Tom Steenland of Starkland Interviewed

Source: Houston Public Media.

It all started because Tom Steenland really dug the music of composer Tod Dockstader. He wanted the rest of the world to hear it, too. And so began the (thus far) 25-year DIY project born out of Steenland’s passion for innovative sound that is Starkland Records, a label that specializes in experimental music, alternative classical, and the avant-garde. Since the label started in 1991 (AKA, the Year Punk Broke), Steenland has almost single-handedly propelled Starkland’s motor, doing the bulk of the work for the label himself, including the minutiae like graphic design. And, to top all of that, Starkland is a non-profit label and has worked directly with nearly 100 composers.

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Setola di Maiale Label Profiled

Source: Jazzword.

When things become negative, it’s time to invent other stuff,” declares drummer Stefano Giust, explaining why and how Setola di Maiale (SdM), his Bologna, Italy-based label, was founded in 1993, and is still going strong 322 releases later. He elaborates: “In the beginning possibilities for all the talented musicians weren’t available, for obvious reasons, including economic strategies. How many people love free improvisation, free jazz and experimental music anyways?” he asks.

Thomas Steenland of Starkland Profiled

Source: Classical Music Communications.

During his four decades in the record business, Thomas Steenland has released dozens of albums, presenting world premiere recordings of over 160 works by more than 80 composers. He is the “one man army” behind the Starkland record label, which he founded in 1991. Steenland was also the first to explore presenting new music on leading-edge surround sound DVD-Audio recordings, commissioning 13 composers to create surround sound works for Starkland DVD-A releases.

Unseen Worlds Label Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

The idiosyncratic label Unseen Worlds began as a reissue project, releasing an eclectic variety of “art music” that ranged from electronic to classical to pop. It was launched by Tommy McCutchon, who had been making private bootlegs of old recordings for himself while working at an audio/visual library in Austin, Texas, with the help of his friend Neil Fauerso. That hobby eventually transformed into a more above-board, public-facing operation, and its focus shifted from archival material to include new releases that would be peculiar in this or any other time.

The label builds on McCutchon’s early devotion to krautrock, electronic music, prog, Cuneiform Records, and experimental Japanese sounds. “At one point, I owned every Keiji Haino CD—which was a lot,” McCutchon says. His adventurous listening habits informed the development of Unseen Worlds, and today he describes the label’s aesthetic as, “revolutionary avant-garde music that’s highly accessible—music that might seem alien or other, but is also familiar.”

New Amsterdam Records Profiled

Source: WSJ.

Picture a roomful of New York record execs, and one might imagine some sleek Midtown office where cynical moguls strike big deals over cocktails and yellowtail tartare. Then there’s the crew at New Amsterdam Records, the prestigious local label known for releasing some of the nation’s most cutting-edge new classical and “post-genre” music. The setting for a recent listening session: their publicity director’s kitchen table. The spread: Popchips and coffee. Short on manpower, they did double-duty stuffing envelopes for a press mailing.

Manfred Eicher, ECM Founder, Profiled


Source: Irish Times.

Manfred Eicher is leaning over a mixing desk, lost in concentration. Dressed in his trademark grey, white shoulder-length hair hanging down over perhaps the most influential ears in contemporary jazz, the producer is as instantly recognisable as one of his ECM label’s enigmatic album covers.

Winter & Winter Label Profiled

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Record companies are routinely depicted as the music business’s evil exploiters, with many a tale of rip-offs, mismanagement, bullying and cocaine. Thankfully there are also many people from multinational and independent labels who are driven to promote the music they love. Oddly, given the breadth of the musical world, two who particularly stand out are both Munich-based. One is ECM Records‘ Manfred Eicher​ and the other Stefan Winter, who this year celebrates 30 years as a producer, firstly for his JMT (Jazz Music Today) imprint, then since 1997 for Winter & Winter.