1 November 2011

The Eternal Return

Posted by Dave at 9:32 pm

It’s been a busy time at RoR Cybertowers, for largely non-RoR related reasons. But with PhDs out of the way, house moves completed and much more besides we’re delighted to announce an exciting run of releases for you over the next few months.

This will begin on Wednesday 9th November with the much-anticipated release of Return, the third (and final) release from All The Empires of the World. It’s a monstrous record that amplifies the Jodorowsky desert vibes of Blessings with Godflesh menace and their most extreme sonic explorations yet.


All The Empires of the World's Return, out on Nov 9th

Following that we’ll be releasing England Without Rain by Talk Less, Say More. This is Jell’s poppiest album to date, and perhaps also his most experimental: the restrictive form of the pop song giving rise to all sorts of playful brilliance which will appeal to fans of Hot Chip, Junior Boys and WhoMadeWho, as well as his earlier work for us.

In the more distant future we’ve got releases from a fantastic slew of new ‘signings’. Expect insurrectionary no-wave pop from L.H.O.O.Q., haunted noise from Ghostly Porters, dissonantly beautiful modern composition from Syuzhet and broken kraut from The Exploits of Elaine. We also hope to release a recording of Surfacing‘s commission for Nottingham Contemporary art gallery. Entitled What Is This That Stands Before Me it’s a piece exploring dissonance and hope and is inspired by Klaus Weber’s sculpture Large Dark Windchime (Arab Tritone). You can book to see it performed (for free) here– there will also be a talk on dissonance, political organisation and hope (full abstract on the link).

We also hope to be able to announce a new release from EL Heath soon, but in the meantime we advise you to purchase his excellent new album on Wayside and Woodland- Haunted Woodland Vol. 2, which you can (and should) buy from Norman Records. It’s the second in a series of limited edition albums in which Wayside and Woodland artists explore the darkness and decay of the Staffordshire and Shropshire woodland and is inspired by Longnor woods in Shropshire (not to mention The White Lady of Longnor): it’s quite the ghostly treat and will appeal to fans of Ghost Box and Miasmah Records, as well as Eric’s releases for us. But be quick, there are only 50 and they won’t last long!

You might also like to check out a set from EL Heath recorded for IKON gallery’s Slow Boat Festival back in September, which is streaming here. This was recorded on a narrow boat as it trundled around Birmingham’s canals and finds Heath backed by members of epic45 and Rob Dunsford.


5 June 2011

Les Étoiles on BBC Introducing

Posted by Dave at 5:47 pm

Tom Robinson on BBC 6music’s Introducing has said kind words about RoR before, and is set to feature Les Étoiles’ lastest release- the heartbreaking Little Measurements- on his next show, which is on from 1am-3am tonight, and which can be iPlayered 24 hours after its broadcast (for a week, I believe).

Little Measurements can be downloaded (for free) right here.

24 March 2011

Little Measurements

Posted by Alex at 7:26 pm

Records On Ribs are proud to announce the details of Little Measurements, the latest release from Les Étoiles. We think it is utterly wonderful – quite possibly the best thing he has ever done.

For the first time in the history of ROR, the release features collaboration between Les Étoiles and EL Heath and Talk Less, Say More. With Tim Wright of Neume Audio once again at the helm, the production is subtle but incredible.

Like all our music, it will be available for free download (as MP3, Flac and Lossless) both from our site and on torrents. It will also be a reasonably priced CD with full colour gloss artwork.

Little Measurements will be released on the 5th of April 2011. If you’d like to review it in advance, then drop us a line.

Here are a couple of tracks for you, to be frank they blew me away. First, the opening track, A Year. Beautiful ondes martenot by EL Heath.

Your Answer is next. Beautifully sad – we are so happy to be putting this out there. Clarinet by Tim Wright.

18 September 2010

SoundCloud Players Now Across Site

Posted by Alex at 4:23 pm

The SoundCloud player is now across the site. If you click on Listen you will be presented by this rather lovely window – button subject to colour change.

Although ultimately I will program a customised SoundCloud Javascript player I decided to deploy the player across the site as quickly as possible. The easiest way to do this was to simply replace out existing Flash based music player with a SoundCloud player. But how would I be able to pass on the URL of the set to the Player so it knew which album to play?

