Friday, December 26, 2008

The Dead Lego Project

The Dead Channel posse is a net-label based in the north of England (in Leeds, actually) which aims to serve as a vehicle for the transmission of electronic music that has little, or no, other outlet. They feel that lots of amazing music is never heard due to lack of such an appropriate outlet, and aim to provide one for as much quality electronic based music as they can.
Their releases can be downloaded for free in high quality MP3 format, and include full-colour artwork, as well as embedded art for MP3 players. The site is updated with new releases on a regular basis, and news can be found on their dead-channel blog.

Just a few days ago, Dead Channel released the sizzling Lego Project compilation, and they’ve released an array of other cool music over the past 12 months, all of it FREE.

Iffy Bizness forced a confession of sorts out of these people just before Christmas, and this is what they had to say:

How was the label set up, what was the underlying purpose, and does this initial inkling continue to be your modus operandi?

"Well, the label was set up by me (Chris Kubex) and my housemate, Ant (Orange). We’re both part of an electronic music collective here in Leeds, England, called Gonzo. Dead Channel was initially developed as a platform that Gonzo artists could use to share their music, and gain exposure from it. But the quality of unreleased music we began to be exposed to, not just within Gonzo, but from all over the world as people sent us demos, meant we ended up releasing stuff by artists from America, Greece and Japan, as well as from Leeds and the UK.

"The internet is the new frontier in terms of where people go to find new music. We’re happy continuing down the path of offering high quality, free electronic music releases, as it’s proved to be the most successful way we’ve found to get the music out there and get our artists noticed."

What are the perimeters of the label - if any?

"I guess, in musical terms, we tend to favour the outside edges of mainstream electronic music; not veering far enough into the experimental to seem pretentious, not veering far enough into the mainstream to be considered ordinary or boring. At least that’s what we try and do, but on an unconscious level. We get given or sent a lot of music, and we just release the music that strikes us as interesting.

"As far as design goes, the perimeters are slightly more rigid. We set out with a resolution to make the quality of the releases high, even though we were offering them for free. So all come with full-colour CD artwork (if you choose to burn your own) and embedded art for iPods and media players. The design aspect plays a big part in Dead Channel and indeed Gonzo, and we do tend to favour darker, more tech-orientated imagery. It also seems to suit a lot of our musical output. We do try and make sure however, that we don’t appear to be overly serious... that’s what releases like One for the Ladies are all about."

What actually is Dead Channel music?

"Well, I wouldn’t say that there is a Dead Channel ‘sound’ per se, but like I said above, we seem to sit on the outside edge of mainstream electronic music, between the experimental and the dance floor, veering occasionally like a drunken person... or something.

How would you assess the label’s progress in 2008?

"It’s been really good; we’ve definitely been surprised by the how Dead Channel has grown in its short life. The response from people has been really positive, and we’ve had help to spread the word of Dead Channel on an international level from artists such as Little Nobody, Dimomib, and Noisepsalm.

"We’ve also been happy to bring our local artists to a wider audience. People like Micoland, Prod, Sofaboy... I have to stop here because the list would get too long; we’ve been aware of the talent base here in Leeds for some time, now we’re just happy to share it with a wider audience."

Which artists do you work with, and how did you get involved with one another?

"Well the Gonzo collective all have different backgrounds and come from all over. Mostly, people met while at university, or after moving to Leeds from various other cities. The area of Leeds we all live in is quite bohemian, and conducive to spending life being creative, making music, putting on parties and getting by how we can. We all share this ethos, so naturally gravitated towards one another, finding a shared love of electronic music, art, drugs and debauchery.

"The main core of Leeds-based Gonzo artists connected with Dead Channel include myself (Kubex), Ant (Orange), Gwylo, Micoland and Naffdogg, but me and Ant take care of the general running of the label. We’ve also got artists from far and wide, such as: Dimomib (Greece), Noisepsalm (USA), Little Nobody (Japan) and Caulfield (London) to name a few."

What plans do you have for 2009?

We have some exiting releases that we’re planning on putting out in the early part of next year, including a new EP from Leeds legend—and former Rephlex artist—Headcleaner, a new album from Gonzo lynchpin, Gwylo, and new releases from some of our other established artists. We’ve also got some new compilations we’ll be working on, as well as introducing some brand new names over the coming months.

