C. Reider – Certainty Reducing Signals

C. Reider - Certainty Reducing Signals

Feeling like David Wallechinsky of late, I itch to get back to reviewing. One of the albums released on Netlabel Day is C. Reider’s Certainty Reducing Signals on the netlabel Happy Puppy Records which is run by Lee Rosevere. Both men are big proponents of sharing music, the Creative Commons culture, and the Netlabel scene. Rosevere is a radio producer in western Canada, and beyond running the wonderful Happy Puppy Records for 15 years, he is also a accomplished musician and composer. You can find his work on Free Music Archive and Bandcamp. C. Reider’s began his musical sharing journey in the tape trading culture of the 90s. The Coloradan composer has released many experimental albums as well running his own netlabel, Vuzhmusic.

I bring up their biographies, such as they are, any discrepancies are of my doing, because I wanted you to understand that their connections to the Netlabel scene run deep and strong. It is simple enough to share one’s own music, but to promote other musicians’ work, for free no less, shows a wonderful sharing spirit.

C. Reider’s Certainty Reducing Signals is both a fragile and harsh record. Reider talks about the quiet noise (or let us say, the fragility of music), ambient works that embrace the world noise and process it into an opaque musical pieces. The easy opposition, the yin to the yang, of quiet noise would be something like a harsh noise wall, but that’s really not what Reider’s music is about. I don’t know if Reider has a harsh noise wall record in his discography and I would not be surprised if he did, but the coarseness found in Certainty Reducing Signals is not that and it is not necessarily an anti-ambient statement, rather Reider’s music expands on the instability and agitation of ambient sound.

There is no signifying C. Reider sound as each album stands in its own place and time, each is a by-product of Reider’s encompassing environment; he is quite open about this. The ten tracks on Certainty Reducing Signals are a testament to the diversity of Reider’s approach to music; listen to “Twisted Bridge Dub” and “Unpermissive” as an example. Though these tracks might be different from each other, they derive from an artist confident in sound and space. Like many musicians, Reider speaks publicly about his artistic insecurities, though it’s Reider’s uncertainty which builds a auditory world of strength coexists with frailty. A wonderful example of this is “A Harsh Bunny Town”, an whimsical and contrary title, that explores Reider’s sonic outlook which is full of bends, augmentation and reduction.

Artist: C. Reider
Title: Certainty Reducing Signals
Netlabel: Happy Puppy Records
Release Date: July 2015
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Download mp3: zip

Netlabel List 2.0.2

Netlabel List 2.0.2

Another update to the Netlabel list. Thirteen netlabels added (that’s 38 since the re-release two weeks ago). We now have 300 active netlabels on this list, if you are counting. As well as the Facebook list, there is a new OPML (RSS) file (zip) for you.

Netlabels added to list: Alter Sonic Records, Bedroom Research, Carbonproyecto, Dubophonic, Homebody, Lost Frog Productions, Minimized music records, Modismo, Monster Jinx , Nakrikal Records, No Type, Sabacan Records, SOCSUB, Subwise, and Underpolen.

Inactive labels: A crap load of additions as well as adding Internet Archive, Sonic Squirrel, and Bandcamp for their archives.

Netlabel List 2.0.1

Netlabel List 2.0.1

The Netlabel List has been updated. There is also a netlabel list now available on Facebook.

New Additions: Antzhill, BONImedia, Chabane’s Records, Crna Zemlja, Fork and Soup Records, Gargan Records, Hortus Conclusus Records, Hypnotic Dirge Records, Internet Recordings, Jisatsuken, Liquid Seed Recordings, Mindblasting, naboamusic, Nebular Silence, NKS International, Radius, Sense/Net, Sleeping Brothers Records, Strato Dischi Notlabel, Teque-nique, Truco Records, and Yarn Audio

Modifications: 51beats, Abandonment, Al Dente Records, Amalgamated Futureless Artists, Aquavelvas, Brusio, Crazy Language, Eardrums Pop, Earthrid, Ekar Records, Los Emes Del Oso, Finity, Fusion, Kanal30, La Bèl, Nohmad, Num Num Nah Records, Sirona-Records, Spettro Records, TACHYON, and This Side

Inactive Netlabels: Baconsmash Records, Lucky Chicken, Resting Bell, Underpolen, and WM Recordings

The photograph is from the Balkansky “Graviton” release on Abstrakt Reflections. The photograph is by Ghoulesk.

The New and Improved Netlabel List


The new Netlabel list is out. Though it’s never done, with Netlabel Day in less than 24 hours, this is as good as a spot to publish a version as any.

Still to do:

  • Add Sonic Squirrel links
  • Add MixCloud links
  • Add netlabels from Soundshiva
  • Finish inactive reorganization

Some fun facts from the list:

  • 250 active netlabels
  • 760 inactive netlables
  • All continents are represented except for Antartica.

Some social media stats:

  • Facebook 194
  • Twitter 188

Some Archive stats (including inactive):

  • Internet Archive 360
  • Bandcamp 92
  • SoundCloud 174 (active only)
  • Free Music Archive 31
  • Sonic Squirrel 9 (I didn’t add this to active yet)

Country breakdown of active netlabels:

  • Argentina 6
  • Austria 1
  • Belarus 1
  • Belgium 3
  • Brazil 4
  • Bulgaria 3
  • Canada 6
  • Chile 3
  • Colombia 4
  • Croatia 1
  • Dominican Republic 1
  • England 20
  • Finland 4
  • France 12
  • Germany 25
  • Greece 4
  • Hungary 2
  • Indonesia 10
  • Ireland 1
  • Italy 24
  • Japan 13
  • Lithuania 1
  • Mexico 6
  • Moldova 1
  • The Netherlands 6
  • Norway 4
  • Poland 4
  • Portugal 8
  • Russia 25
  • Scotland 2
  • Slovakia 3
  • South Africa 3
  • Spain 16
  • Sweden 1
  • Switzerland 2
  • Taiwan 1
  • Ukraine 4
  • United Kingdom 1
  • United States 39

If your netlabel is not on this list or you need your entry updated, contact me via email (david.nemeth@gmail.com) or contact me on Twitter, @dpnem.