Well, each of our sets is uploaded with a title like “Les Étoiles – Never To Alight”, which translates to a permalink like http://soundcloud.com/records-on-ribs/sets/les-etoiles-never-to-alight/ on SoundCloud. All I would have to do is transform “Artist Name – Release Title” into a slug like “artist-name-release-title” name, make this into a URL like http://soundcloud.com/records-on-ribs/sets/artist-name-release-title and send this to the SoundCloud Flash player ‘url=’ parameter. This was achieved pretty simply, as Ribcage can work out the name and the title of a release from a given slug.

# We are passed $release_slug from the URL structure - http://recordsonribs/player/$release_slug

$release = get_release_by_slug ($release_slug, FALSE, FALSE);
	if (is_wp_error($release)){
$artist['artist_name'] = get_artistname_by_id($release['release_artist']);
    if (is_wp_error($artist)){
# Setup how this set would be named at SoundCloud
$url = $artist['artist_name']." ".$release['release_title'];
$table = array(
    'Š'=>'S', 'š'=>'s', '?'=>'Dj', '?'=>'dj', 'Ž'=>'Z', 'ž'=>'z', '?'=>'C', '?'=>'c', '?'=>'C', '?'=>'c',
    'À'=>'A', 'Á'=>'A', 'Â'=>'A', 'Ã'=>'A', 'Ä'=>'A', 'Å'=>'A', 'Æ'=>'A', 'Ç'=>'C', 'È'=>'E', 'É'=>'E',
    'Ê'=>'E', 'Ë'=>'E', 'Ì'=>'I', 'Í'=>'I', 'Î'=>'I', 'Ï'=>'I', 'Ñ'=>'N', 'Ò'=>'O', 'Ó'=>'O', 'Ô'=>'O',
    'Õ'=>'O', 'Ö'=>'O', 'Ø'=>'O', 'Ù'=>'U', 'Ú'=>'U', 'Û'=>'U', 'Ü'=>'U', 'Ý'=>'Y', 'Þ'=>'B', 'ß'=>'Ss',
    'à'=>'a', 'á'=>'a', 'â'=>'a', 'ã'=>'a', 'ä'=>'a', 'å'=>'a', 'æ'=>'a', 'ç'=>'c', 'è'=>'e', 'é'=>'e',
    'ê'=>'e', 'ë'=>'e', 'ì'=>'i', 'í'=>'i', 'î'=>'i', 'ï'=>'i', 'ð'=>'o', 'ñ'=>'n', 'ò'=>'o', 'ó'=>'o',
    'ô'=>'o', 'õ'=>'o', 'ö'=>'o', 'ø'=>'o', 'ù'=>'u', 'ú'=>'u', 'û'=>'u', 'ý'=>'y', 'ý'=>'y', 'þ'=>'b',
    'ÿ'=>'y', '?'=>'R', '?'=>'r', '’'=&gt''
$url = preg_replace('/ /', '-', $url);
$url = strtr($url, $table);
$url = strtolower($url);
$url = preg_replace('/\p{P}(?
$url = urlencode("http://soundcloud.com/records-on-ribs/sets/".$url);

There are obviously ways to refactor this, but this is how we did it. We replaced all the foreign characters, lower-cased the string, replaced spaces with hyphens and removed all the punctuation. We then make a URL we can pass onto the SoundCloud player and put this into the standard Flash player after ‘url=’, adding a few additional strings to it to customise. With a quick edit to our Javascript which pops up the player window, to change it to the correct dimensions and we are done. Easy.

17 August 2010

New and Forthcoming

Posted by Dave at 2:59 pm

We’ve snuck out another couple of releases since our last update, and mighty fine they are too. And there’s much more to come…

Kettle Blacksmith‘s Well, We Get These Rashes is supremely silly, and we really don’t blame you if you hate it. But in the right mood, it’s absolutely wonderful. It’s the brainchild of Patrick Farmer (who’s played with- among others- Chora, The Family Elan, Dom Lash, Matt Milton,  Fuzzy Lights, Last of the Real Hardmen, Birmingham Improvisers’ Orchestra and The Exploits of Elaine, and who runs the mighty Compost and Height netlabel) and Ben Houlihan, who played with Patrick in Welshpool’s Beefheartian loons Call it a Clunes.  Patch made me promise I wouldn’t mention Chris Corsano, so I won’t- but think of your other favourite improv drummer and imagine him having a fight with a tramp and you’ll be halfway there.