"We also have a new monthly Gonzo party happening in one of the most exiting clubs in Leeds from January, and there has been talk of possibly hosting a Dead Channel event sometime next year, bringing together the extended DC family. We have some exiting events planned for summer too... buts let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

"(Semi) regular updates on Dead Channel and Gonzo can be found by joining our Facebook group, or by visiting our blog."

Any special messages for all the kids reading this at home?

"Er... download our music? It’s cheaper than booze and fags. Hope this is OK; got a bit stuck on this last question!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

13 Years of IF? Records

Z-13.1: 13 Years of IF? Records, Vol. 1
Various Artists
(IF? Records - IF046)

It’s somehow appropriate that this new compilation from IF? starts off with a brand new track by current Melbourne electronic music enfant terrible, Pat Stormont, and it finishes on a track recorded in 1995 by Zen Paradox—the same city’s undoubted techno/electro elder statesman, and a man still amazingly relevant 13 years later.

Which is exactly how old IF? Records itself is this year; the baby that was also kick-started - again in Melbourne - in 1995, is now an unwieldy teenager.


Over the years, both in the studio and on the live stage, IF? has worked closely with fellow Melburnians Steve Law (Zen Paradox), Voiteck, TR-Storm, Little Nobody, David Haberfeld (Pura/Honeysmack), Artificial, FSOM, Q-Kontrol, Adam Raisbeck (Soulenoid/Sense), Guyver 3, Son Of Zev, Isnod, Nordcore, Blimp, David Thrussell (Snog/Black Lung), Beam Up, DJ Fodder, Kandyman, Amnesia, and Mute Freak, and more recently Pat Stormont, Bitch Shift, Cuznmatt, and Enclave.

Since relocating to Japan in 2001, we’ve also taken on board a wad of cool Japanese artists including Captain Funk (Sublime/Model Electronic), Toshiyuki Yasuda (Megadolly), Magnet Toy (Trope), Mumeishi (TTAK), Yamaoka (Holzplatten), Dick Drone, Admiral Anderision, Masaya Sasaki, Shin Nishimura (Plus Tokyo), Naotoxin, CHIZQ, and Alone Together.

Other international artists involved with IF? during the past 13 big ones (or set to in 2009) have included Si Begg, Tobias Schmidt, Dave Tarrida, Thomas Heckmann, Biochip C, Jammin’ Unit, Jason Leach (Subhead), Pnau, Cinnaman (Dirty House), DJ Hi-Shock, Pocket, Brixton, Tal, Steve Cobby (Fila Brazillia), Dr. Walker, Gene Farris, Paul Birken and Steve Stoll.

This time around, the intention was not so much to glorify the label’s 13 years (which probably wouldn’t have a hope of standing up to such glorification, anyway, given the slack way in which it’s been run over the years by this particular hack), but to continue what we’ve always tried to do: Showcase our current favourite artists (especially new ones) and musical directions, give diversity a healthy shake, and put the spotlight on our city of birth, Melbourne, along with our adoptive home in Japan—then the rest of the world as well.

The brilliant artwork is by IF? flyer artwork veteran and former Zebra mag cover designer, Haydn Dean, at Ennis & Perry.

Cheers to all the artists involved, and for god’s sake go check out their own music. These guys seriously rock.



1 Pat Stormont - Badly Grounded
2 CHIZQ - Broccoli
3 Jammin’ Unit - Where Distinguished People Congregate (2008 Version)
4 DJ Hi-Shock - Dark Pop
5 Jason Leach - Decomposed (Little Nobody remix)
6 TR-Storm - Sulphur Burn
7 Little Nobody - Bonny Voyager (Veronica du Lac remix)
8 Son Of Zev - Flyboy
9 Pat Stormont - You’re A
10 Xtronik - Leal
11 Sebastian Bayne - Driving Sideways
12 Little Nobody - Metropolis How?
13 Bitch Shift - Wicked Pitch Of The West (Schlock Tactile remix)
14 Son Of Zev - Missing Parts (Ernst Borgnein und Wolfgang Klein’s Last Cadaver mix)
15 Zen Paradox - Tubetribe

You can find out more about our aging label over on Discogs.