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Interview: / • Aught

by Festival October 06, 2015

This post was originally published on this site

Dunno what you heard about / • Aught, but it’s probably lore. Shit, I even tried to crack the shell of this STRICTLY MUSIC label, and to be honest, I’ve no idea who I conversed with about the whole ordeal. But what I do know has been chronicled below, at the patience of / • Aught, and their focus rather foregoes the “shrouded in mystery” appeal, as the concern of this Q&A was more directed toward the music and the collective’s catch-all theory backing it up.

Personally, I’m a big fan of conceptual projects — particularly labels supporting conceptual projects, but more specifically labels with a conceptual agenda in mind that gives an umbrella feel to all their releases, no matter how different each release sounds (e.g., Dream Catalogue, Bootleg Tapes). Considering the imposition of / • Aught’s visual display, I was immediately enthralled and had to dig in. Found nothing. I hit up / • Aught through e-mail, and this was their response:


Do you like to remain anonymous?

Yes. We find anonymity to be a baseline from which to proceed with the rest of our project.

Why?

So that each project is first approached from a sort of hypothetical zero and listened to with as few preconceptions as possible.

You do represent lyric-less music. Is there a common factor you find (outside dance, club rhythms) that each release shares collectively?

There are many processes that generate the sounds heard on our releases. One might consider each release to be a kind of particular crystallization of these processes.

With this mentality, y’all must despise PR firms?

Not particularly. Our approach with the music press proceeds from our organizational form in general. By handling communication and promotion directly, all information flows outward from us, and circulates through a series of intermediaries afterward.

Logistically as a label, do y’all obtain more international sales, or state-side?

It’s fairly even, actually.

Has there been consideration to change to CD for cheaper shipping?

We’re not so concerned with the costs of shipping.

It would be an interesting exercise to create music entirely devoid of affect.

Do y’all accept submissions/demos?

People are welcome to send them, but there are no openings in our release schedule in the near future.

Are you willing to admit to having released a cassette based upon a demo/submission?

We’re not, no.

Do you mean there will be NEW musicians to the Aught discography in the next couple of months? Any way you can convey their names to me without being literal or visceral?

We’d like to keep the specifics of our release schedule to ourselves for the time being.

Have you ever heard Aught music being DJ’d outside the confines of people you know?

Some things like this have happened. We welcome situations in which our work somehow returns to those who created it.

The lineages of your releases are interesting, as they tend to all build by number of tracks. Like the newest De Leon picks up as 06 as the first track, whilst 05 ends the first De Leon tape. Are listeners to expect these as part of an on-going catalog for each musician or do they remain separate works? Or is it more of a cohesive whole?

The interrelations of the sequences between releases are just one of a few measures of cohesion that run through the form of the / series. This should become more apparent when it has completed.

When WHAT has completed??

This series of cassettes has a specific and finite curatorial form.

Can listeners/collectors expect a second tape for Topdown Dialectic and Elizabethan Collar?

Yes — /9 should be available in mid-September.

These releases, however, articulate one of the manifold possibilities for the release and dissemination of aural material.

Do you feel the containment of your aesthetics is ALSO to thwart the marketability/sales/promotion of [music in general], as a comment on how the “industry” is run, or is it mostly to protect the music on each tape?

Challenging the music industry at large is outside the scope of this project. These releases, however, articulate one of the manifold possibilities for the release and dissemination of aural material.

Are the musicians on the label projects by Aught perpetuators, or friends, or complete strangers?

All of these.

Do y’all provide master/engineering or suggestions for releases?

Yes.

Considering the eight releases on Aught thus far, how many artists understood the label aesthetic prior to the completion of their music? Or this isn’t really relevant to the label aesthetic, as much as the label aesthetic is to set more of a platform for the containing music?

N/A.

How many of your releases are collaborative projects opposed to solo?

N/A.

As a “nonlocal organization” do you mostly throw underground/private-flier events for shows, or strictly just don’t support performances? Would y’all consider Aught music more listener’s choice than something performed?

We have yet to organize performances associated with this project, but that may change in the future.

Careful listening can happen in public and in private, obviously. So far we have concentrated on recorded media, which is primarily a vehicle for the latter. However, this does not prevent its public consumption via radio or a DJ set, for instance. In this situation, people may engage with the work in a way that is beyond the context in which it was originally presented.

The interrelations of the sequences between releases are just one of a few measures of cohesion that run through the form of the / series. This should become more apparent when it has completed.

Do you have a marketing idea in mind for this or a particular city so fans/collectors can keep their eyes peeled?

No, not yet.

In HartZine, you mention “Xth Réflexion is an exploration of iterative processes. The recordings are composited from many reflections, if you will, of the source material as recorded and re-recorded in different public and semi-public spaces.” Does this mean Aught IS secretly a “live” label, but trying to establish a sort of haunting effect to its IRL personification, rather than a living and breathing one (but recorded)?

That’s an interesting reading of our statement. There is some truth to it. But guessing as to the circumstances under which the sounds took form is, as we’ve said elsewhere, beside the point.

Thus, it’s more the immediate effect Aught-presented music has upon the purveyor than something predetermined (following the clarity of Aught’s physical presentation)?

It would be an interesting exercise to create music entirely devoid of affect. What we’ve released to date certainly has some concrete, specifically signifying elements. Our clarity, as you put it, is an attempt to invite a subjective experience of the work.

Is the REEL of a cassette tape the only presentable (intentional) display for the releases?

One can think of the cassette as a machine for experiencing the sound recordings it contains. Using the image of the cassette itself as the “cover art” articulates the physicality of this machine. It also presents the most concrete and least metaphorical visual representation of the work we can provide. Looking upon the physical encasement of the sound is somewhat iterative in that sense. What you see is what you get, literally.

What does the cassette as a machine do for Aught, rather than an LP with visible grooves (especially on clear vinyl)?

All media work in this way, but the specifics of the cassette inform the content of this series.

Is there ever an intention to provide second dubbings of all your sold-out tapes?

There are no immediate plans to do so.

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