Altogether more sober is Talk Less, Say More‘s Proof Rock. Not only does this have quite possibly the best bad pun for an album title since Mercury Rev’s Yerself Is Steam, it’s a mighty combination of dubstep wobble, metal guitars and heartbreakingly gorgeous pop melody. Oh yeah, and it’s a concept album built around Jennings’ relationship with the poetry of T.S. Eliot and the City of London (as well as Eliot’s representation of London). It’s quite sumptuous stuff.

In the not too distant future we have releases from…

Earth Defence Force – Earth Defence Force

This’ll be our heaviest album yet. Another mighty Shropshire export, EDF take influence from all your favourite loud and fast bands. Check ’em out on MurdochSpace. ‘Who Did It’ is particularly highly recommended.

The Exploits of Elaine – Plateau Suite.

A joint release with the mighty Gravid Hands (who’ll be putting out a lovely CD-R). Plateau Suite is a rollicking, clattering and rocking work of improv mayhem for those who like urban gamelan, balls out kraut grooves, ghostly melodies and morass like textures. Hear a couple of tracks (or ‘intensities’) here.

Les Etoiles – Little Measurements

More heart-breaking melancholy from Cardiff’s most brutal songwriter. Features contributions from EL Heath (among others), and higher production values than previous releases.

Spiral Jacobs – Prolegomenon

International Socialist Black Metal from the author of the mighty Cold World: The Aesthetics of Dejection and the Politics of Militant Despair. Cold, soaking blackened ambience somewhere between Aphex Twin and Burzum (but with far better politics).

Keep checking back. And follow us on twitter for updates and unsurpassed aphoristic wisdom.

7 April 2010

EL Heath’s New Album Out Now

Posted by Dave at 1:13 pm

EL Heath’s new album Snailbeach Mines Trust (on Wayside & Woodland records) is now available to buy from Norman Records and is currently at #6 in their ‘This Week’s Hottest Shit’ section- above Ikonika, Disappears and Ambarchi, O’Rourke and Haino  (among others). Naturally, we can’t recommend it highly enough: it’s a stunning evocation of place and memory. Dank, desolate and utterly transcendent. And all profits go to the wonderful people at the Shropshire Mines Trust.

Here’s what Norman Records have to say about the release:

This record left our Phil feeling ecstatic.

Over the years we’ve sold about a million Epic 45 records. You guys… you love ’em! Well here’s another one for you of sorts. It’s by EL Heath which is Eric from Epic 45 and it’s released on their Wayside And Woodland label. The album is named after Snailbeach lead Mine which was the largest lead mine in the UK back in the olden days when things were harder than they are now. He used to visit there as a child and it obviously had an effect on him as he’s returned as an adult after saving up for recording equipment 🙂 and recorded some of the sounds of the rusted up machinery and built up an album around those sounds. Listening to it though you wouldn’t know that. It’s gorgeous and there’s not an industrial clank in site :)…… The Music is very much like latter Stars of The Lid (the last album comes to mind). Rich warm waves of neo classical drone wash over. Occasional vocal tracks take on a different approach as they go down a more British 60’s folk route….. They blend seamlessly as the folk tracks still have some of the those warm sounding drones in the background. A remarkably moving and soulful album which gets my highest recommendation!

We’ll be helping Wayside & Woodland host a download of the album soon. Downloading it will require a minimum donation of £1 to the Shropshire Mines Trust.

11 March 2010

Neume Audio

Posted by Alex at 9:22 pm

Tim Wright, producer of both of Les Étoiles two albums has just launched the website for his company Neume Audio. Suffice to say, Tim has been a friend of Records On Ribs since its inception and has been hugely supportive of our work. His production and attention to detail needs no introduction to those who have heard the albums he has worked on: it is precise, intense and not to forget, beautiful. If you’ve got something to record and fancy not bothering with a studio, he is your man.

16 February 2010

Records On Ribs 2: Welcome Back

Posted by Alex at 8:10 pm

Hello everyone, welcome back to the new Records On Ribs website! Quite a few things have changed around here, not simply the look and feel have changed, but also substantially the back end operation of the site. We hope it is easier to use, easier to share music with others and generally better, with more information about our artists and their activities. The site itself should be snappy to navigate. We should be rolling out even more features over the next few weeks, as well as releasing Ribcage to the general public. If you find any problems, don’t hesitate to e-mail me.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be making a number of new and exciting releases, including those by Ga’an and Spiral Jacobs. Take a moment to check out our wonderful designer and tireless Bryan’s post on how he put this together. All in all, we’ve served 0 releases so far, here is to even more 2010.

