Wed Jan 14
To call Orac Seattle's best techno label is to damn it with faint praise. Who's the competition? Nevertheless, Orac's gaining traction in the global electronica network with European distro via Germany's powerful Kompakt consortium (you've truly arrived when Kompakt returns your emails). And your imprint's really blossomed when top DJs like Andrew Weatherall, Michael Mayer, Riley Reinhold, and Ricardo Villalobos cane your tracks.
Pondering Orac's mission, label honcho Randy Jones states, "Konstantin Evtimov and I started Orac to support the creation of experimental electronic music that also works on the dancefloor. What all experimental music has in common is that the process--not the end product--is the focus. The current 'dance-music industry' does not reward this process, which has been responsible for all of the dance music we love. So, our mission is to help more of the good stuff to come into the world."
Jones is one of those multi-talented dudes around whom mini-empires can be built. Besides running Orac and creating sexy, intelligent electro and techno as Caro, Jones also whips crowds into frenzies with his eclectic, ecstatic DJ sets and dazzles eyeballs with Jitter, the visual environment for the audio processing program MAX/MSP. He also built the patch that Radiohead used for their live visuals on their last tour. You can't keep up with this Jones.
Orac's breakout release may be Bruno Pronsato's "Read_Me" 12-inch. On a talented roster that includes Portland's Strategy and Solenoid, and LA's [a]pendics.shuffle, Pronsato may be the finest. Like the best Perlon Records offerings, his tech-house bangers glitch, twitch, and swerve at odd angles, twisting dancers into knots with their peculiar logic. This EP exemplifies Jones' desire for "music that is heartfelt, which sounds like only its maker(s) could have made it. If music sounds like its maker is happy to be alive and creating, that's some good music. Some or all tracks on every Orac release must also have what [legendary Seattle techno DJ] Masa calls 'the knee-bending power': rhythms that move you forward in space/time. There's a certain seriousness we look for, too, but not the kind you need critical theory to explain."