was, and lot of other other similar websites. Artists built their fake networks of other artists to spam their releases and count the number of downloads. Not real interaction. Not sharing music with friends.
Mikel: Yes. Not real interaction. Not sharing music with friends.
Well, I think I’m out of questions. Thank you for time!
Mikel: Thanks Filipe for your interest in our project, and for this interview, it’s good to talk about netlabels. We like it and we need to find a different way to make what we love to make.
Blanca: Thank you, bye!

Monday, 4 November 2013


Next up on our list of interviews: the curators of Nostress Netlabel based in Palermo, Italy.
la memoria del objeto
Who are the people behind Nostress? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
Nostress is a Palermitan (Sicily) indie record label that I (Paolino Canzoneri) set up in 2011. We have several key collaborators; Francesco Calabria is the live events manager, while Lorenzo Lunardo and Gaetano D’alessandro, our web masters, enable the site to be compatible with diverse platforms. David Purpura, our main correspondent in London (UK), updates the label with news from the UK: the London scene and major events. I should also mention Luigi Cilento that I have known from the beginning and for the first two years of my musical journey. We all work in the IT world.
When did you first feel the need for creating a netlabel? Why a netlabel and not a regular music label?
Music has always been a passion for me. I started playing drums when I was a young kid. I also played in several groups. I am 47 and was privileged to witness the changes in music across the 70’s, 80’s etc. In particular the introduction of new electronic instruments in the music scene and the ‘birth’ of the digital era. In 2009 I joined a local [Palermo] indie experimental musical scene which was taking off but was restricted by their limited musical choices. After a while I resolved to create a different scene – a more personal one which would also follow local trends but which would mainly focus on global artists and would not be bound by geography. I decided to create an independent label which would not be dictated or affected by the multinational musical corporations. My aim is to produce and promote music, allowing the artists’ freedom of expression and total control of their product. Over the years I set up projects which were produced on several independent netlabels; this enabled me to understand the importance of promoting ‘independently’.
I believe that nowadays there are no major differences between ‘commercial labels’ and ‘netlabels’. The web is integrating these two terms. Nostress is defined as a ‘net-label’ on the web. But it is also a regular music label, as we will publish using vinyl, CD and tapes. We also have a “real” studio with multitracking and mastering.
Were there any other labels that influenced you early on or that you still use as references?
As stated above I was able to contact other netlabels and understood how the phenomenon was developing. Music is far beyond mere business – it is, in my view, pure expressive art. There are a huge number of artists out there who wish to promote their music without monetary reward. Sometimes artists create solely to serve the market. I feel that is far too humiliating, as it hampers creativity and freedom, and endorses a bias in music appreciation, which is far from the audience’s tastes. Netlabel music was established by young people who have little access to financial resources, who take a political stand in challenging the commercial view of music today. At its core the members of netlabels are distributing free music using a licence (Creative Commons) that enables them to download music free, Netlabels enables artists to use them as marketing device to promote their music to major labels who regularly scan netlabels in search of new talent. By doing so, netlabel is able to globally promote all artists, whether they are interested to play in indie style or promote their music in the mainstream market.
What kind of music do you focus on?
Since I was a kid I have been passionately interested in music. My father supported me in developing it further. He would buy me vinyl and would ask my eldest cousin what type of music I liked and which band was worth listening to. Just before one of my birthdays, my cousin told my father to buy me the LP with the picture of a cow on the front. I was nearly 14. Needless to say, this opened up the world of British Progressive Rock for me. I’ll leave you to guess what he bought me. Since then I developed a visceral taste in rock music and kept a close eye on its development over the last 30 years right through the development of electronic music. Nostress Netlabel promotes an experimental approach by musicians moving away from psychedelia; travelling through rock and progressive rock and reaching electronic or electro-acoustic music styles at the end of their journey.
What can you tell us about the netaudio scene in Italy? Are there many netlabels active?
