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.Angle.Rec. / Mondes Elliptiques: an interview with Martin Lemoine

“The .Angle.Rec. concept may be considered from different… angles. No perspective is good, or bad. The concept “angle” could, among others, refer to, if one wants, to those “dead angles”, those grey areas initially inaccessible to the eye, the ear, to the senses in general… but nonetheless animated, vibrating and carrying mysteries if our senses dwell on them the slightest bit! Very often, the sounds and forms that take shape in those hidden areas will later be revealed into light.
Artists who work in the tangential sectors of electronic music, who produce cerebral atmospheric and experimental textures, who venture into the hallucinated areas of rhythmic and elastic technoid music or who, simply, devote themselves to the creation of a pure and raw sound transcoded into a hammered or deconstructed idiom may find a home in .Angle.Rec.” – adapted from the .Angle.Rec. website

Martin Lemoine1 – How and why did you come about starting .ANGLE.REC.?

Well… it started as a joke, really, some years ago. Me, and my future label partner, MR.B., alias Nos Royaumes, alias Hyena Hive, whom I had just met through a mutual friend, as well as that mutual friend, were attending a show while having a beer at “Foufounes Electriques” in Montreal around 1999 or 2000. Me and the guy in question quickly realized we had lots of common interests in music as well as complimentary ones. At some point we were like “Ok, we sooo like music, let’s start a label. Like, right now, or tomorrow morning. Let’s promote local and/or international music falling somewhere between those post-industrial/abstract/drone/noise sounds we like so much, etc.” Let’s mention that another big boom was happening in electronic/experimental music in Montreal at that time. The next time we met we said the same thing but once again not completely seriously… And again and again… Until we decided to actually do it.

I recall Gary Worsley of Alien8 Recordings once telling me: “Martin, there is only one way to start a label; you simply do it!” Considering the fact that we had been already interested in the electronic/atmospheric/experimental/industrial scenes for around 10-15 years at that point, starting a label was only a natural step. The aim was not to compete with the existing Montreal/international structures but compliment them. Bring forward a kind of comprehensive, ‘humanist’ vision of underground music; a vision that is not exclusively avant-garde, or ‘industrial/post-industrial’ (whatever that means), or ambient/atmospheric/dark-ambient, or ‘lowercase’, or noise… But maybe a bit of all of that, after all, with some focus on ‘special’ or ‘conceptual’ projects. There are million ways to create music, as there are million ways to appreciate it. For example, to us, abrasive stuff can sometimes become as cathartic and deep an experience as more ambient material.

Mondes Elliptiques was started as a side label at the beginning of 2006 (with the E.Q.05.01 – The Missing Ensemble – “Hidden Doors” CD) as a vehicle for more Deep Listening / ambient-oriented sounds.

2 – When you started .Angle.Rec., were there any labels that you could say were a reference/inspiration for your efforts?

On the local level… In Quebec, HushHush Records, label started by Dimitri Della Faille (known under the Szkieve moniker) already had a rather strong imprint in the underground at that time. Not only he was one of the music sources for us, but we enjoyed HUSHUSH releases a lot as well! In Montreal I would also mention Alien8 Records. Their love for music is contagious and they have a kick-ass label too. So much stuff we discovered through them. On the international level; Ant-Zen in Germany, with whom we obviously have some common musical grounds and who has been very supportive towards our efforts! For example, it is due to the efforts of Ant-Zen that things such as ‘rhythmic noise’ are so popular today. And Manifold and Malignant Recs in the US!!! They did so much for underground/experimental/noise fields in North America.

3 – Almost mandatory question, how did the name “.Angle.Rec.” come about?

Oooh, the question that needs asking! We wanted a ‘modest’ name, not too attached to any convention/idea/agreement/concept/image. Well, now we are stuck with a name that can be considered under many… angles! (laughs) The joke is made by various people more than often. By the way we have nothing to do with the other label in Italy also called Angle Records (which, I may add, seems interesting!)

4 – Since the inception of .Angle.Rec., are there any events in the history of the label that you’d consider as particularly relevant, from difficulties and setbacks to successes?

The joy of working with all those great artists we like so much and networking and all, and sharing all this music with the rest of the world, in various formats, are to us the best successes and rewards ever. Seeing a couple items going sold-out is nice as well!

As for difficulties and setbacks… well, running an indie label is not always easy. It sometimes becomes a daily or weekly challenge in our case as we have more-than-full-time dayjobs apart of it. This, to us, sometimes is the greatest difficulty.

5 – So far what would you consider as special highlights (or successful) releases and artists in the history of .Angle.Rec.?

We consider each and every release equally and cherish every one of them! Each is a success in one way or another. Whatever the notoriety of the project, whatever everything, whatever the number of copies sold… It is in line with our way of approaching music.

6 – Are there any releases in particular that you would recommend as good ‘introductory material’ to the .Angle.Rec. label?

Depends on which side or angle (ha!) you want to take.Angle.Rec. So far we have been attracting people from various scenes and with various musical palates.

I would say that the Monstrare/Wilt “Graveflowers” CD is an excellent starting point. because it beautifully sums up many of our influences and interests: drone, noise, dark-ambient, abstract/glitch, post-industrial. it is a brilliant album!

