I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the London riots happening right now; and I’m decidedly on the fence about the government’s consideration of shutting down social media. My gut feeling is that it would be an illegal act to wage against citizenry in peaceful times. In times as violent as they’re having now, and considering the class uprising at hand, it’s essentially an act of civil war against its own citizens.
But one thing that’s reaching around the globe: the destruction of a single warehouse. It held a vast archive of music from a myriad of independent music labels.
This morning, I got an email from Buzzin’ Fly Records—a house music label, one of my favorites, owned by Ben Watt. Their archives have been destroyed; the entire physical embodiment of eight years of creative output, burned in a week. Gallery within.
Ben Watt is one of the members of an 80’s and 90’s favorite, Everything But the Girl. The group crossed genres over and over with Ben’s intrumentation and his wife Tracey Thorne’s plaintive vocals. In the 1980’s, they were largely known for folksy, sunny but sad ballads. In the 1990’s Ben turned an ear to the dance genres and backed Tracey’s haunted voice with a nervous ticking of spare rhythms.
Later, in the early 21st century, Ben took his love of dance music even further and started two wonderful labels. Buzzin’ Fly came first, and is home to some of the most elegant house music you’ll ever hear. Second came Strange Feeling, a grittier vision of dance music, stretching boundaries across electro and indie rock. I consider Strange Feeling’s releases to be the more important of the two labels, even though I like them less. Here’s Ben’s elegant, driving version of Figurines’ Silver Ponds.
The digital back catalog still exists, but look at the physical art lost, created by London’s I Want. There are several other labels who’ve lost work as well, this is only one.
If you’d like to buy some music from any of the affected labels, Boomkat has posted an informational page leading to everyone’s digital assets, so we can at least help support the artists’ work in the interim. I Want says at their Tumblr that even though Buzzin’ Fly’s catalog is gone, the next release out the door will indeed happen.