Italy traditionally has imported its music, for example, we have always paid great attention to what is happening in Europe and America. We have never felt envious of non-Italian music, and we have never been overly patriotic toward just listening to ours. The netlabel phenomenon is constantly evolving. In my view it has become a global phenomenon as it not only represents a dimension of Indie music, but has ties with new-socio-political views that represent the thoughts of young people. The netlabel is a web-based forum where diverse musicians can touch base with people who have common views and want to share them. In Italy there are several netlabels which are popular with different artists who are searching for publications and promotion. Here is a map created by Ephedrina Netlaboratorio. (link)
Do you organize local events to promote your work?
To manage a netlabel means maximising the promotion of the artist by organising live concerts in pubs or community centres etc. Nostress Netlabel is capable of organizing such events ad hoc, with a quick turnaround. We can also act as ‘media-partners’ and link artists with other organizations and producers which are web-based. If you check the section events of the ‘site’, it displays all the events and ways to participate on the site. This is a kind of on-the-road section.
What’s your standard procedure for promoting a new release? How do you build up attention? What are your favorite platforms do you promote it on?
We tap into the social networks, in particular Facebook – we also have contacts on blog pages, music fanzines and webzines.
Can you tell us a little more about your latest release?
The latest release is from the Russian artist Andrey Kireyev, who has already published a couple of projects. We are currently participating in an expansion of the Russian musical Avant-garde in its experimental form; in particular bands like T.Bird, ASTMA, Coaxil, etc.
What are your plans for the future?
We are planning to to expand our musical releases by printing on CD glass masters and also vinyl and tapes. We already have a vinyl release out – we are very fond of vinyl! We also have a parallel project called NN LIVE where we attempt to involve as many bands as we can. We are planning to use this platform to run workshops on new musical technologies. Etterem from Milan attended the first meeting in March 2013 at the Garibaldi Theatre in Palermo. It was a beautiful experience.
Any particular release you are most proud of?
After publishing 43 LPs and 21 EPs and 2 compilations of unreleased material (the unreleased tracks are published each year on a netlabel), we are very proud. We are also very lucky in what we achieved so far. We have been focusing on the Palermitan scene and have captured the attention of Palermitan groups like Cinema Noir, Cum Moenia and Echonaif. We value these groups very highly.
We also have a spiritual and intimate side which is expressed by the duo Marco Manzella and Antonella Scalia. Aldo Ammirata and his work, Empirical Evidence, encapsulates experimental music. Aldo has had a timeless number of downloads. One of his live concerts in 2011 was published by Nostress. Moving North we have links with Plasmat, Hortus Conclusus and the experimental avant-garde scene, such as Efficient Refineries, Syrinx, Baumann.electronics, Triton, TÜNEL and Nick Z-gibarian and in Indonesia with Control-Z.
There are loads of others – too many to mention here. We are a great family and would like to sincerely thank everyone involved in Nostress.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Subterranean Tide

Continuing our search for new netlabels to interview we ran into Subterranean Tide, a relatively recent netlabel, focusing on Drone / Ambient / Experimental sounds. we exchanged a few emails with the curator, Emily Ferrell, to get a little insight into how they operate.
Darwin Raymond – Unknown, or Unremembered
Can you tell us a little more about the people behind Subterranean Tide and what they do for a living?
Well, there really are no people, just one person: me :) I’m type 1 bipolar and I’m on disability so I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. So essentially I do nothing for a living, I have two full time jobs – taking care of my out-of-balance self and being a mom to my 13 year old son.
Why and when did you feel the need to start a netlabel? Why a netlabel and not a “regular” label?
I started the netlabel when my dear friend Darwin Raymond made the suggestion. Being home most of the time, I wanted to do something that might give my life more meaning. My husband Michael Duane Ferrell (aika Elian) brought this sound scene into my life and I wanted to give something back to the community of artists that I’ve come to love. I think regular labels take a lot more money. I needed something I could do for free – kind of like volunteer work. Netlabels are a great place for artists to start out and I’m obsessively in love with the creative commons culture.
