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Audiobulb: An Illuminating Record Label

by Now Then Sheffield
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Exploratory music label Audiobulb have been promoting creativity in Sheffield since the early 2000s, boasting a global roster of artists while remaining proudly independent. We chatted to label founder David Newman to find out more about Audiobulb's devotion to electronic music.

Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about Audiobulb and how it got started?

Audiobulb started in Sheffield in 2003 as a record label focusing on 'exploratory music'. The aim was to provide a home for some of the best emerging artists whose sound explored ambient, electronic, acoustic, modern classical and microsound. Works supported by Audiobulb often explore the interface between the electronic and natural world - embracing 'beautiful mistakes' recorded from custom hardware, software and nature itself. We are now on release number 87 and it's great to see our music featuring on top Spotify and Apple playlists and being streamed over 100,000 times per month.

What's the story behind the name 'Audiobulb'?

The name Audiobulb comes from a sense of sound as light, light as sound. The experience of synesthesia. I have always had a sense that I can in some way 'see sounds'. Audiobulb as a name works for me as it conveys sound as light - hopefully leading to an illumination within the listener's mind.

We've heard you've been creating a never-ending ambient track. How does that work?

Endless Endless (version 7) is an evolving ambient track which is getting longer and longer over time. Artists submit 120 second pieces and they are added to the start or the end of the track. Over time it grows and develops. We are currently on version 7 and it includes contributions from over 70 artists - currently running for 2 hours and 6 mins. Each track is mixed carefully into the next - it's like a flowing river of ambient creativity.

You can hear the track at our website or by visiting the SoundCloud link here.

It seems like there's plenty going on at Audiobulb. What other projects have you been working on recently?

As well as music, Audiobulb releases multimedia works, focussed projects, VST (virtual instruments), audio hardware and other creative tools. Exploratory music requires you to have the tools to make news sounds in new ways. I have been lucky to work closely with programmers who have engineered ingenious Virtual Studio Tools and software modules. For example, SOPHIE by Xik is a crazy synth that produces shuddering dark sounds.

Our most recent software module is called Ambient (v4) and has been designed by the talented Christopher Hipgrave, who is an electronic musician in his own right. Ambient (v4) has proven to be very popular with sound designers, receiving unanimous praise for its ability to manipulate sound by breaking it into microscopic grains of audio.

Lastly there is Lissajous, a real-time audio reactive graphics application and inspired by the work of Jules Antoine Lissajous. Video generated by sound can be controlled in endless ways by giving the user the possibility of a whole new range of interactions.

What upcoming Audiobulb releases can we look forward to?

We have some great releases coming up, including In The First Wave, the latest album from Ümlaut (Jeff Düngfelder) who is a brilliant electronic composer from Queens, New York. This is followed by Causeyoufair presenting an album of serene ambient chill titled In Blue On A Vaporous Sky. Songs/Signs by Italian group Flo works across organic compositions and improvisation using acoustic instruments such as guitar, violin and electronics in novel ways.

Later in the year I have a couple of releases by Neuro... No Neuro, whose album Scans portrays the artist's experience of having brain surgery via succinct, carefully derived electronic compositions, each one saving his life whilst changing his outlook forever.

Flick Jackson

by Now Then Sheffield

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