Coming Back

Well, this has been a wild few weeks! I did warn you that things might go quiet, but I had hoped that I might get a bit more of a chance to mitigate it. I don’t really want to go into everything that’s happened since you last saw regular posts, but let’s just say that it was out of my control. So anyway, sorry for just how quiet things have been over the last few weeks, anyway.

I’m going to ramp things back up slowly, and we might not ever quite hit the velocity of posts that we used to have, but I hope to be able to provide a few posts a week going forward – including reviews of oldies, previews of interesting new tracks, the random jukebox, features that are hopefully of interest, and maybe even our very own chart. After all, we’re a matter of weeks away from the blog’s seventh birthday, so it would be a shame to stop now!


Record Companies – Mute Records

Closing this mini-series out is a quick look at Daniel Miller‘s Mute Records, which, since its launch in 1978, has become one of the most cult, collectible labels. Initially devised as an engine to release Miller’s own electronic act The Normal, it has grown to house a huge roster of artists from a broad range of genres.

Key artists include Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Moby, Goldfrapp, and more recently, New Order, but it has also housed some hugely influential underground artists, including Fad Gadget, Nitzer Ebb, and Laibach. The list could be endless. Many of those artists were lost when Mute was sold to EMI in 2002, and didn’t follow back when it regained its independence at the end of the decade, but the list of artists is still very strong.

Perhaps most notable in recent times is the now-legendary box set MUTE433, a compilation of different artists performing John Cage‘s 4’33”. Which is clearly brilliant, even if I don’t really want a copy (thanks all the same). By the time you read this, it might already be in the shops.

You can find out more about Mute by going to

Record Companies – ZTT

Few record labels hold the allure that ZTT do. Zang Tumb Tuum (or one of the other variations on the name that they have used from time to time) were formed in 1983 by Trevor Horn, his wife Jill Sinclair, and Paul Morley. Apart from an impressive range of artists, they came to be known for their videos and artwork, and remain influential to this day.

Created to release ABC‘s The Lexicon of Love, the label has gone on to house numerous huge names, including Art of Noise, 808 State, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Roy Orbison, Propaganda, Adamski, Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl, Seal, and Lisa Stansfield.

ZTT is part of the BMG group, so their minimal website is here:

Record Companies – The Tapeworm

For me, there are few record companies more intriguing than The Tapeworm. Established in June 2009, this brilliantly named cassette-only label has spent the last decade releasing small-batch avant garde cassettes by musicians and artists, some better known than others.

Most releases are limited to 100-300 copies, and some of the better-known artists to have unleashed their work through The Tapeworm include Fennesz, Simon Scott, Cristian Vogel, and Simon Fisher Turner. The latter released 250 copies of De Dentro Hacia Afuera in 2009, featuring a recording of the 2002 procession of the Virgen del Carmen, recorded at Carboneras in Almería, Spain. You can certainly find things that are more artsy than that elsewhere, but this is a pretty fine example.

To my shame, I’ve never got around to purchasing anything from The Tapeworm, but I regularly visit to browse the oddities that they have in stock, and if nothing else, I’m very glad that they exist. If you’re interested, you can visit The Tapeworm at

Record Companies – Virgin Records

All of the major labels are big enough that they have, at times at least, been able to boast an impressive range of artists, but few are as interesting as Virgin Records. Formed in 1972 by Richard Branson, Simon Draper, Nik Powell, and Tom Newman, they went on to become one of the most influential labels in the music business.

Famously, Mike Oldfield‘s Tubular Bells was the label’s first release, and in the early 1970s, they became well known for their prog rock releases, also becoming an early home to Tangerine Dream, but then in 1977, hit the mainstream by signing the Sex Pistols. Major releases from Culture Club, The Human League, Simple Minds, XTC, and others followed, making the label a household name throughout the 1980s.

That was essentially it – in 1992, Richard Branson sold Virgin to EMI, and while the list of signed artists continued to grow, including such huge names as The Future Sound of London, the Spice Girls, and Meat Loaf, its heyday as an influential brand really seems to have passed by this time.

You can read more about Virgin Records here: