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Audiobulb Records Exhibition #100

Exploratory label celebrate milestone release with virtual exhibition.

AUDIOBU2

Sheffield-based label Audiobulb Records was founded in 2003 as a home for weird and wonderful music that melds experimental electronics and the sublimity of the natural world.

Now celebrating their hundredth release with an ambitious virtual exhibition throughout September, we caught up with founder David Newman to tell us about the journey so far.

What's the ethos behind Audiobulb?

Audiobulb is a home for exploratory music. Music that is beautiful, compelling [and] made with care and skill. The label works with artists from around the world who are authentically exploring who they are by presenting a narrative of their life experience through sound. Works supported by Audiobulb often explore the interface between the electronic and natural world. We embrace the complexity of unique electronics, intricate acoustics and detailed microsound.

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A work from Exhibition #100.

The name Audiobulb comes from a sense of sound as light, light as sound – the experience of synaesthesia. It’s a good name, people seem to remember it. 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 illumination within the listener’s mind. As well as music, Audiobulb releases multimedia works, focused projects, VST (virtual instruments), limited edition audio hardware and other creative tools.

How did the label get started?

In 2003 I was listening to amazing unreleased music from all over the world. Net forums and net-labels were showcasing amazing talents and I was homing in on artists who were spending ages making beautifully intricate click-and-cut music, slicing up field recordings and making glitch beats.

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A work from Exhibition #100.

One such artist, Henry Leo Duclosm, had such an old computer he was taking an hour to make and render two seconds of audio and then stitch it all together into these amazing tapestries. Alongside Henry artists such as Diagram of Suburban Chaos, He Can Jog, Disastratos, Build, Bllix, Autistici and Marion all brought beautiful renditions. Working in realms that crossed between Warp Records IDM, Brian Eno ambience and microsound, their work was art.

The sound of a moth’s wing fluttering on a lightbulb gave me the idea for the label name. I was motivated to provide a beautiful home for these artists and to invest my time, energy and the small amount of money I had to releasing the music and making some CDs. The label started with two online compilation collections, Exhibition #1 and Exhibition #2. We had a great response – lots of reviews and praise - and we then built up to a further compilation released on CD called Switches, a beauty of an album.

What's your favourite release out of the first 100?

A hard question to answer as at the time every release is my favourite. Some have a particularly special place in my heart and often involve the music, the process creating the album and my relationship with the artists themselves.

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A work from Exhibition #100.

For this reason, I’ll have to cheat and pick three compilations that showcase the label and pay respect to the diversity of talent I’ve had the honour to work with. The aforementioned Switches is up there. Our first CD release – the album art on this one is special – with Disastratos taking painstaking time and concentration to cut up insect images and combine them with electronics!

Favourite Places #1 was a beauty, with each artist geo-tagging field recordings and using this to develop a musical piece to represent the location. Across the two editions of Favourite Places we worked with high-profile artists such as Biosphere, Taylor Deupree and Leafcutter John.

Lastly, I will mention ‘Endless Endless’ (v7). This is a free-to-listen, evolving, never-ending ambient track. Artists submit 120 second pieces and they’re added to the start or the end of the track. Over time it grows and develops. We’re currently on version seven and it includes contributions of over 70 artists, running for 2 hours and 6 minutes.

Tell us a bit about Exhibition #100.

In September 2020 [...] Audiobulb Records reaches 100 releases. To celebrate we will be releasing one single per day for 35 days and together these form the exhibition!

As well as their music, each artist chose an image to represent their track which is hung in a frame on the exhibition wall. To further celebrate the exhibition we have made a mix of the tracks with visual journey put together by our artists Neuro... No Neuro.

Each single is a unique art piece from artists past and present as well as friends of the label. We consider it a great privilege to work with these artists – creativity which comes forth in such subtle, beautiful and at times unsettling forms.

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