Coming soon… Various Artists – Hundred

This month, we are pleased to meet the landmark of 100 album editions which we’ve released on Whitelabrecs, since out label began in January 2016. We’ve enjoyed the ups and downs of running a label and feel very lucky to have achieved 100 releases, not to mention our EPs, tapes and Home Diaries series too. To celebrate this occasion, we have a busy month of activity planned including new digital music which we announced at the beginning of September, limited edition baseball caps, free badges which will be included in random orders, a ‘mystery CD‘ option, a label history mix and also, a compilation album!

We had recently run a poll asking fans and listeners for their votes, so that we could arrive at the top 15 albums in our discography so far. We’ve created a compilation called ‘Hundred‘, selecting a track from each of these albums in a limited edition CDr, which includes a 16 page booklet featuring images and insight. 

Hundred will be released on Saturday the 25th of September. We have not created a Soundcloud preview of tracks, to keep this a surprise. If you join our mailing list , we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear!

press release
“On the 25th of September 2021, with this release, we will have achieved 100 items in our core catalog since we launched Whitelabrecs in 2016. The editions consist of 48 hand-burned white-label effect CDrs, 5 printed compilation CDrs, 1 digital compilation album and 45 gatefold LP style CDrs.

Hundred is a special compilation album which has been assembled mark the occasion, after we had asked our listeners and fans to vote for their favourite albums in a poll. Here we’re pleased to present the top 15, as per their votes, in this suite of Ambient, Drone, Modern Classical and Electro Acoustic pieces.

Our label owner Harry Towell has chosen his favourite tracks from each of these 15 records and the resulting compilation near enough fills the 80 minute duration of a CD. The tracks have been arranged in an order that hopefully flows as an album experience in its own right.

The physical edition is available in a limited edition of 100 copies, including the label’s logo and identity as part of the design, along with a 16 page booklet with commentary and cover imagery for each of the 100 albums. We hope you have enjoyed the first 100 works in our catalog and we are looking forward to sharing all of our plans and ideas with you in the future.

credits
Curated by our fans and listeners
Tracks selected by Harry Towell
Art and design by Andrew Heath
Booklet by Harry Towell
Tracks are as originally mastered. For mastering credits, refer to the CD sleeve or you can view this information by clicking the relevant track.

Whitelabrecs History Lesson: The First Hundred

Later this month, we’ll have released our 100th album edition, which is an achievement we never imagined when we started this small label back in 2016. Back then, it was another small experiment, born from a series of other small experiments with the running of labels (Audio Gourmet, Tessellate, Warehouse Decay). We were pretty serious about getting some music out there, but we’re proud of what has been achieved, with the help of our artists, friends and fans.

We’ve got lots planned this month, following on from the Spheruleus and Kraut Sounds EPs that kicked-off what’s to be a busy month. Speaking of Spheruleus, our label owner Harry Towell has put this one together and it is hosted on his Mixcloud page. The mix plays through as a chronologically history of the label, by blending a track from each album in chronological order.

It’s an overview of the styles we’ve released over the years so far, covering ambient drones, electro-acoustics, modern classical, folk, electronica and sound art. It concludes with a bonus track, from the forthcoming Glåsbird soundtrack album for Return to Sea and Sardinia. This will be our 101st release, as we start the next century of album releases.

You can check out the mix by hitting the play button above, or by clicking HERE to be directed to the Mixcloud page. We hope you enjoy this hour and a half journey through our discography!

End of 2020 Sale – 30% Off

On Friday for Bandcamp day, we announced our winter sale for the month of December and into January before we begin our schedule for 2021. This year’s sale double’s the amount off from last year; a massive 30%!

The reason we’ve gone over the top this year is by way of thanks for all the support we received to keep us going in a tough year, but also, because our storage cupboard is overflowing with unloved CDs!

So until midnight on the 14th of January 2021, you can enjoy an extra 30% off all of our catalog, both physical and digital.

