Maybe we aren’t fully embracing the possibilities of our artists.
It’s important to remember that the releases we know from the artists we love are just the tip of the iceberg. Not only do artists produce many more compositions than the ones that make it on to the final release, they often produce in many more styles than those they’re known for.
How many records do we all own where there’s the track we play and three other lesser versions of the same track? It’s only natural to have a favorite, but there is a tendency for labels to sculpt continuity into the records they release. While the intention might be to present the strongest sonic identity for an artist, the unintended consequence is a narrowing of sonic possibilities. Artists everywhere succumb to this pressure and try to pre-sculpt or specialize in order to get their work released on labels. The result is an abundance of similar (and easily marketable) music. It’s easy to draw a connection between how we present new music and the industry’s frustratingly strict adherence to the newest sonic trends.
With every record, we have an opportunity to celebrate difference and represent the totality and spectrum of the work our artists produce. As long as the music is of quality, the continuity is going to be there by default. Let’s demand continuity of quality and allow the artists to present their best work without being restricted by genre.
But we also need more artists like White Visitation, unafraid to try and successfully conquer new styles. Whether it’s psychedelic slow-mo house, ambient abstractions or the current dose of techno and dub. . . there’s no doubt that it’s made by the same artist. If you asked Nicco about his genre, he’d probably dismiss the question by saying he doesn’t care about genre. But he doesn’t give himself enough credit — he has the confidence to produce on his own terms. He defines his music and we, as labels, are lucky to have him.
While others are writing doom and gloom techno, reimagining a score for the apocalypse for the umpteenth time, White Visitation has focused his attention to groove. Focus on rhythmic subtleties seems another thing lost in this current era. White Visitation’s high tempo operation on the two Wounds tracks are a breath of fresh air. This isn't the last record with this kind of range that Blank Slate will release.
PS: Special shout out to the Blank Slate art director Mathea Millman. Although she always selects the art on the B-side of our records, this is the first time she has chosen one of her own photographs. Ithacans, you know where this is!