Ten Years of NNA Tapes

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

For all the precision and artfulness reflected in each release from NNA Tapes—uniform cover designs, boundary-pushing music—the Burlington, Vermont experimental label began with a joke. According to Toby Aronson, who co-founded the label with his friend Matt Mayer, the label’s name originated with an offhand comment. “We made a joke saying we’d call [our sound] ‘Nü New Age’—you know, like nü metal?” he says. “It was tongue-in-cheek, but it had a ring to it, and it kind of stuck.” The two were inspired by the gentle synth-based music that was common in the late ‘00s, but noticed a kind of shared secret amongst its fans. “Nobody was saying it, but it sounded like New Age music,” Aronson says, laughing.

A lot has happened in a decade, and the label’s sound and design have broadened substantially since they started. Though it took them three years to issue their first vinyl release, and in the first half of 2018, they’ve pressed up five titles on wax, spanning experimental jazz, microtonal synthpop, and electroacoustic composition. Another change? None of those feature cover art with white borders or semi-circles.