Simply enter the following code into the discount box provided when you check out to access the 30% reduction on all items:

CODE: extra30
LINK:
https://whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com/merch

If you’re new to the label and not sure where to begin, please see a few select items from our 2020 catalog that are low on stock. These might be a good place to start if you want to check out our catalog – simply take a look below and hit ‘play’ on the embedded mini players. You can then click the player or image to be transported to the release page.


Various Artists “Home Diaries”
April-June| Digital Only

A feature to pretty much everyone’s 2020 has been the outbreak of Covid-19, it goes without saying. In March we had to stop all of our planned CDr releases, due to the closure of our local post-office. With nothing to release and bills to pay, we launched the Home Diaries series, in which 30 artists contributed an EP or album which we sold digitally. Each record in the series featured a recurring image of a lonely house in a field, with varying colour filters and there’s a bonus PDF interview with the artist included with each one.
This details what the artist’s situation was during lockdown or social distancing conditions, as well as their plans and what equipment they used to create their work.

You can check out a landing page below, which summarises each release in this series. We’ll be releasing a double compilation album in January next year, featuring a track from each album, so watch this space!

https://mailchi.mp/971a27fff884/homediaries


Glåsbird “Novaya Zemlya”
September | 15 copies left

Now having landed at 4 different geographical locations, Glåsbird’s most recent edition to this series is a trip to the isolated and sparsely populated island Novaya Zemlya. This destination is two islands split in two by the Matochkin Strait. The northern island is pretty much all glacier whereas the southern island is currently inhabited by just over 2000 people and was also the site of the largest ever nuclear bomb test, the Tsar Bomba. Glåsbird uses icy static, strings and hints of brass to weave some of their most dramatic compositions yet.


thme “that’s what it will be like”
September | 30 copies left

Something which may have escaped the radar, this tonal, textured Ambient record by Parisian artist thme has been enjoyed by those who have checked it out with some nice feedback being received. Field recordings, samples and damaged piano keys drape over this idyllic but surreal soundtrack, with collage artwork provided by artist Arctic Sun.


Polaroid Notes “Ghost Sounds”
November | 10 copies left

These have literally been flying out the door since we released this latest album by Polaroid Notes last month. Although not intended to necessarily be festive, this record feels apt for this kind of year as we’re in winter holiday season, or at least over here in Europe anyway. Polaroid Notes used piano and synth to create deep and cinematic soundscapes, with some spooky undertones. The cover artwork is particularly striking we think, with the artist providing photography from the Black Mountain region of Southern Germany across the four panels of this package.


Mikael Lind “Give Shape To Space”
July | 10 copies left

We were thrilled to be working on the release of this album by Iceland’s Mikael Lind, an artist whose work featured right at the top of our favourite albums of 2019. Unfortunately we had to delay the release of ‘Give Shape To Space’ and we’re thankful Mikael stayed patient with us. This record features a generous selection of strings, synth and textural sounds along with artwork by his partner, Sigga Björg


Jens Pauly “Below”
June| 21 Copies Remaining

In June, we were delighted to get going again with our CDr releases. First on the list was the return of Jens Pauly, who had contributed ‘Vihne’ to our catalog last year. As with his last release, Jens completed the full packaging creation himself and put together a combination of black and white photography with sleek, minimal design. The music is a further selection of electro-acoustic manipulations, carefully blended with filigree detail.


Drifting, Almost Falling Interview

Harry Towell our label curator was fired a few questions by the Drifting, Almost Falling blog this month, focusing on all things Whitelabrecs. It’s been a while since we’ve done an interview so it’s always nice to check in, talk about how things have been going lately and maybe hint at the odd plan for the future.

You can listen read the interview on the Drifting, Almost Falling site by clicking HERE and perhaps read some of the other articles and musical recommendations whilst you’re at it?

Alternatively, the full interview is included below…

DAF: You record under the Spheruleus name (as well as Magnofon) and run the Tesselate, Audio Gourmet and Warehouse Decay labels while also writing for the Irregular Crates Blog. What was the impetus in starting another label? Are you a workaholic? Are Tesselate and Warehouse Decay still active?

