An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The frightening bit

Hello again. Why the title? Because one of the points of this blog, is for me to make a statement that then makes it more of a promise to you, the reader, of an intent. If I make a statement to do something on here, I’m more pressured to follow it through.

So what is my promise?

Well, apart from just collecting the first ten years of 4AD’s releases, and as part of the plan to exhibit the collection in 2030, I wanted to add some interesting elements. 4AD was and is an influential independent record label. Many questions come to mind such as, what are the barriers to starting a record label, how do you find printing presses, how many of a first edition do you print, what happens when the release doesn’t sell, how do you promote each release and distribute it? All these kind of questions would be interesting to know the answer.

It would also be of interest to know how vinyl is made, what does a master look like, what is an acetate, how is it decided to use test pressing for promotional use or make dedicated promotional material? When were CD’s introduced, when was the barcode introduced?

Other information would be interest. For instance, what was it like to work for 4AD, what has happened to the members of the more obscure 4AD bands, how do they feel about being part of the history of a legendary label?

To get all this info is one thing, but it would be a waste if a website wasn’t put together to compile all the data, all the above information, interviews etc.

So I will attempt to gather all this information together, put a database and website together and exhibit.

So you can see why I have planned this far in advance to exhibit in 2030. There’s a lot to get through, especially when you take into account that of the more than 700 releases I’ve compiled so far, I have only collected half this amount. At the moment the list of possible releases for the first decade of 4AD is growing constantly, the goalposts keep moving. I work full time, so my time and money is limited. So 2030 seems more probable.

If anyone can help me with contacts, data or advice it would be greatly appreciated. So thanks for reading and make sure you keep me to my promise. It’s as much about the journey, as the end result.

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