The Boundary-Pushing Music of 577 Records 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

“I’m always surprised when someone pays attention,” says Federico Ughi, co-founder of 577 Records, “because we’re the underground of the underground!” The self-appointed title is a joke, but it hints at both the label’s relatively low profile and—inadvertently—at the unifying sound running through all of their releases. The label, which is nearly two decades old, evades easy definition, producing experimental jazz that pushes beyond traditional boundaries.

577 Records was born from a series of house shows in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood in 2000, part of a shared project between Ughi and his friend and label co-founder, NYC jazz legend Daniel Carter. The pair hosted small monthly shows in Ughi’s apartment—not because they lacked venues, but as a way “to create a DIY space we could manage, a safe place for musicians. Instead of going somewhere else, it was something we could do for ourselves. That’s still the platform we have: musicians come first,” says Ughi. In the following year, Ughi and Carter founded their label, which they named after their apartment number.

The Sub Rosa Label Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

“We never wanted to create a record company,” says Guy-Marc Hinant. “I came to Brussels in the 1980s to study cinema. I met Fred Walheer and we started doing things together: publications, collages, performances. Then we had the idea to make records to link to a wider public…”

40 years later, Hinant and Walheer are still making records. Their collaborative project, Sub Rosa, is one of the most respected and influential labels specializing in avant-garde recordings, electronic experimentation, and anthropological field recordings. “The real question is why to release and to publish something rather than not doing it? What is the urgency of putting this out? For me, Sub Rosa is a perpetual flow,” Hinant says. “It’s very organic.”

Unexplained Sounds Label Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

The label Unexplained Sounds Group is dedicated to mapping the breadth and depth of experimental music from around the world. The label specializes in compilations of electroacoustic, ambient, noise, and contemporary composition from Europe, the Middle East, and beyond. Its rapidly expanding catalog offers an education in, and an introduction to, a global network of aural disorientation.

Raffaele Pezzella, the Italian founder of Unexplained Sounds, discovered experimental music in the 1990s, when he was in his early 20s. “Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma was one of the albums responsible for that shift in listening to music,” he says. From there he started exploring Brian Eno, John Hassel, and Terry Riley. “A completely different universe opened up before me… a revolution in my mind,” he says.

The Story Of Impulse! Records 

Source: uDiscover.

Founded in 1961 by Creed Taylor, Impulse! Records is regarded as one of the most important and iconic record labels in jazz. Its history is rich with pioneering musicians who refused to sit still, pushing musical boundaries and creating a discography that’s the equal of any other major jazz record label.

One man looms large in Impulse! Records’ history: John Coltrane. A musical seeker who played saxophone and flute, and recorded for Prestige, Blue Note and Atlantic before landing at Impulse! in 1961, Coltrane evolved into a paradigm-busting pathfinder who became not only the label’s talisman but also, both musically and spiritually, its guiding light. Indeed, such was his influence on the company’s mindset and raison d’être that Impulse! Records was often referred to as “the house that Trane built”.

Ipecac Recordings Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

Source: Ipecac Recordings.

IPC-1, that’s the catalog number of the release that started it all: Fantômas’ self-titled release. Greg Werckman, former Alternative Tentacles’ Head Honcho and Mike Patton’s manager, along with Mike Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk) were looking for a label home for two new Patton projects: a “supergroup” featuring Patton, the Melvins’ Buzz Osborne, Slayer’s Dave Lombardo and Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn as well as Maldoror, a release featuring Japanese noise heavyweight Masami Akita (Merzbow) and Patton.

On April 1, 1999, Ipecac Recordings was officially born, headquartered out of Werckman’s San Francisco home office, the company released Fantômas’ self-titled album on April 26, 1999 and Maldoror’s She later that fall. Initially, the plan was to make this a home for Patton’s non-Faith No More/Mr. Bungle releases, but a year’s long friendship with the Melvins quickly changed that. Melvin’s singer/guitar player Buzz Osborne said “We asked if he would be interested in doing a trilogy of releases within one year and they said no problem. 20 years later it still works.” That year the Melvins released The Maggot, The Bootlicker and The Crybaby via Ipecac.

Over the ensuing years, Ipecac Recordings has served up over 200 releases that includes 33 various pieces of the Melvins’ discography, four of heavy music’s most critically-lauded and influential albums of the past two decades via ISIS, Eagle of Death Metal’s debut album (Peace, Love, Death Metal) and 23 albums from At The Drive-In’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. Add to that releases from Ennio Morricone, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age/Desert Sessions), members of the Jesus Lizard, Jim Thirlwell, Dean Ween, Napalm Death, Einar Orn, Zach Hill, Sleaford Mods, Mark Lanegan, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe and, of course, Mike Patton’s expansive and ever growing, body of work including Tomahawk, Mondo Cane, Dead Cross and Faith No More.

As Ipecac enters yet another new decade of its existence, the label eyes the future, having recently released perhaps the finest album of 2018: Daughters’ sure-to-be masterpiece You Won’t Get What You Want, and throwing their support fully behind the blissfully heavy outfit, Spotlights, who release their second-full length with the label, Love & Decay, later this month.

Simon Draper and the Story of Virgin Records 

Source: Red Bull Music Academy Daily.

In its first phase of existence, Virgin put out some of the most uncompromisingly experimental music ever to loiter on the outskirts of the rock mainstream, including records by Can, Henry Cow, Gong, Tangerine Dream, Hatfield and the North, Ashra’s Manuel Göttsching, Steve Hillage, Lol Coxhill and Slapp Happy, to name a few. From 1973-1976, the label operated as kind of “audio Arts Council,” in the words of Al Clark, rock critic turned early Virgin press officer – a reference to the British institution that subsidizes minority-interest artists. In Virgin’s case, the funding resources came not from the government and taxpayers, but from the general public’s enthusiasm for Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, the label’s early, unexpected blockbuster hit.

NoBusiness Records Label Profile

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Ten years into its existence, NoBusiness Records is widely regarded as one of the finest avant-jazz labels in the world. It’s especially renowned for its archival digs into the 1970s New York loft scene and its thoughtful curation of contemporary improvised music from around the world. Based in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, the label grew out of founders Danas Mikailionis and Valerij Anosov’s concert promotions. With no Lithuanian label willing to put out the recordings of those concerts, the pair took matters into their own hands, egged on by Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, whose solo and group performances became NoBusiness’s first releases. “Mats encouraged us to start the label,” recalls Mikailionis. “He said that we needed to be bold and gave us some invaluable advice on how to deal with the press and distributors. Of course it started slowly, but we received very positive feedback and it started growing.”