Fiercely Independent Records is a micro-label with it’s own recording studio. Specialising in small runs on a number of physical and analogue formats. Owned and operated by Sound Engineer, Stu Welsh who’s interest lies in artistic and analogue processes, he says, “The idea that a physical copy (of an album) can develop its own unique qualities through interaction, use and wear would suggest that […] over its lifetime it develops a story that the original does not have.”
I have written a few articles recently about my love of analogue formats and yes it’s true that the quality inherent in analogue formats is lacking. However, that is not the crux of my argument for any type of artistic analogue expression. In this article we’ll keep it technical and look objectively at the limitations of various audio delivery formats.
As professionals it is easy to believe that all audio should be technically perfect. However, in my experience this is not the case at all. Art is beautifully imperfect, messy and emotional and music should be too. To present it as anything else is to miss the point entirely.
We inhabit a space where one could consume all things digitally and thus those ‘things’ would have no physical presence in our world. Currently, all you need is a smart device or computer to create, mix and distribute music. If you have been reading my pervious posts you’ll know what I don’t think that is necessarily a good idea for creativity.
The object itself, as important to the experience as the music contained within it. The ‘story’ of where it’s been, who has previously played it means we often anthropomorphise these objects, imbuing them with a life and even, a soul. That connection is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to form with digital music and, in fact, some would argue that music cannot and doesn’t exist digitally.
What makes the format particularly appealing for small labels, is that anyone with a decent cassette recorder and a printer/copier can make a limited edition, small run of cassettes in-house. They are currently, the only viable analogue format that can be created on-demand.
The idea of a tangible format become less about access to the music and more about having an experience. Interacting with the music. Placing the needle. Turning the record over. Cleaning it when necessary. Storing it. It has become about curating an experience rather than an object.