Can you tell us a little more about your label’s relation to text and poetry? Do you find them complementary forms of art? Do you think there is a lack of labels that bridge both?
I find most art complimentary. Artists are constantly inspired by other art, we feed off each other, it’s that feeding energy that helps inspire one another. Poetry has always gone hand in hand with music, especially because of the use of voice as an instrument in song writing. It gives direction to the listener – a sort of narration of the music itself. It sets the stage. I don’t think there is a lack of labels that bridge both. Multi-media projects and collaborations are always around.
How does video differ from your label’s relation with text/poetry?
I think video leaves less to the imagination. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective or important.
Are there any labels that you could name as references or influences of yours?
Oh absolutely, Feedback Loop Label as well as the label owner, Leonardo Rosado were a huge influence. I hope I might be able to fill where Feedback may have left off – although, I can only hope Subterranean Tide will be as successful. There are other labels I’ve fallen in love with as well, I adore what Resting Bell has done and love the surrealism of suRRism-Phonoethics that Jaan Patterson has created.
What platforms do you use to promote your new releases?
As many platforms as I can find – but social networking seems to get the best response.
Do you have any contacts or plans for organizing local gigs and promotion events?
Oh gosh, this is something I haven’t thought about yet. Most of the musicians I’ve worked with are from all over the globe – so it might be difficult to localize. But it’s not something I’m against, just haven’t gotten there yet.
Can you tell us about your current latest release?
Bobby Jone’s “Planets With Two Suns Have Black Trees” just came out this week. An electro-acoustic ambient gem. I love this guy’s work and knew it would be an honor to have him on the label – I’m delighted he accepted.
That’s it, thanks for you time! Any last words?
Thanks for this and the opportunity to talk about Subterranean Tide, keep your ears open for more great music to come.

Friday, 16 August 2013

La Manufacture de Bruit

We recently talked with David Vallée of the French netlabel La Manufacture de Bruit to discover a little more on their modus operandi.
Who are the people behind La Manufacture de Bruit? What do they do for a living?
La Manufacture de Bruit was originally created by two persons, Stéphane F. from the French label “Cauldron Music” and myself, David Vallée, from another French label “La Cadera”. We have been working together since 1998, for several projects and collaborations. Cauldron was more oriented towards medieval, folk and neo classical music, La Cadera at the beginning was producing neo-classical and ambient industrial music. Cauldron Music has stopped its activities in the mid-2000’s, La Cadera in 2002, and a few years later, we decided to create a netlabel to release our most important productions for free. La Manufacture de Bruit was firstly created for this, for our old productions not to be forgotten. But quickly we decided to produce other projects as well. At the end of 2012, I decided to continue the netlabel alone.
La Manufacture de Bruit does not generate income, all our productions are free and the label only costs us money! Lucky for us, we have jobs to make a living!
You seem to be very focused on dark ambient / neo classical / ethereal kind of sounds. Is this correct? Why the focus on this genre?
Yes, this is correct. As I wrote it before, our previous labels were already oriented towards these styles of music, even if we like other kind of sounds. Our first music projects were already in these styles (Fin de Siècle for my colleague and Semper Eadem for me), it was natural to follow this way, but not only because of this. We also had the idea not to create a simple netlabel, but instead something covering different arts, like photography, writing, music, videos and films, and we thought theses styles of music are very close to different kind of arts.
We also found back then that dark ambient, neoclassical or ambient industrial were not well-represented on other netlabels out there, and this kind of music is relatively unknown, especially neoclassical music, even if you can hear it in a huge number of films.
When did you feel the need to create a netlabel?
The idea came in 2008, at the 10th birthday of “Cauldron Music” and “La Cadera” first encounter. We decided to put all our best productions in the netlabel, and to go on with a new production “Post Mortem Photographs”, the first work Stéphane and I composed together. Our aim was not to sell music, but to offer it for free. So a netlabel was the best way to do this.