HTI am indeed a workaholic. I have no idea how I find the time. But then I don’t truly see music as work so it’s not hard. With all the labels and pseudonyms, I guess like many artists, I have a habit of starting something new! Some creators end things by closing doors neatly behind them when they intend to open a new one. Others, like me, tend to leave doors open and chop and change between projects. Audio Gourmet for instance could have stopped a couple of years back when I was working more on Tesselate and Warehouse Decay, but I am glad I left the door ajar , as this year I’ve been putting out free EP’s again and really enjoyed it, with some great support.

Currently Warehouse Decay is inactive and I’ve no immediate plans to get it going again. I’ve always loved House music and wanted to be a part of the scene and use my experience running Ambient labels to make a go of it. Unfortunately it proved a tough nut to crack and apart from a few friends who supported it loyally, I felt pretty alone. It’s interesting that Ambient music fans, artists, labels etc have all taken different paths to stumble on the genre, many from Post Rock, Metal or IDM, many from the New Age or ethnic Ambient genres too. It seems that Deep House is not such a conventional route and so I didn’t have as many interested contacts or a connected audience.

Tessellate is not fully closed, despite being inactive of late. I always feel it could be another window if I felt like splashing the cash on some more luxurious packaging but the trouble is the risk as to whether I’d make enough back to justify a bigger release.

I launched Whitelabrecs after an idea which was the blueprint for the packaging and I recalled how well Under The Spire did as a label when starting out, when they released things in simple rubber stamped cardboard packages. I had also recently been reunited with my record collection and was feeling very nostalgic about the days when I’d visit local record stores, purchasing white label vinyl as I got to grips with DJing. Often records would have nothing other than a sticker or rubber stamp, sometimes even just an etching on the black plastic space near the label. So I did the usual, set up a website, a Bandcamp page and started asking around to see if anyone would want to release on this new label of mine. Thankfully there was a lot of interest and here we are today!

DAF: How important is the visual identity to the label? Compared to the Tesselate releases, Whitelabrec’s releases have the hand-made aesthetic. Was it important for the label to have an aesthetic to encompass a concept?

HTFor Whitelabrecs this has become crucially important – it was the idea behind the label and I’ll keep it going for as long as I can. I think this is also why I slowed down with Tessellate, as the packaging is different for pretty much every release and the label never truly found an identity. When the idea struck for Whitelabrecs, I truly connected with it and wanted this to be the plan for all releases on the label. I knew there’d be the odd detour but for general releases, I decided that it was very important to follow the pattern this time so I could build an identity.

DAF: Is the label genre bound or do the releases float over various genres?

HT: The label isn’t genre-bound as it will be rooted in my own music taste which is incredibly varied. So far releases have been generally within the modern Ambient scene, perhaps encompassing most of the sub-genres from floatier drone stuff, to glitch electronics and onto Modern Classical, Folk and even Jazz. This has generally gone down well with listeners. I’m open to pushing the boundaries in the future and taking one or two detours so watch this space! But generally, I’m looking at releasing introspective, thought-provoking music and can’t see that changing. In other words, I’m not likely to rekindle my failed dreams from Warehouse Decay by releasing dancefloor-ready Tech House!

DAF: A glance at the catalog reveals a mixture of familiar names with those that are new (or side projects). How important is it to you to expose people to new artists? Does this become a factor when deciding what to release?

HTI have always worked with both newer names to the scene and more established artists and in the Whitelabrecs catalog there is a blend. I don’t dwell too much on whether an artist has released before, how successful their other work was or how many Instagram followers they have. We’ve only got 50 copies to make and sell, of which the artist gets 10. So I only have to worry about those 40 copies and they tend to shift regardless of how well established an artist is. Sure, it certainly helps to have some familiar names –releases by Tsone, Steve Pacheco and Guy Gelem took little in the way of a push! I’m also delighted to give some other artists their first taste of releasing a physical album however, such as Sea Trials, Ludmila and Ben McElroy. I remember how exciting this felt when I first held a copy of ‘Frozen Quarters’ which I released as Spheruleus on Under The Spire.

