THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION has been kindest, perhaps, to experimental and improvisational musicians. Here, finally, is the ability to release music as quickly as it's being made, as long as internet connections and hard drives are kept working. One local label that embraces this notion is Sonic Debris Multimedia (SDM), a collective of musicians, artists, and technical gurus that have been releasing an unbroken stream of material digitally or on CD-R since 2010.
"It's been slowly ramping up each year," says SDM's de facto leader Nicholas Swartz. "We did our first compilation in 2012, and have released three more since. And right now we have 15 releases that we're hoping to get out within the next year." Everything SDM does is, thus far, paid for out of pocket and handled in-house. The collective records, designs, and organizes everything in true DIY fashion. "And if we don't know how to do it," says Swartz, "we'll figure it out quick."
It's that infectious enthusiasm and work ethic that has drawn some amazing and varied talent into orbit around the label. Beyond Swartz's freeform psych band Sister Mamie Foreskin, SDM compilations boast efforts from the avant jazz group Stochastic Mettle Union, Consumer's gonzo beat-heavy pseudo-pop, digital dance dub courtesy of Ras Mix, and the Lightning Bolt-esque clatter of Muzzy. Future releases will incorporate material from loop-pedal-based soul singer Amenta Abioto and improvised electronic squelches from the Modern Ass Jazz Singers.
On top of all that, the collective has organized a monthly showcase for their bands at Habesha Lounge, starting this week with performances from Immoral Majority, Consumer, Glock, and Two Crows Fighting. The idea is to highlight two SDM bands and bring in two outsiders with the potential of "networking and the cross-pollination of sounds and ideas," says Swartz.
Because, beyond simply bringing new sounds into the world, Sonic Debris Multimedia's goal is to foment a kinship among the artists they welcome into the fold. "It's easy to throw stuff up on the internet and hope that 30 people hear it," says Swartz. "But we want to build some sense of community. It's a lot more fun that way and it's much more fun to play music when you know your friends are going to be there."