The image at the top of the page is adapted from “Steampunk gear III” by Curious Expeditions. Both the adaption by David Nemeth and the original are licensed CC BY-NC-SA.

Anonymous – Cuckoo

Anonymous - Cuckoo

I am going to assume here that the Anonimo (transaltated as Anonymous) release on the netlabel ozky e-sound is by an unknown artist or an artist which to remain anonymous rather than someone calling themselves Anonimo. Because really that would not make much sense. It would be like an live band calling themselves TBA, To Be Announced. That all said I find the licensing choice of non commercial and no derivatives to be odd. Why not Public Domain? I guess we will never now.

My guess is that the musician behind Cuckoo was wondering if their releases were being downloaded because of their name or because the music was good. Even though Cuckoo is a good ambient/experimental record, this album has only had just over 100 downloads since the beginning of the year. I guess that the originating artist was proven correct. That said 100 downloads isn’t a bad thing either.

Cuckoo may be best described as an experimental ambient album. It comes in just over 20 minutes and strays throughout the ambient spectrum. It’s a wonderful work without being too pretty or beautiful.

Artist: Anonymous
Title: Cuckoo
Netlabel: ozky e-sound
Release Date: January 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: zip

Netlabel Day Approaches

Netlabel Day

Netlabels, man I love them. Netlabels, rather the men and women who run them, are my record store clerks. These are the people who listen to new music, find musicians, release albums, and occasionally promote them. They do this all for nothing. Actually, they do it for the love of music. You see netlabels are very much like record store clerks.

There are a few things that make a netlabel a netlabel:

  • The releases are made available on the Internet
  • The releases are available for free
  • Releases are licensed under some sort of copy left. Creative Commons is the most prevalent licensing
  • The releases are not from one person — that’s a vanity label

And now there is a day to celebrate these wonderful virtual record labels that make up an underground world-wide music scene. On July 14th, over 80 netlabels will be releasing over 100 Creative Commons albums celebrating a social network that goes largely unnoticed. It is also nice to see some netlabels that have been dormant for several months participating on Tuesday.

Even though everyday is a Netlabel Day for me, the work that Manuel Silva is doing for a world-wide Netlabel Day is absolutely fantastic. Silvia’s effort has pushed me on to rework my Netlabel list which will be re-released this upcoming Tuesday as well.

P.S. I cannot thank Silva enough for not calling Netlabel Day, Netlabel Store Day.

For more information about Netlabel Day, go to http://netlabelday.blogspot.com/p/home.html.

Cagey House – Sometimes Always Never

Cagey House - Sometimes Always Never

Before the music review starts, I wanted to draw your attention to the album cover at the top of this page. One of the delights of Cagey House aka Dave Keifer’s releases are the album covers. This is due to artist Brandi Strickland (http://brandistrickland.com/) as she has been making Cagey House album covers for a few years now. What I find wonderful about these album covers is how they go along so well with Cagey House’s music.

I am a proponent that music can be listened to anywhere and anyhow. This is not as an odd as a statement given the number of musicians who say, “Only listen to my music on high-end audio equipment,” “Must use headphones to listen to,” “Don’t convert to MP3,” “Great music to fall asleep to,” etc. That all said and remembering I love music everywhere and anytime, a great time and place to listen to Cagey House’s Sometimes Always Never would be during Sunday brunch, especially with friends who may not have as an adventurous taste in music as you do.

“Airshaft Grains” opens up Cagey House’s Sometimes Always Never placing you directly into the early hours of a piano bar, customers are straggling in, there’s a guy at the bar who has been drinking since lunch (he may or may not be passed out, it’s hard to tell), and the piano player and drummer are just loosening up. As with most Cagey House records, there is a mood of an album that is ingrained with each track, this time it is a saturation of tenderness. “Airshaft Grains” accomplishes this.

“Number 3 Removal” is, of course, the second track. Its guitar loop with a recorder or flute coming in from behind is a beautiful track. But it’s still a Cagey House track, so things are always a little off center, a little askew, and this starts around the 90 second mark.

In “Bebe Dreams (with Batteries)”, things start to get Cagey House weird but it’s tempered with the jazzy drum we heard in the first track. “Walrus and Eric” continues with the strangeness, but the ambiance has already been set in Sometimes Always Never and Cagey House keeps the track soothing with its sad piano even with the loops of noise and vocals about a sea lion are definitely out there.

I don’t know if Dave Keifer lives “JF on the Stoop” lives in the Baltimore City, but I will imagine he does as sitting on the stoop is a Baltimore tradition, just read some Anne Tyler novels. “JF on the Stoop” is a late-evening cigarette while sitting on your front steps watching the silence of your city street. The bells on “Tin Can Lotus” along with the wah-wah-ish sound and the drums at the end give this track a lovely meditative feel.

If you had zoned out during the previous, “Mother Light” does two things. First, it’s opening drum beat will startle you a touch and the second is that this track is probably the most Cagey House track of the album. “She Found Him in 22″, the final entry to the album is a bit sugary, but it fits wonderfully with the rest of the album.

Cagey House’s Sometimes Always Never is very chill release, but it is still cagey.

Artist: Cagey House
Title: Sometimes Always Never
Netlabel: Pan y Rosas Discos
Release Date: June 2015
License: June 2015
Download mp3: zip