Author Archive

Scene Dynamics

This is a response to a recent article titled Speaking Free, written by my friend Dylan Orchard, on the uncertainty of the direction and focus of the netaudio scene.

In respect to order and chaos

A scene or movement is always a dynamic entity, it forms itself out of people with different backgrounds and interests that atoned to a common goal or characteristic. It doesn’t mean they’ll all play by the same rules. It definitely never implied they shall all get along and share the same visions and values.

But this is a good thing. Diversity implies a greater ability to rapidly adapt to changes. Considering how fast technology evolves and how transient the human interest in new music can be, these characteristics bode well to the indie music scene. Which explains the exponential growth the netaudio scene has had and why so many models that have been prototyped first in the netaudio scene are only now getting adopted by the mainstream artists and indie label owners tired of the old models.

I don’t see the netaudio scene as having lost focus or a common ground at all. Just an ever-increasing expansion and sustained evolution and reanalysis, which every label and artist has to do for themselves and try things out to find their soft spot.

The audience

But one thing I do entirely concur with is that there is a lack of audience reach within the netlabel scene, and that we seem to cultivate a certain underlying fetishism for the introspective underground. Which is kind of ridiculous if you ask me since we don’t even know each other all that well and probably never will, since there are so many labels and artists out there. Yet we keep focusing on releasing more of the unknown to an unknown “cyberspace” audience. Casually ignoring the lack of feedback on new releases as a personal stance holding the flag on the democratization of music releasing.

Yeah, it’s a lot easier to put a new release out there these days. But you still have to build a reputation for yourself, get a network and promote the releases if you want to get anywhere beyond your circle of friends.

Free music is free

Amidst it all we have the freeness of it all, which, rightfully noted, has different meanings to different people, and for some they even change with time, i’m sure some folks can think of a few artists and netlabels who suddenly forgot their netaudio roots in a fleeting ephiphany that they might be able to achieve more notoriety if they renounce the cult of the free.

Guess they slightly ignored how many indie labels and artists have done the exact reverse path, but that’s subject matter for a whole other series of articles.

More important then the discussion of whose version of free is the most accurate and should be scribbled down on all our guidelines of standards and rules that only a few in our scene would actually abide to; is the subject of why should members of a scene atone to a single definition to begin with? Different people release in different ways, if they still have a download for free, it’s netaudio else it’s not. Each label and artist must follow their own path of figuring out what works best for them.

There are several views on whats free, some more legal than others. Some legalities more moral than others. But people will keep making, listening, promoting and distributing music regardless of all that. Monetization is a parallel paradigm. Netaudio simply removes that issue for the listener.

Free but not netaudio

Another interesting phenomena are artists, labels with albums that despite being free for download don’t like using the term netaudio applied to them. It has a negative connotation. As if the release being announced in those channels as opposed to the authors social network would suddenly get lost in a sea of unknown authors and confused for something which might or might not be mediocre.

I think this is symptomatic for the lack of trust in quality the general audience and media still has in netaudio releases, despite lots of very good efforts against that image having been made in the past few years. And this is serious food for thought which unsurprisingly ends up influencing netaudio artists and labels to try out “the dark side” once again.

[originally written for]

Categories: Netlabel Reflections

Artist Spotlight: Muhmood

11/03/17 1 comment

Out of cold Russian Siberia Muhmood was formed as an experimental music project by Alexei Biryukoff. Mixing together visual influences from dark nature and abandoned civilization into sound bridging the dark ambient, drone, doom metal, experimental and noise.

Muhmood music is inspired by the foggy mornings in the forests and swamps, by the blasts of the wind blowing heated sand in the deserts, by the sound of cranky engines in the factories and roaring electricity in the huge power lines. Sound is like emotion, it ranges from rage and sorrow to love and joy, i am not here to impress you with some concept or exquisite musical terms, i hardly know why i am doing this – i just follow my instincts and enjoy myself making this noise…

We have two releases of Muhmood available free for download at Enough Records.

Muhmood – Tamara and Demon [enrmp174]
– Cinematic dark ambient soundtrack of the 3D cartoon created By Nikolay Aladinskiy and Petr Bobryshev – St. Petersburg, Russia.

Виктор Iванiв & Muhmood – Rùt [enrmp216]
– An EP collaboration with Виктор Iванiв (Victor Ivaniv) a futurist poet. They met in November 2007 when Victor came to Barnaul with a presentation of his book “A Glass Man and the Green Record”. At that time they decided to try to do 2 or 3 tracks to see what would come out. By June 2009 the four tracks EP is done. They continue to work on a long playing album that will include Victor’s poems and prose.

Categories: Artist Spotlight

Enough Relations: Silent Flow

Silent Flow is a relatively new netlabel (2009) from Moldova.

And if you don’t know where the heck Moldova is located, well, don’t feel too bad about yourself, i didn’t either until i got an ambient sounds demo submission from an artist called Megatone back in 2006. A project from Marcel Gherman: musician, radio DJ and journalist. That demo became enrmp087.

A couple years later we released another album by Megatone titled Imago Mundi Nova. Several releases from Megatone are available at Silent Flow free for download. Also shared artist between both labels are the [Esc. Laboratory] / Art Factory Worms collective. One such release is this SLNT012:

Also worth noting is that Silent Flow releases not only standard mp3 album editions, but also the so called Bezdna Radio Essentials, a series of radio mixes of diverse netaudio material. All following the ambient and experimental type of sounds.

Categories: Label Relations

Enough Relations: Hippocamp

Recently defunct but still with their entire catalogue up for grabs and immediate track stream, Hippocamp was one of the netlabels we constantly witnessed putting out new fresh releases during these past 9 years. They focused on electronic sounds, ranging in style but coherent in quality, based out in Manchester but releasing from all over the world.

