Started by Throwing Snow aka Ross Tones, Left Blank has the kind of A+R nose that could restore fortunes across the board as the producer pairs up with the management nous of Patrick Hanrahan and John Connon who between them manage WIFE, Hyetal, Vessel and Guy Andrews. The more eager eyed will have clocked a strong Bristol subtext in effect here and the labels music output reflects the city’s love of unexpected, bass led, experimental missions out into new space where there are little current sonic inhabitants.
One of the label partners John Connon describes their vision: “We were inspired by labels like Mute, 4AD, Type, Underground Resistance, Downwards, Dial, and more recently Tri Angle, Blackest Ever Black, to name but a few. There is no specific formula for Left_Blank but originality, personality and a consistent aesthetic are key. We’ve always been drawn to labels that are uncompromising and don't rest on their laurels.” With WIFE being signed to Trio-Angle and Vessel before that Left_Blank certainly aren’t territorial, as Connon continues: “We just wanted to put out great artists and nurture them, hopefully facilitating them in moving onto bigger and better platforms. Seeing an artist we've discovered go on to more widespread success and recognition is probably the biggest reward for us.”
This month's East notEast club night is a Left Blank special with Throwing Snow and WIFE performing live and DJs set from Hyetal, Young Echo and a special guest from Hot Flush. It all happens on Friday 16th November. Find out all you need to know at the Facebook event page.
Artist – Throwing Snow
Throwing Snow (AKA Ross Tones) is one of those artists that’s delightfully difficult to categorise – delightful because every time you hear one of his tracks it’s based around an entirely different set of sonics, each of which winds itself hauntingly around your brain on first listen. Still, you’d expect nothing less from a man whose “ears were always informed by John Peel”.
It’s tempting to break out the tried and tested bass/UK bass labels, but Tones offers so much more. Take ‘Shadower’, for example – an immense track: dimly lit and moody, with horror flick melodies, but backed-up by a flitting disco-house pulse.
Tones’ latest release, the ‘Clamor’ EP takes his experimental tendencies even further, with swirling layers of synth swells and soundscape ambience, but constantly jarred and bounced by Tones’ production, and still full of propelling rhythms. “I wanted to create something that would use dancefloor elements but also keep its interest when listened at home by using strange arrangements,” say Tones. “I don’t intentionally want to come across as experimental, I just naturally gravitate towards something smudged and odd.” Rarely, if ever, has smudged sounded so full of life and dancefloor-ready.
“I’m always trying to listen to new music or discovering something obscure,” says Tones of his creative process, “so this gets absorbed and comes out in my tracks, but through the Throwing Snow prism.”
THROWING SNOW ESSENTIALS
‘CLAMOR EP’ (SNOWFALL)
‘TOO POLITE’ (LOCAL ACTION)
‘SHADOWER’ (SNEAKER SOCIAL CLUB)
Artist – Young Echo Collective
Where to start? Where does it end? Kahn, El-Kid, Jabu And Zhou and Vessel comprise this nebulous crew from Bristol. With disregard for label or city sound their aesthetic looks to stretch far from their west country HQ. They are perhaps the flag bearers now of Bristol’s refusal to co-operate or comply with the rest of the world’s structures. From the Wild Bunch to Invada it’s always been uncompromising over there. Young Echo Collective’s unexpected bass ruminations look like the most imaginative ground in Britain at the turn of 2012, and could offer the same destructive fertility that Apple Records, Rinse or DMZ had on our nation’s bass weight years ago.
Artist – WIFE
Sparse and creeping guitar pluckings, with haunted tortured electronic strata thrive under the spectral vocals of James Kelly. This textural chameleon is the mind behind Irish black metal band Altar of Plagues and whilst WIFE tears off in a more club cultural direction expect nothing less than fanatical levels of composition. Tri-Angle have stepped in to release WIFE’s first LP as Left Blank continue to feed those around them. His ‘Stoic’ EP gathered up everything involved in the vogue of gothic and rearranges it with deeper drones, more stifled pain and a scintillating dose of existential agony. Disorientating alternative pop never sounded this beguiling.