14 February 2010

Records on Ribs 2: The Design Process

Posted by Bryan at 7:14 pm

To the Records on Ribs listeners, readers, and staff,

I was asked by Alex to write up a brief post on the work that went into designing the latest Records on Ribs layout that you now see in front of you, so I’d like to begin first by introducing myself: my name is Bryan and I’m a graphic designer and (soon to be) graduate student in the humanities. I also run a little graphic design company called Ivy Street, where you can find my portfolio and some more information about who I am and what I study. Now, on to business.

Like most websites I design, this one began in Adobe Photoshop rather than HTML & CSS. In our earliest correspondence back in October, Alex stipulated that he was looking for “something clean, simple, and with the minimum of additional graphics, that can display album artwork well.” Websites to draw inspiration from included BLEEP.com, Tomlab, and my own blog, The Velvet Howler.

One aspect of the design process that became quite important early on was to distinguishing what is clearly a record label from a simple WordPress blog. This involved drawing a distinction between News and Archives, on the one hand, and Ribcage on the other, but allowing for the two sides of the site to communicate with one another rather than appear artificially separated. Furthermore, it meant doing away entirely with the “blogging” metaphor–as found in the previous design–for the front page. Instead, a new user interface was needed to adequately express the depth and structure of the website as a whole, without seeming muddled or overwrought.

Another area in which design played a key role was in minimizing the amount of exposed interface elements. For example, in the previous design, links such as “Download,” “Buy,” “More,” and “Listen” were repeated for each release entry, which, while useful, also appears to be visually redundant and space-consuming. Our solution was to propose a jQuery alternative involving standards-compliant and accessible hover menus (both the black vertical ones on the front page and sidebars, as well as the gray horizontal ones on the releases index). These remove much of the visual clutter found in the previous design, while simultaneously retaining all of the prior functionality.

Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of the design, however, was the implementation of the 960 grid system, which structures every page and element. It may not be noticeably apparent at first glance, but using the grid system is an important design heuristic that prevents visual clutter. As the author of the system writes:

As long as we’re using shapes consisting of right angles, we might as well make some logical sense of it all. Some time after the intial work of Khoi [Vinh] and Mark [Boulton], I happened upon an article by Cameron Moll, heralding a width of nine-hundred and sixty pixels as the optimal size for design. Basically, 1024×768 is the new 800×600, and 960 makes for a good magic number to utilize the wider canvas on which we paint.

In addition to the 960 grid system, a focus on W3C standards compliance for XHTML and CSS was also crucial, and I believe we have passed all such tests, allowing for readers to view the site without any errors across a multitude of browsers, ranging from Internet Explorer to Firefox to Safari.

In truth, however, the best way to describe the design process isn’t so much by writing about it, which is often difficult when it comes to something like aesthetics (especially in justifying certain design decisions without getting overly technical), but to simply browse the site freely and explore all of the various UI elements that we’ve added.

One thing, however, that might not be gleamed from quickly browsing through all of the pages is the amount of work and restructuring that occurred under the hood with regards to the Ribcage system, which required quite a bit of labor in order to make the system compatible with all of the various ideas Alex and I had for the design. Just to name a few new features, the site now includes an integrated Events system, a beautifully-designed store for purchasing physical albums, revised indices for the artists and releases pages, and lots of other unnoticeable things like compressed and optimized code, reduced loading time, etc.

To conclude, I’d like to say that it’s been great working for the Records on Ribs team and appreciate their attention to detail and occasional pedantry, without which the final design would surely not have been as great (in my opinion) as it in fact turned out.

Bryan Klausmeyer
Ivy Street Design

29 January 2010

New Website, New Danger

Posted by Alex at 10:40 pm

In the next couple of days this very website will be going down and will replaced by the long promised but never implemented new site. We’ve been working with an abosolutely wonderful designer on this, Bryan Klausmeyer, who has produced something very special indeed, a complete refresh that is more beautiful and more usable than this site. Working closely with Bryan has forced us to also improve the underlying Ribcage code and sand off some rough edges both inside and outside. One boring example, which will ensure the survival of Ribcage as an active open source project, is the careful documentation of every file and function and the auditing of each element of code. We aim to have Ribcage ready for public consumption, at long last, by March.

In other news, thanks a great deal to those who came down to the Nottingham return of Felix, supported by our own EL Heath and Les Étoiles. All in all it was a stunning night.