(September 2010) My girlfriend was surprised by my recent trawling of the net for a Walkman. Despite her astonishment, the cassette tape is making a comeback. Vinyl has always been top dog in electronics, and tapes were a well favoured second. CD’s have never been greatly loved, despite the futuristic connections between them and electronic music. Minidiscs took a deep digital breath with the Gescom MD (as well as the earlier works of n5MD), before exhaling and expiring. MP3’s; you know the drill. Anyway, the tape; a nice small medium with a warm analogue sound embedded in its magnetic strip. There is a nostalgia associated with the narrow dimensions of the cassette. A US label loves the format, and despite dipping into vinyl, CD, and MP3, Further Records has a love affair with the tape cassette. So what is the Seattle based imprint putting onto these plastic cuboids?
Further Records, run by Chloe Harris and Team Further, peer into some of the deeper streams of electronics. Despite being only a year old the imprint has an impressive discography, spanning the musings of Lerosa and Donato Dozzy to the likes of Ian Martin and more recently Shemale. Shemale, the Bunker Records veteran based in Newcastle (UK), is Opening the Astral Doors to the dark world of his electronics. Light sapping ambience is the name of the game, with sepulchral synthesizers leading the listener through the shadowed alleys of Shemale’s five tracks. The pieces border into anxiety ridden soundtracks, such as the stalking “City of Pillars” or the isolated space excursion of the title piece. In contrast, Donota Dozzy’s recent ‘K’ basks in an upbeat deep techno light. Eight short pieces inhabit the album, ranging from ambient distraction to heady works of minimal dub techno. Rotterdam’s Ian Martin offers up a different take within the same sphere. His Intensions maps a synthesizer experimentation, weaving chords into complex ambient structures. A clinical chill runs through Martin’s sound, drawing dark lines in the machine waves and subdued beats. The tracks are lengthy encounters, with the title piece running up to twelve minutes, that steers the listener through a twilight of aural abstraction. Anders Ilar, a recent artist to the roster, comes from more of a dub perspective, with sporadic dips into glitch. His Vidare compilation contains a plethora of tracks from 2000 to 2010 which range across a variety of styles. Warm ambience sits next to cold mechanics which folds straight into sonorous experimentation. Another addition has lately been snapped up for a 12″ on Underground Quality: Abyee aka Armon Bazile. Abyee runs the Deepblak label and is responsible for some quality deep house releases. For Further Records Bazile offers up a five track tape and a two track 12″ of rich textured depth.
Further Records is more than a deep techno or ambient label. The artists it seeks have similar qualities, but subtle differences. The aim of the game is to illustrate shifts in patterns that seem alike. Warm analogue bars are paralleled by clinical tones and sub aquatic soundscapes. They are looking across the globe for their artists, from Italy, Ireland, Britain and the US. Experimental introversion is coupled with otherworldly space cycles and library soundtracks. Think Conrad Schnitzler in one sense, and Omar S in another. Many of the releases have been mastered using vintage 70s Nakamichi tape technology, and that autumnal quality finds its way into the productions. The label draws on the excitement of finding something lost whilst discovering something new, and it does so without drawing any attention to this paradox. So if you have a tape deck, or an old Walkman in the cupboard, blow the dust off it and prepare to be surreptitiously brought into the world of Further Records; you won’t be disappointed.
All releases above are out now on Further Records.