Looking at the future of the label there are no plans to just attract well-known artists now it’s a bit more established. We have demos queued up until WLR043 and in that queue we’ve got some well-known artists as well as new comers so the blend will continue.

DAF: You’ve recently done a cassette release and the 20 cdr box set. What other plans do you have for the future? Do you plan quite far in advance?

HTThere’ll likely be another box set for those that don’t mind waiting a year or two to play catch up. I did this so that there’s a way for people new to the label to not miss out completely and also, because I was getting asked about out of print releases. I’ve always said I wouldn’t reissue anything individually, but since box set orders are always likely to be low due to the price tag, I took the decision to do this just so there is a way for new collectors to join in the fun.
I enjoyed making the mix tape too and was surprised at the level of interest having never worked with this format before. I’ll certainly be doing more mix tape releases in the future and perhaps get into the local fields and continue the photography theme for the artwork.

There are no other clear ideas just yet as I’m currently just getting my head down and working my way through the discography queue. I think another compilation could be in order at some point but there’s no overall rush on that. There will be new ideas though – with both the box set and the tape, the ideas struck me suddenly and it doesn’t take me long to pull it all together once ideas such as these set in.

With schedule, I’ll take in demos and add them to the back of the queue once approved. I’ll leave them until I get nearer – perhaps drop in with the artist and have a chat now and again. Some artists are very keen and understandably so, so we organise things well in advance so everything’s ready. Other artists are happy to leave it until the few weeks in the run up to the release and wait for me to get back in touch.

There is a lot to do for each release but we’ve followed a similar formula since the beginning, so I’m quite used to it now, 28 releases in – so the work isn’t too daunting. I guess burning the CDs is the most time-consuming thing but that gives me a chance to work on other things, listen to music and relax bit too.

Sounds Of A Tired City interview

Sounds of a tired city profile image

Our label boss Harry was recently contacted by Swedish blog Sounds Of A Tired City to put together a mix under his artist name Spheruleus. Naturally he obliged and made a vinyl-only mix, blending Modern Classical and Ambient/Drone records using harmonic mixing techniques. Since Whitelabrecs is inspired by Harry’s love for vinyl, this was a fitting opportunity to chat to SOATC about Whitelabrecs, vinyl and Harry’s other commitments such as the Audio Gourmet netlabel.

You can listen to the mix by clicking HERE or the images above, which features tracks from artists such as Richard Skelton, Peter Broderick and Greg Haines.

SOATCmix

You can read the full interview that was featured below or visit Sounds Of A Tired City site by clicking HERE

SOATC: If we look at your music-related activities, we gotta say you must be a rather busy man! You’ve been prolific with Spheruleus and you’ve been running the Audio Gourmet netlabel for six years now. What can you tell us about these projects?

HT: Indeed, I have no idea how I manage sometimes as I have two jobs too! What I’ve done more recently is slow down a little, take my time with work as Spheruleus and the labels too. Followers of Audio Gourmet will notice that releases are very much few and far between these days, but we’re still going – slowly! I think a lot of artists, labels etc. get to a stage when everyday life ‘gets in the way’ or becomes more important and then they decide the logical thing to do is to just stop. I’ve just made a decision not to be rushed, pushed to deadlines or stress about any of it – as this whole thing is supposed to be enjoyable at the end of the day. So I tend to self-release a lot of my own work these days, or with labels I know well so that I can go at my own pace.

I also suffer from a condition that many artists have – I’m not sure of its name, but it’s basically when you are working on a project and decide to start a new project… so I have 4 labels and a few recording aliases as well as a blog.

I think the main thing that motivates me is making music available to the world, without worrying about what will ‘sell’. This gives me a chance to work with new or unknown artists and if I can move them one step further forward, then the labels are a success.

SOATC: You have the soul of a curator. What are you looking for when you release or write about other people’s music? There is so much to discover constantly, what is that makes something for you more special, different? How can something stand out these days?

