Graham Dunning “Retort”

31 Jul 2015 — Richard Greenan

Some time back Henning mused on the death of the music blog, and the rise of the micro label in its place. I'd say this is a fair assumption. A good case in point would be London's Seagrave – a steady stream of neon-tinged cassettes and the occasional 12", etched with everything from harsh noise (Cementimental) to rough-around-the-edges hip-hop instrumentals (Mute-Tiny). Cycling through these releases is a bit like tapping into a stranger's iTunes playlists, or indeed blog – except you now make a small donation, and are sent a colourful artifact in return. It's this inclusiveness and affordability that marks the transfer from 'blogosphere' to a DIY democracy of small imprints.

Seagrave's recent digital comp is a good example of this shift. An extensive collection of lolloping, transgressive electronics, hand-picked by label founder Tim Matts, Agave Res can be yours for three quid. These tunes fizz with the awkward menace of a pirate radio rip, or some discarded demo that came too hot through the mixer. Perhaps the centrepiece is Graham Dunning's "Retort" – a cut from his mad mechanical techno project. That's right, Dunning stacks records like pancakes, adorning the tower with contact mics and other gizmos – swinging like the arms of some deranged Rube Goldberg machine – to create woozy, aleatoric techno. Long live little labels.