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
http://mute.com/

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John Peel’s Record Collection

Browsing through someone else’s record collection is always very rewarding. You learn so much about the owner!

Although I’m sure none of us really needed to learn much about John Peel‘s beautifully eclectic tastes. If there’s anyone who didn’t worship him as a living God when he was around, then I’d be fascinated to know why. And if there’s a music fan out there who doesn’t know where they were then they found out he’d sadly died, then I’d be very surprised.

If you are the one person on the planet who wasn’t aware, then he was probably the finest DJ in British radio history. After some time in the world of piracy in the mid 1960s, he joined fledgeling BBC pop station Radio 1 when it started in 1967 and stayed there right up until his death in 2004. He was responsible for starting the careers of so many big name bands that it’s not even worth considering listing them, and his Peel Sessions remain a household name worldwide.

And this year, 45 years after he joined Radio 1, his estate have been working on a wonderful project to digitise his record collection, and they finally reach the end of the alphabet this week. Starting initially with the first hundred records from each letter, the archive of a few thousand records is quite compelling. Check it out here.

I’m sure I’ve missed plenty, but here are a few of the things which have caught my eye in his collection on my quick browse. Obviously I’m a lot less open minded than he is, but then neither was I going to list all 2,600 entries here! I’ve copied their links where appropriate, but I’d strongly recommend that you go and browse them for yourself!

In particular, the brilliantly bizarre industrial Slovenes Laibach get a full interview in the L is for Laibach feature here, which is well worth watching.

More about this blog

I think you’ll get the hang of this very quickly.

My name is Rollo, I’m old enough to remember the 1980s, and I mainly like pop and electronic music, but also a bit of world and a lot of chillout, and all sorts of things in between. But I mainly listen to electronic music, and so that’s mainly what we’ll be writing about here.

You’ll get a good idea of my favourite bands as we go along, but loosely I grew up listening to lots of Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, then I discovered Sparks and Depeche Mode, and for a long time my favourite band were The Beloved. Then I stumbled across Jean Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk, and in more recent years became extraordinarily keen on Röyksopp, Goldfrapp and William Orbit.

I come from Sheffield originally, so inevitably I have a lot of fondness for The Human League and Heaven 17, but not ABC so much. I love I Monster and Kings Have Long Arms to pieces. I’m a Geographer by trade, and I’m always fascinated by things which fuse music from different locations such as Gotan Project, Manu ChaoDeep ForestErlend Øye and Delerium.

I’m a Europhile, and so I adore French music such as AirTélépopmusikReadymade and Sébastien Tellier, and German music such as Camouflage and Wolfsheim. My favourite country in the world is Slovenia, so I’m particularly fascinated by Laibach. I’m a proud Brit, so I love Madness and The Specials.

I love pop music, and I think Sarah Nixey has the finest voice in the world, while Saint Etienne are probably the best songwriters. I like listening to unusual laid back music such as The Future Sound of London and The Orb. I like things with a darker edge, so I love Front Line Assembly and the Soulsavers album was wonderful.

My favourite discoveries of recent years have probably been MarsheauxHoneyroot and Skywatchers.

Funny how your taste in music is so fundamentally shaped by your personality, isn’t it?