Back in the beginning of August, PublicSpaces Lab debuted their 21st release, The Future Lab. I’ve been a fan of PublicSpaces Lab since its first releases of Torsion back in April 2007. They have consistently put out great records, though admittedly sparingly. So when The Future Lab was announced, and it was announced with great fanfare − two weeks of video prior to the release date − I was doubly excited. On the release date, I hurriedly went over to PublicSpaces Lab and was immediately confused. Their release page was not so much a release page, it was a website! But I didn’t have the time to look around. It took me a moment but I found the download page (here), downloaded the zip file, and went on my merry way. I told myself I’d get back to their website and poke around.
Then a few weeks later of writing reviews of some really great music, I realized that I hadn’t listened to The Future Lab all the way through and I hadn’t been back to their website. Damn. Truthfully, I wasn’t too concerned about the website, but as far as the music I had like what I heard. So, I opened up iTunes to look at what I had listened to and what I hadn’t, and then I realized why I hadn’t made it all the way through — it’s almost 2 full hours of music! A quick adjustment of my schedule gave me time to listen to The Future Lab in its entirety as well as an opportunity to pick and prod at their website.
What to say about the music and the 20+ musicians who participated in this work? In their call for submissions, there was no manifesto, no theme, just a title, “The Future Lab”. And from this little blog post back in March comes a cohesive work of ambient/electronic music that does look forward. It is an incredible musical work by all the musicians, but kudos to the editors that obviously made some difficult decisions and constructed a Various Artist work that gives the listener the feeling that they are listening to one artist, one idea.
Another part to the release of The Future Lab is the website. So as I gave myself the time to listen to the music, I went through the website — this is not so much a website but an opportunity to explore the definition of netaudio. Throughout a fictitious and not-so-fictitious time-line, posts by various players in the netaudio scene about the “future” of netlabelism, music, artists and labels are put out there. Now many of the ideas in these posts were items that I have been thinking a lot about lately, but they all gave me pause, some reflection. It is a shame that more netlabel enthusiasts haven’t gone through and participated in this remarkable website that goes along splendidly well with an extraordinary album. Here’s the link again, go there, don’t be shy.
By the way, there is a third part to The Future Lab release which are the videos that admittedly I have not watched yet. Another time. Soon. I promise.
Tracks: 01. Colin Thomas – The Union Bridge, 02. Swaying Smoke – Morality and Mortality, 03. IOK-1 – Dream (Moving Through Bleak Landscapes), 04. orchid – odyssey, 05. MikeCrain – Wandering, 06. Renzu – Sash Reflections, 07. The Vanhalia Project – Abstractio II, 08. COAX – Artemis in the Sky, 09. Alpen Butter – Baustelle in Magen, 10. Funeral Fireworks – Among The Planets, 11. Fm-Ra – Gone, 12. Mr. Bitterness – Lost, 13. Hola One and Poros – Spy Cat, 14. Kieron James – Organised Sound, 15. Two Quiet Suns – Dark Terrain, 16. dustmotes – (sū-pēr’ē-ôr’ĭ-tē), 17. metaphra – Ground Frost, 18. Benjamin Dauer – Burning Of Wine, 19. ambienteer – Illetas, and 20. Torsion – AM01.