Dear internet folks,
This month Paradigms Recordings will issue it's 50th release and with this approaching landmark, it's been a time of excitement, reflection and forward thinking in equal measure.
Paradigms #50 is a rather wonderful collection of recordings from a spectral trio from Boston going by the name of OWLFOOD; and their hazy, psyched outsider folk and delicate lo-fi songcraft pretty much sums up everything that the label has come to embody, in our humble opinion.
From our beginnings on New Year's Day 2006 with the release of Amber Asylum's "Garden Of Love", Paradigms has taken the path less traveled. Never content to limit ourselves by genre or style, rather following underlying moods and passions that drive exciting leftfield music; we've (hopefully) brought together an eclectic range of disciplines ranging from modern classical, krautrock, death ambient, indie slo-core, neo-folk, blackened noise, drone metal, avantgarde black metal and much more besides into a coherent series that, for us anyway, is not simply a catalogue of releases, but also very much a soundtrack to the way we live our lives and view the world. And it is that ever present idealism that makes this all so special for us.
Paradigms has often been mistaken for a "metal" label but in our eyes that is only a small fragment of the overall vision. Our love of the classic 4AD label history is no secret and these days we spend more time investigating exciting works on Rune Grammofon, sound library tapes, long lost exotica soundtracks, ritual ambient recordings or the rich lineage of acid folk than we do trawling the crypt for the latest black metal grimness. But we were lucky enough to have been entraptured by the potent purity and sheer otherworldliness of the death metal and black metal underground way back in the late 80's and that period still remains one of the most important of our lives. Oh, the tales we could tell...
But with all things in life, you've got to move forwards and revivalism has never been a part of the Paradigms agenda. We've also been very honoured to work with a vast array of talented artists over the past five years, including the wonderful Jarboe and Kris Force on selected releases as well as introducing pioneering works from Gnaw Their Tongues, The Angelic Process, Titan, Murmuüre and many more besides. In contrast, some of our most urgent and boundary pushing editions have remained under the radar but we hope that one day the works of Heart In Mouth or Book Of Sand for example will be revisited with renewed curiosity and zeal as they remain important cornerstones in our musical universe.
The last few years have obviously also seen distinct changes in the way music (and information in general) has been communicated. In the age of shortening attention spans and blogspot music sharing, we still remain dedicated to presenting our releases in physical form, with diligent attention to presentation, design, aesthetics and ecological packaging. We still believe in an all encompassing musical experience and currently sourcing innovative packaging, beautiful inks and new printing techniques to further heighten the visual parallel to the musical. We still love the joy of buying new records (most often way too many records, but oh what a joy it is!) and assume that as you are reading this, you do too, which is glorious.
In reflection, each of the fifty releases now on Paradigms are all intrinsically linked to what has made it all very Paradigms. It's most difficult to look back and perhaps pick a few personal favourites that stand out over time to us, however some of our boldest achievements of which we are most proud still remain the glorious chamber music of Hallvardur Asgeirsson, the delicately curated "Death Aesthetics" compilation, the sheer lush beauty of Fog In The Shell's "Private South" and our recent voyages into astral jazz / electronica with Höhlenmusik Ensemble.
So, where does all this take us into the future? We already have a vast array of plans for the Autumn and beyond, with a selection of more limited, micro editions on cassette and cdr, alongside the more traditional Paradigms releases. Expect some rather wonderful explorations into drone folk, esoteric exotica and some rather harrowing occultist ritual drone over the coming months and where this will take us next, who can tell...
In conclusion, we're most thankful and grateful to everyone who has supported Paradigms and become a part of what we do. Without the small niche of listeners who understand and appreciate vibrant, eclectic leftfield music our endeavours would be fruitless. And special thanks to my good friend Andrew at Aurora Borealis, Jonathan Selzer, Mat "Kvohst" McNerney and Andee at Aquarius Records who are all constant sources of inspiration.
May we all drink and feast valiantly in the meadhalls together.
Paradigms Recording / August 2011