All posts filed under: Cover Story

Cover Story – Part III – Stiff Records

Stiff Records is a British independent record label formed in London,England, by Dave Robinson and Andrew Jakeman (aka Jake Riviera). Originally active from 1976 to 1985, the label was reactivated in 2007. Established at the outset of the punk rock boom, Stiff Records signed various punk and new wave acts such as Nick Lowe, the Damned,Lene Lovich, Wreckless Eric, Plummet Airlines, Elvis Costello, and Ian Dury. The label’s marketing and advertising was often provocative and witty billing itself as “The World’s Most Flexible Record Label”. Other slogans were “We came. We saw. We left”, “If It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth a Fuck”, and “When You Kill Time, You Murder Success” (printed on promotional wall clocks). On the label of Stiff’s sampler compilation Heroes & Cowards was printed: “In ’78 everyone born in ’45 will be 33-1/3”. A very early Stiff sampler album, A Bunch of Stiff Records, introduced the slogan, “If they’re dead, we’ll sign them” and “Undertakers to the Industry”. Stiff also produced eccentric but highly effective promotional campaigns, such as the three package tours in 1977 (Live Stiffs), 1978 (Be Stiff) and 1980 (Son Of Stiff), Elvis Costello’s “busking outside CBS Records” arrest …

Cover Story – Part II – Command Records

Command Records (originally Command Performance Records) was a record label founded by Enoch Light in 1959 and later associated with ABC-Paramount Records. The company focused on producing records targeted at audiophiles. When ABC Records issued quadraphonic records in the 1970s, they were issued on the Command label. While the recording industry had made magnetic tape the standard for recording music for release on vinyl, Command’s albums were recorded optically onto 35mm film. Optical sound recording and playback had been developed in the 1920s and was still in use for playing the soundtrack for motion pictures in movie theaters, but Light was using the entire width of the film strip to create multitrack recordings, as opposed to the more limited two or three tracks offered by most recording studios at the time. This enabled Light to record more instruments individually and adjust their audio input levels, as well as their stereo position. Discography 1963 – The Year’s Most Popular Themes, RS 854 SD 1966–Magnificent Movie Themes (Bobby Bryne), RS 894 SD Age of Electronicus, The (Dick …

Cover Story – Part I – Tonpress Records

The first in a Fat Nancy series digging out album cover art from shut down or rare record labels. The first is Tonpress,  a polish label from 1980′s. Belonging to KAW – Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza (The National Publishing Agency), their catalogue consisted of foreign albums, singles, audiobooks and Polish records. Tonpress was shutdown in 1990, due to the Polish government discontinuing most of the state-controlled publishing houses and agencies. Much of Tonpress’ collection was lost when it was split between two privately owned music labels. Tonpress records are still available at on-line auctions.

Cover Story XII – Sofrito Records

Sofrito is a collective of DJs, producers and artists that combine a love for Tropical rhythms with a firm basis in modern club culture. Rooted in the legendary Tropical Warehouse Parties in East London, Sofrito mixes up vintage sounds from across the tropics with modern productions and exclusive dubplate specials, bridging the gap between eras and continents to produce a unique and intense sound that has seen them play at clubs and festivals across the world. The Sofrito label covers everything from Nigerian acid boogie to raw Gwo Ka rhythms, futuristic sounds from new European producers and heavy Latin vibes from the Pacific coast of Colombia. Paris-based Hugo Mendez has traveled extensively in order to produce groundbreaking compilations for labels such as Strut, Soundway, Jazzman and Nascente and DJs regularly across Europe. Hackney-based Frankie Francis runs The Carvery mastering and dubplate cutting studios, working on vinyl retrieval and mastering for labels such as Strut, Sir Collin’s Music Wheel, NYC Trust, Superfly and many more, as well as cutting dubs for the cream of the reggae and Tropical DJs in the UK. Illustrator and Designer Lewis Heriz works …

Cover Story XI – Erased Tapes

Erased Tapes Records is a London-based contemporary label that is widely recognised for releasing avant-garde music that crosses over various genres and styles. The record company was established by Robert Raths in early 2007 and has become a melting pot for innovative musicians from all around the world. Its roster of contemporary classical music composers includes Ólafur Arnalds from Iceland, German composer Nils Frahm, Ukrainian continuous music pioneer Lubomyr Melnyk, electronic producer Rival Consoles, American multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick, Japanese vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita, Brooklyn-based trio Dawn of Midi, the collaborative project A Winged Victory For The Sullen by Stars of the Lid-member Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran, English film composer Michael Price, singer songwriter Douglas Dare and nordic electronic duo Kiasmos. “The heart-string-tugging London label that floats gently between 20th Century composition and ambient music” (Rolling Stone)