"Remember September" featuring Andrew Jonathan
Here’s the first mix I printed with the new studio rig I’ve been posting pictures of… so far, me likey. Got some things to dial in, but I’m really stoked with the changes and updates.
Source: SoundCloud / danielholter
Putting The Needle Back In Needledrop™
Believe it or not, this strange and (for decades) obscure business known as the “production music library” industry got its start during the heyday of vinyl. Publishing stalwarts such as De Wolfe, Chappell, and KPM are among the most revered names from our industry’s ancestors, and all gained credibility in ways involving vinyl and turntables that might surprise the casual commercial music user.
Yes, the industry catchphrase “needledrop” is derived from the physical act of dropping the record stylus, or needle, onto a record during video productions each time a piece of music needed to be synchronized with picture. Each drop of that needle was licensed as a separate fee, and the action was coined a needledrop for “needles” and “drops” that, at first glance, have little or nothing to do with DJ and sampling culture.
But the production music niche of our industry has been a part of vinyl junkie culture since the earliest days of crate digging and sample jacking.
Searching for those rare and long lost bits of inspiring library music groove on vinyl is a hobby best avoided by those lacking patience and perseverance—and, at times, a bank account large enough to procure such rarities—as many of the pioneers of the production music library business produced just enough copies for their (relatively) limited client bases. It’s been decades since any of the major players have prioritized releasing any new music on vinyl over the more efficient realities of digital and/or online delivery.
The rarity of such source material—combined with music geekery of the highest order—led to a renaissance for sample-based electronic and hip-hop music production long before there were hipsters buying reissued record players and the “baffling” upward trend of vinyl sales in recent years:
Some great research and writing about this peculiar slice of music history can be found all over the internet, such as Pitchfork's review of the recent re-release Music For Dancefloors: The KPM Music Library…
The initial fetishization of library music came bundled with a renewed interest in exotica and easy listening that flourished alongside Britpop in the mid 1990s. At Blow Up in London it was common to hear old library music cues being dropped by DJs such as the Karminsky Experience, Stereolab's Tim Gane, and Barry 7 from Add N to (X), while an adjoining room would blast out hits from Blur and Oasis. Fast-forward a decade, and the Ghost Box label repopularized the music. Danger Mouse, Jay-Z, DOOM, and Madlib have all sampled KPM cues.
So how are we putting the needle back in needledrop, anyway?
In keeping with one of our core tenets, Efficiency Sucks, we decided to throw caution to the wind and release some of our recent tracks on vinyl, a callback to an era when attention to detail and a passion for craftsmanship were priorities. To that end, we recalled the mixes for these tunes, remastered them specifically for the vinyl format, hand selected our lacquer cutter, and shepherded the arduous process of physical record production and packaging once again.
Of course, if you want to take a listen to this sampler online you’re welcome to do so… we went ahead and mastered alternate versions just for online/streaming delivery. We’ve posted it here at our site for clients, but it’s also available elsewhere online (including Spotify and iTunes).
We’re also figuring out which of our material might work well on vinyl each year, and making plans to include this as a portion of our ongoing creative output. The past 6 months of planning and creating this special edition has affirmed for us that the extra effort and craft is worth it, and manifests itself in ways we hadn’t anticipated during our creative process in the studio.
And, honestly, we hope that in a few decades the sampleheads and music geeks of that time will look back fondly on some of our production music being a part of their new cult favorites, much like the Benny Hill Show or Ren & Stimpy have utilized library music in their classic television programs, or like the Gnarls Barkley hit “Crazy” (which sampled the spaghetti western track “Last Man Standing”).
So if you’re interested in hearing what such attention to detail can mean for your licensed music needs, give us a shout. And if you’re a producer, DJ, artist, or songwriter interested in reviving the art of sampling directly from vinyl, know that we’re prepared to license our music and masters for anything creative and inspiring. So get in touch, as we hearken back to the beginnings of the music library industry and bring back the needledrop… for licensing, sampling, or simply being inspired by music produced on vinyl once again.
I’m quite proud of this. Been a long six months.
Passion trumps profit, if you’re interested in building an impactful and sustainable business.
A manifesto, of sorts… from one of our founding partners, Daniel Holter.
We’re still at it over here… please read, reblog, comment, share… I really appreciate it. Thanks!
Some cool stuff coming from our company. Details within. :)
May be my favorite thing i’ve ever written.
I’m digging this new album we just finished. Mike is a big part of the reason why.
E&E-008 Cinematic Indie
The latest incarnation of our Eyeballs & Eardrums series is online now (coming soon to Spotify & iTunes).
Cinematic Indie is filled with heart wrenching and melancholy tracks perfectly suited for dramatic climaxes, rising to the challenge, overcoming odds, celebrating the human condition.
Fans of Explosions In The Sky, Sigur Ros, Augustana, Helios, The Fray, Copeland, The Album Leaf, Múm, and Volcano Choir should feel right at home with these emotionally compelling post-rock and indie soundtracks featuring long builds, developing atmospheres, and expansive but powerful sonic vistas.
We’re also pleased that we were able to have a few friends join us in the studio on this album, including Andrew Jonathan (vocals) and Tony Olla (guitar) of Northern Room [Spotify, iTunes], and Jon Mueller (drums) of Volcano Choir [Spotify, iTunes].
You can preview and download music here.
We release approximately 100 albums each year, and a few of them stand out as special, more memorable and personal than the others. This is one of those that I’m just a li’l more proud of. Check it out if you’re into this type of music… lovely stuff.
I’ll post Spotify and iTunes links next week when they’re live.
Today marks two years in business for us. Just the beginning. Thanks for being here early. :) Onward.
Been a wicked fast two years. Having a blast, working with great people, making some kickass sounds.
PLAY-001 Playlist vol. 1
The first volume in our new series of full song productions known as Playlist Production Music is filled with indie rock, a raucous barroom brawl, polished dance pop anthems, and edgy electropop bits.
You can preview and download tracks here, and listen on Spotify, or buy on iTunes.
We’re doing some really cool stuff in the Lab lately. Come check it out if you’re curious about music licensing, recording studios, or how a bunch of introverted stage-averse music geeks have found a way to play together nicely and make a living.
E&E-004 Timing Tension
The fourth and final launch album in our brand new Eyeballs & Eardrums catalog is primed to antagonize and ramp the tension in your production, through fearfully constructed (mostly) negative soundscapes and songs designed for use in advertising, reality programming, soundtracks, and video games.
Also released this past week:
Happy Friday the 13th!