To some, we are a noise label and/or post-industrial label, others know us for our drone/ambient side, etc. You want rhythm? Go with the Vromb “Locomotive” 10″ (the first release ever!), the CD by LCEDP called “De L’Utilité Des Convoyeurs” or the “Information Gigabyte” CD by Flint Glass and Telephérique. For drone, atmospheric and dark-ambient fans, we have the “Hidden Doors” CD by The Missing Ensemble, the Celestial Sphere 10″ by Visions, Aidan Baker’s “An Intricate Course Of Deception” CD, “Ma Chambre Quand Je N’ y Suis Pas” by Mathias Delplanque… also hard-to-classify and unique and noisy and/or abstract releases by Nos Royaumes (“L’antichambre” 7inch) and GRKZGL (“Esque” mini-CD). We even recently ventured into loud psych-noise with an ultra-limited CD-R by Hyena Hive! Voilà!

7 – Looking back, do you have any regrets with the label? If you could go back and change something, what would it be?

Really, nothing we can think of. There’s nothing we would do differently even if we tried real hard!

8 – An obvious question, but what is .Angle.Rec.’s ‘relationship’ with the Internet? From promotion tool and digital sales to file sharing and piracy, how has it affected you?

Internet has been a great tool so far. It is mandatory in our times. Even for local people! More and more people are relying on the Web for musical news (shows, new releases etc.). As for “file sharing and piracy”, I dunno, I guess it exposed more people to our activities. And speaking of illegal filesharing, I don’t think that mp3 piracy is necessarily the main, or only factor slowing down sales for many labels; the fact is that there are shitloads of music to choose from at the moment, a fact that is as equally important. People are overloaded, constantly diverted… look at the Myspace phenomenon. There now are zillions of musicmakers online! And yes, there’s lots of interesting stuff out there! As for digital sales, we only started recently in that field, with selected releases from our catalogue. We’ll see!

9 – Slightly related to the previous question, how do you see the concept of ‘netlabels’ and, as a labelhead, what is your perspective as to the future and evolution of physical media (CDs, vinyl, etc)?

Netlabels are actually kind of cool! I personally know people running some. It creates communities and networks of like-minded musicians. There are excellent netlabels out there. Many artists started thru netlabels and some eventually put out vinyls or cds and became staples in their chosen styles/genres. And I think that physical cds are still around for a while even if many people are turning to digital files more and more. Lots of 30-somethings do not give a damn about MP3’s and prefer CDs and even vinyl, but unfortunately, vinyl might disappear in the upcoming years… I hope not! Because many people who are still attached to a physical medium and wanting a little plus are buying vinyl. Yup! Hence why we will be releasing a few other vinyls soon, with the usual cd releases coming as well

10 – Perspectives for the future, what lies in the horizon for .Angle.Rec.? Can you share some long-term goals and where would you like to see the label heading to?

We don’t want to grow bigger, we want to get better, always and always. If we grow bigger, cool. But our main goal is to enjoy doing it as long as we can, and working with musicmakers liking what they do. We want to grow the Mondes Elliptiques label/sublabel, of course; something is coming real soon on this sublabel and we would like to re-focus a bit on Montreal if possible. We are very happy with all the releases we made with Montreal artists – Vromb, Visions, Nos Royaumes, GRKZGL, LCEDP, etc – we want to support other talents from here as well.

We might very possibly put up more shows – yes, we have also been involved in show promoting in Montreal since 2000, on our own or in collaboration with various other people; recently, with Oral Records from Montreal, we put up the Montreal leg of the TROUM North-American tour. Not only the show was amazing, it was also a pleasure working with Eric from Oral, whose curating/label work we admire a lot. We were also involved in the promotion of the Oblivion Ensemble/Samarkande show in Montreal. Again, lots of fun was had! Not to mention the crazy performances both projects gave… in a church!

Release-wise, we are working on a CD by excellent drone/dark-ambient artist Netherworld from Italy, a 12″ by Montreal noise duo Dreamcatcher (they sound a lot like very old-school industrial, with indienoise influences, we also like them a lot) and a 10″ by 15 Degrees Below Zero from USA with two exclusive and very unique and fantastic tracks of structured gorgeous noise with soul!

11 – What other labels/artists would you recommend at the moment and why?

Labels? Artists? Too many of them, haha! I won’t mention neither my own label nor “my” artists, too easy! (laughs). And I’ll go for labels and artists that are not always “the obvious names” we always hear, but who, to my own taste, produce quite fantastic sonic adventures and deserve to be heard.

For labels, I would mention Gears Of Sand in the USA, releasing fine electronic/atmospheric/downtempo music. They do limited editions and it is always nice. In Montreal, check out Petite Sono for high-quality lowercase sounds. The label is run by Nathan McNinch, a brilliant sound artist. I also really like the Infraction label in the States), home of nice delicate releases by the likes of Millieu, Andrew Liles…

As for artists, I am personally very impressed by the solo works of Olaf Bender, head honcho of Raster-Noton, who creates really complex and dense abstract music (hope he releases something soon!!!). I also have to mention Samarkande from Montreal and Oblivion Ensemble from the States, who both produce a peculiar mix of dark-ambient/collage/electro-acoustic sounds, those guys are totally nuts! In terms of rhythmic music, check out Cakebuilder from Winnipeg. This guy’s gonna go places with his broken core rhythms! A Montreal artist to check out in the ambient/electroacoustic field: Freida Abtan, whose first album is coming soon!!!

12 – Thank you for your time, do you have any final comments?

Thanks to all people, around the world, supporting us in one way or another. You like us, and we also definitely like you! Check us out at www.angle-rec.net. And our parallel label Mondes Elliptiques is at www.angle-rec.net/mondes

Relevant links

Mondes Elliptiques

— interview by Kate Turgoose & Miguel de Sousa (April-May 2007)

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