A Playlist as the Takuroku Label Ends

Source: The Wire.

Just after the pandemic hit and before the UK government’s Cultural Recovery Fund was introduced, we were left in a position — like every other venue in the UK — that threatened our existence. With live music redundant for any foreseeable future we wanted to figure out a way to simultaneously support ourselves and the artists we work with, both on a local and international scale.

After a lot of consideration, and after seeing the brilliant AMPLIFY 2020 series unfurl, we decided to form a digital label that would do just that, Takuroku. Instead of commissioning ‘formal’ recordings as such in the usual CD/vinyl format, we saw it as an opportunity for artists to express themselves in whatever way they felt necessary. We encouraged sketchbook recordings, sound diaries, and experimental work that artists wouldn’t have the chance to release otherwise, as well as multimedia work. Throughout we kept to a simple 50/50 split deal with artists, keeping the mastering and artwork in-house, and everything available only to download from our website, so no middlemen.

After kicking off in May 2020 we issued a total of 195 releases, finally deciding to end the series on 25 October, the day the venue reopens at full capacity again (albeit with proof of a negative lateral flow test required upon entry). The label has been a really interesting experiment in itself, but it feels time to close the lid on things as our energies are pushed again into our seven days a week programme.

Below is a selection of releases we feel are representative of the breadth and diversity of content we received from artists. While in no way a Top 10 (we could never decide on that) hopefully it provides a helpful entry point into the catalogue. There’s a lot of remarkable music in there…