Why a netlabel and not a regular label?
We had already directed labels, and we had to stop our activities. You know, a label and a netlabel don’t work the same. A label needs to produce and sell enough releases to live, not a netlabel. After our experiences, and our new way to see music, a netlabel was the best manner to proceed: to share and promote interesting artists, in the spirit of our music being freely available for everyone who could be interested in it.
Can you name some of the labels that influence you?
I cannot speak for Stephane, who left “La Manufacture de Bruit”, but for me the label that most influenced me is 4AD (for their works in the 80’s), merging music, graphic art, videos, and creating collaboration between the musicians they produced, as we try to do with our “Les Bruits de la Manufacture” collection. Except for this specific case, I can say it is music, arts and artists I like who influenced me, more than labels.
Can you describe the steps that you typically take preparing a new release? Do you work closely with your artists? How do you handle promotion once the release is available?
I prefer having the artists come to us and present their works, more than looking for them. They propose their music or other arts (like video, photos) and I find out what they are doing. If I like their work, I try to understand who they are, their feelings, their thoughts, their vision about art and music. La Manufacture de Bruit is not a commercial label, I won’t produce discs like other label, except perhaps CD-r or why not tapes, so the band must have the same convictions as the label. We prefer doing music for free. If the artists are interested in working with La Manufacture de Bruit, they propose me an album, LP or EP, and we speak about the music, the order or the tracks. I do not direct the bands, we try to find the best way to produce their music, but most of the time, I don’t say anything, they are free to propose their art as they want. In fact, artists who are working with La Manufacture de Bruit know what they want, and come to our label with a well finished work.
Where we, the artists and myself that is, work together much more is graphic design. They explain what they want to express with their art, I try to be closer to their idea. Sometimes, artists propose their own photos, or graphic ideas, and I work with them to have the best compromise between their concepts and our graphic identity.
For promotion, we do some, mostly by Internet, sometimes by flyers we diffuse where we can. But bands are free to also do so.
Any release you are particularly proud of releasing?
I’m proud of releasing every production you can find at La Manufacture de Bruit, but the ones I’m particularly proud are “Fin de Siècle” and “Puppets Love Dreams”. “Puppets Love Dreams” for their wonderful compositional technique, their lyricism and emotion, “Fin de Siècle” because the album “Présences” is the first of this famous French project, this albums tells the beginning of the great Fin de Siècle’s story.
I would have been very proud of releasing an album from the French band Absinthe (Provisoire), but after problems of music rights, it was impossible to release it for free. It was a wonderful 3 hours album, between rock and industrial music, very original and interesting. But we couldn’t release it.
On your homepage you also have a section dedicated to videos from your releases. Do you feel the video is an important part of your releases? Do you feel it helps reach a wider audience, or is it just an extension of your work as a label?
Since the beginning, La Manufacture de Bruit was not solely focused on music, but on every kind of artistic expression, even if music makes up the main part of the label activities. Sure, I think video is very important for music, particularly in visual music like Fin de Siècle, Cattle Mutilation or Semper Eadem. For example, Semper Eadem was founded to compose music and sound ambiances for a short film. So, yes, for La Manufacture de Bruit, videos are intimate links to music. We did not do that to reach a wider audience, but to widen the music itself, to give visual life to the music, to create a complete musical and graphic identity.
We would like to extend our activities to all kind of graphic or moving arts, like photography, theatre, miscellaneous exhibitions. But there is no precise project. One day, perhaps.
Thanks for your time. Any last words?
Our aim is to diffuse music, to create collaborations between artists, so, if some of you want to collaborate, don’t hesitate to send me music, photos or videos. I do not produce CDs, perhaps CD-R if it is possible to sell a disc, but we mainly work for art, for music and for free.
Thank you for the interest in La Manufacture de Bruit.