Welcome to Soundscape. Our mission is to go one step beyond criticism and shine a light certain corners of music, from specific labels and genres to cities, recurring lyrical themes, and whatever else piques PopMatters interest. In the great tradition of the mixtape, we present these explorations with their actual sound, rather than our customary language.
This installment is a rather poignant retrospective for Scotland’s Benbecula Records. Despite featuring a roster of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic glitch, ambient, avant-garde, and indie artists, Benbecula closed its doors precisely ten years after opening them. Between 1999 and 2009, the label released over 50 albums, CDrs, and dozens of EPs and singles. Notably, they were among the first labels invited to sell at WARP Records’ MP3 site Bleep. Founding member of the Boards of Canada, Christ. was one of the only acts John Peel ever invited to perform an encore on his BBC Radio One program, and his three LPs for the label rank among the finest downtempo/chill records ever made. Scotland and, indeed, the entire music scene worldwide, now has a big hole in it.
Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.
How we see things is affected by how we say things. This mix is a reflection on formerly prominent methods and modes of communication, such as the typewriter, cassette tape, and radio. Enjoy your cultural evolution.
Through dedication to their scene and aesthetic, Bay area label Muti Music is on the brink of greatness. Unwavering commitment to their form is demonstrated by the dependable quality of their consistent releases. Dig it.
The holidays are full of dreadful music being pumped from every speaker in every commercial business. May the latest from Soundscape provide you with a pleasant respite of solace, a bit of shelter from all the pop star vanity and pseudo-comedic novelty albums that attempt to penetrate your earholes from every angle.