HT: For me, when curating it’s best to keep an open mind and listen to lots of different styles of music. Whenever I receive a demo I’ll listen to it with positive thoughts – I tell myself, I want to like this record. If I just can’t, then I have to leave it there. I also try to listen to a record in different contexts: I’ll listen in the morning on the way to work in the car or I’ll listen last thing at night – it’s amazing how much the listening environment can influence on how music is received. For Whitelabrecs, we’ll specialise mainly in ‘Ambient music’ I guess, but I’m more interested in ‘sound art’ – how people express themselves with sound.

The great thing with that, is that this allows for artists who want to do something different – maybe experiment with beats, something dark, a little noise or minimalism. So it’s all about giving new ideas a chance and then packaging them into something that listeners will enjoy or ‘get’. I believe that the sound is only really 80% of the story – good mastering, track titles, artwork and a write up helps bring everything together and can enhance a listener’s experience overall. When I write a press release, I’ll ask the artist a load of questions to get them thinking about their work, their ideas and how they approached the work. Then I’ll put together all the most relevant points. I hate this part of releasing a record but it’s so important

SOATC: You’ve recently launched your new label called whitelabrecs. What do we have to know about it and what are your plans with it?

HT: Yes, yet another project! I guess Whitelabrecs is the label I’ve always wanted to run – it is influenced by my love for vinyl, there are no set rules although the packaging takes a steady format: vinyl effect CDrs inside a vinyl style sleeve, rubber-stamped text and cover artwork as a polaroid photographic print. Everything is hand-stamped, burnt by hand so again, it takes a bit of time but to keep it all manageable I’ve capped the editions at 50 copies for each release. That way, there’s a bit of a collectible impulse from our listeners which means that each release should sell out quickly, meaning I can keep on going! I’ve got loads of demos confirmed and ready to go – I think we’re up to the 15th release behind the scenes, which is fantastic. Genre-wise, I’ve not settled on any particular style and plan to just keep evolving it – who knows what sounds we’ll put out. At the moment everything is pretty much within the Ambient scene with modern classical, drone, field recordings, glitch, folk and electroacoustic music being represented. I’d love to put out some jazz, post-rock, dub techno or trip hop someday! Who knows where we’ll go.

 

SOATC: Could you tell us a bit about the selection of tracks in your mix?

HT: I have quite a large vinyl collection covering all different styles of experimental music and I basically just pulled out my ‘Ambient’ section and selected records that were based around modern classical, drone or electroacoustic elements. I mixed the records using my Technics 1210 turntables through 10 year old styli that are as good as useless – they are worn and tired, so there’s lots of extra crackle and lo-fi texture in the mix that wouldn’t be on there otherwise. I’ve recently purchased some new needles and this mix is the last thing I’ve recorded with the old needles.

When buying vinyl, I only really buy albums that I feel are going to stand the test of time – records I’ll still want to hear time and time again. This is simply down to the sheer price of vinyl these days so I have to choose wisely when buying!

For me, Peter Broderick’s ‘Float’, Richard Skelton’s ‘Marking Time’ and Christoph Berg’s ‘Paraphrases’ are absolutely phenomenal records and these are perfect examples of the ‘quality control’ methods I go through when buying vinyl.

TRACKLIST

01 Taylor Deupree and Marcus Fischer – Cloudline
02 Willamette – At Length And Dead Horse
03 Field Rotation – Swayed By The Wind (Awakening)
04 Goldmund – Getting Lighter
05 Wil Bolton – Blackpoint
06 Scissors and Sellotape – It’s A Long Slog
07 Jared Smyth – Burnout
08 Simon Bainton – Porlock
09 Willamette – Images D’une Longueur de Cheveux
10 Peter Broderick – Another Glacier
11 Greg Haines & Wouter Van Veldhoven – On Waiting
12 Lowered – Lattitude 33 Degrees North, Longitude 40 Degrees West
13 Richard Skelton – Heys
14 Olan Mill – Amber Balanced
15 From The Mouth Of The Sun – Color Loss
16 Christoph Berg – Quiet Times At The Library