They shared a few connections with Enough through the years: Firnwald – A Hero In Playmood from our featured German artist for example. The co-release/re-release of our enrmp158 as And. – Double KO. And our shared involvement with different editions of STFU Festivals, as proved in their VVAA – STFU LEEDS LIVE MARCH 2006 compilation.

A shame to see them go innactive. Lots of hidden gems to dig through in that catalogue of theirs.

Categories: Label Relations

Enough Relations: Proc Records

Proc Records is a netlabel publishing releases since 2007. They’re not genre based, but focus on electronic music. In 3 years of activity they have put out available online over 400 releases, you can read more about them at their blog. Beyond their vast catalogue they also run 2 sub-labels: The still active 4m@ Records and the now defunct Sexual Records.

Shared artists with Enough Records include C4 (enrmp126) and Lee Rosevere (enrmp137), both covers shown below.

Categories: Label Relations

open source netaudio managment?

A couple weeks ago i saw this talk at titled: How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People (And You Can Too), a very interesting presentation on the do’s and don’ts of properly setting up and maintaining a momentum for successful open source projects.

I started drawing some parallels, not only with running a netlabel, but also sustainability of other creative communities that i been involved with through the years, i’m talking of the portuguese demoscene and more recently the hacklab that i’m involved with (xDA). All of these being social projects around a common goal. All of them having suffered from typical problems mentioned in the talk.

This is an extremely complex subject, first of all because you’re dealing with human factor: lots of different personalities, lots of egos, lots of mood swings. Even when everyone is highly motivated and sharing a common vision it can become very complicated to manage clashing personalities working for the same goal. Not being motivated or dispersing into personal interests makes things all the more interesting to deal with.

Setting up a communitary project with a given goal is not at all difficult, plenty of good ideas and interesting goals around, but if you want it to become successful you need to give it momentum, get others involved and have them give it momentum. And when the momentum is created you need to sustain it until the goal is met.

Problem 1) Lack of right people. You need to find them, explain to them the whole purpose of the project and get them motivated. Some will not be interested at all, others will find it fascinating but never get involved due to lack of time or confidence they can contribute to a common goal. Others will find it interesting but be reluctant to contribute pending if it truly gains momentum or not. Others will even boycott your efforts behind your back.

One lesson i learned from the video is about who controls the project. The video has a clear opinion on the matter: companies open sourcing their projects should set the goal but not control the development, the community developing the project should democratically decide that.

It’s very hard to extrapolate that concept to running a netlabel. Even though i have seen examples of that concept somehow working (Soulseek Records anyone?) it can also crumble into a situation where no one in the community is happy (or feels the project is theirs) which leads back to lack of motivation and interest.

On the other hand, this point of theirs completely resonates with how hard it is to find long lasting collaborators to help you run a netlabel (or netaudio portal for that matter). The enthusiasm comes, and goes, and you’re left yet again with the project on your own hands only. I believe it to be because new collaborators don’t ever truly feel like they own a part of the label. In commercial projects i guess it’s easier, you don’t need to feel like you own it, you just need to get paid for your work.

So my questions to the netaudio thinker community at this point are:
a) is it possible to run a netlabel for years on end in a truly open source manner? soulseek records is the only example i can think of, and it eventually closed shop.
b) how to make new collaborators feel like the label is also theirs? share a very specific common vision / aesthetic taste? or are we destined to always run netlabels as a closed source venture?

I’m also interested in hearing back from netaudio alliances representatives on the matter :)

Categories: Netlabel Reflections

Enough Genres: Drone

10/08/05 2 comments

Back to drone season at Enough Records. First with a compilation of remixed works by Mystified – Mystified Drone Medley [enrcmp15] and now also with the full length album by Konstantin Elfimov – Several Days of Static Happiness [enrmp249].

But what exactly is drone music?

Drone is a genre coined around minimal soundscapes that slowly fluctuate in tone and texture. It’s very interlinked with ambient music in general, and space ambient in particular. Drone sounds are commonly associated with states of peace and introspection. Bridging from the more celestial ambient kind of sounds where your mind can float in the sea or in the clouds, to the more introspective dark ambient, exploring the alien and unknown. Some drone is heavily related to a special type of metal coined drone metal by evangelist projects earth and sunn-o))). Other types of drone are also associated with early electronic ambient experimentalist projects such as Philip Glass, Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Robert Fripp & Brian Eno, Robert Rich, Steve Roach. More recently, projects such as Stars of The Lid, have popularized the genre slightly.

We love drone sounds at Enough Records! Hence we have quite a few releases in the genre.

For example, Jari Pitkänen (already previously spotlighted), has a distinct celestial cinematic drone sound to his work (Numiana [enrmp243], Conv [enrmp042], Time Exp [enrmp045]). Here is a video by our friend Nosfe using a track by Jari Pitkanen.

Some dronescapes releases feel as a journey exploring nature, a quest to find the inner peace lost in isolated places, be it forests, lakes, dead cities: Dyman – Island [enrmp222], Acreil – Gray Music [enrmp093], Lithis – Untitled EP [enrmp060], rngmnn – off the bridge [enrmp039], rngmnn – problem area rdw [enrmp062], rngmnn – know your city [enrmp085].

Others have a darker tension associated: Proyecto de Prueba / Void>Null – Proyecto de Prueba & Void>Null [enrmp203], AVOIDANT – Prelude to an Eon [enrmp185].

Or even a sense of wonder for the unknown: seetyca – das zubrochene antlitz [enrmp187], arciv ev noise – maintenant [enrmp140].

Other drone releases simply float in space: Lee Rosevere – Daigao [enrmp137]

Hope we helped you find some nice music with this post. Long live the drone. :)

Categories: Genres