The empreintes DIGITALes label – Introduction and Random Reviews

I’ll be starting a series of occasional posts about the Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes. What this will entail will be random reviews of some of my favorite releases from this label, of which there are many. This first post will just be a short introduction to the label, although I realize that many readers of this site will not need one. I’ll conclude with some brief words about what informs my thoughts and views as I review this music.

The label was founded in 1989 and is based out of Montreal Canada. Its focus is Acousmatic, Electro/Acoustic and musique concrete. With nearly 200 releases in their catalog, the label is a very large resource and repository of music that strictly and/or loosely fall into this style.

Their releases are not only a fantastic source for, in my opinion, a severely under-publicized and under-recognized style of music but are also known for their pristine sound quality. The latter, for me, elevates each listen to event status. I often feel that after any particular album is finished, I just experienced in my home the closest to an acoustically perfect concert hall diffusion. This is facilitated by exceedingly clean stereo sound. Also, to just up the ante, many of their releases are available in 5 and 7 channel mixes. If you have the sound gear to listen to music this way, it’s truly an unforgettable experience. Of note also, they offer high-quality downloads in MP3, OGG, and FLAC formats. The label’s main distribution outlet is electrocd.com.

From my obviously biased perspective, as seen by my desire to undertake this potentially large project, I feel I can safely say that my signal to noise ratio from this label is extremely high. Frankly, I can’t remember hearing any out and out “duds”. While certainly that’s a personal opinion, if you are even tangentially interested in this music, I would say the empreintes DIGITALes label is a fine starting place.

I’ll conclude this post with a bit about me. I believe much of this music is unfortunately silo’ed within academic circles. Without hard evidence, I’m under the impression that for the most part, it’s composed by practitioners, for other practitioners in the field. Any considerations for a wider appreciation is not visible to me. I’m not an academic, nor a practitioner/creator. I’m just a guy who derives great enjoyment from each experience. Maybe this makes me an anomaly? Regardless, every encounter I have with this music is, (to borrow a coined phrase by Francis Dhomont) A cinema for the Ears.

Hopefully, others feel the same. Stay tuned for some reviews.

Mike Eisenberg

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