Thurs Sep 4
Kenneth James Dyber has been running Aesthetics Records for six years; about a year ago, he relocated his whole operation to Portland. Half of Pulseprogramming, whose records he releases, live here; they're joined by a diverse, yet consistently artful roster that includes hiphop artist Seth P. Brundel, British pop band Hood, eclectic electro-experimentalist Kpt.Michi.gan, and DJ Daniel Givens. In addition, Aesthetics non-exclusively distributes a number of electronic labels, including locals OMCO, Audraglint, and Audio Dregs; this sets the stage for his plans to open an Aesthetics headquarters/retail space that stocks Aesthetics and Aesthetics distributed releases. On the eve of his label showcase, I wanted to know what he was doing.
Do you have a specific path for your label?
One of the ideas I started with was not releasing a lot of artists that sounded similar to one another. Over the years I've been trying to find musicians I think aesthetically compliment each other; otherwise it would be musically uninteresting, for me, because the label is a personification of my personal taste. I've always been drawn towards artists who are not afraid to push their envelope. I know journalists like to coin terms or label things because it's easier for audiences to identify with, and it seems like every two years, we get tagged with something new. At first it was "post-rockÓ and that morphed when "iDMÓ was starting to become the hot thing, and now I'm putting out hiphop records [Seth P. Brundel]. I'm just getting more interested in those musics personally, and I grew up listening to NWA or whatever, so it's not like, "Oh, cool, Warp is doing Lex records, I'm gonna get on the bandwagon, and I found a hiphop artist.Ó I just started buying Seth P. Brundel and Algorithm records, and asked him about doing a 12Ó.
Tell me about SONAR (the major electronic music festival in Barcelona).
We had a label showcase on the main stage outside, so it was like best-case scenario for us. It was Pulseprogramming, Algorithm, Seth Brundel, and I DJ'd. I had to start the label showcase off right after this German group, The Puppetmasters, played; they have this big banner across the stage and it was these five guys are using puppets and rapping. They were full-on raging the audience, and there were thousands of people wigging out, and I then went on and DJ'd all this minimal stuff.
But it went well; the BBC interviewed Pulseprogramming and John Peel basically played their entire set, which is really significant; it's allowing them to go to the UK on tour. I knew with SONAR, there would be some ramifications for the label; I now get email from people in places like Romania, Bulgaria, and Russia. I'm like, "Yes, I would love to send you records.Ó