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 ūüôā 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 √Čtoiles 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.

9 March 2010

I of Infinite Forms

Posted by Alex at 6:10 pm

We are proud to announce the imminent release of the self-titled record from Ga’an. With Seth Sher of the clattering no-wave outfit Coughs and the blackened ambience of Oakeater on the drums, Ga’an are a combination of swirls of antique progressive rock synths in the lineage of Popol Vuh, taut muscular beats, krautrock invocations and shamanic, glistening vocals.

As with all our releases, it will be available for free download, but will be released alongside the original tape version, limited to sixty copies. This tape has been selling like those proverbial hot cakes in Ga’an’s native Chicago, even though it was unavailable outside their shows and the occasional boutique record shop. It is, of course, hand made and very very weird, and containing unexpected trinkets and secrets of various kinds.

Pre-order will be up in a couple of days and it will be released on the 18th of March. We are also glad that prog historian Ed Knock, who blogs over at the The Crystal World, will be providing sleeve notes and the online version will feature brand new, never before seen artwork.

Servant Eye

I of Infinite Forms

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 √Čtoiles. All in all it was a stunning night.

25 December 2009

Thanks, Vic

Posted by Dave at 11:30 pm

The other day, I realised I’d forgotten Vic Chesnutt’s two albums from ’09 from my best the year list. At the Cut and Skitter on Take Off are both fine works that have moved me greatly. I didn’t go and amend my post because I couldn’t be bothered. That’s totally trivial and unimportant, especially in the light of Chesnutt’s death today, but it’s those little things you (self)-obsess over in the shadow of death. Sorry, Vic, and thanks for all the music.

Fuck Private Healthcare.

Vic Chesnutt- Coward

19 December 2009

Dave’s Albums of the Year

Posted by Dave at 3:42 pm

Alex and Jell may follow with theirs if you ask nicely. I’ve not included our own releases…

Dave n Santa

What A Prick for Forgetting

Vic Chesnutt- Skitter on Take-Off (Vapor)
Vic Chesnutt- At the Cut (Constellation) 


epic45- In All The Empty Houses (Make Mine Music)
Fuck Buttons- Tarot Sport (ATP)
Bibio- Ambivalence Avenue (Warp)
The Black Dog- Further Vexations (Soma)
Six Organs of Admittance- Luminous Night (Drag City)
Omar Souleyman- Highway to Hassake (Folk and Pop Sounds of Syria) (Sublime Frequencies)
Sunn O)))- Monoliths and Dimensions (Southern Lord)
Skyramps- Days of Thunder (Self-released)
Shackleton- Three EPs (Perlon)
Group Inerane- Guitars From Agadez (Sublime Frequencies)

Really Like

Nitkowski- Chauffeurs (Function)
King Midas Sound- Waiting For You
Strategy- Electric Soup
(Low Point)
Andrew Plummer’s World Sanguine Report- Third One Rises
(Gravid Hands)
Admiral Angry- Prince Buster
Lovvers- OCD Go Go Go Girls
The Duckworth Lewis Method- ST
The Horrors- Primary Colours
Mordant Music – SyMpToMs (Mordant)
Tyondai Braxton- Central Market (Warp)
Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides- Bataille de Battle (Singing Knives)
Ulaan Khol- II
(Soft Abuse)
Om- God Is Good
(Drag City)
Emeralds- Emeralds
(Undo Mondo)
Wadada Leo Smith- Tabligh
PJ Harvey & John Parish- A Woman A Man Walked By (Island)

Also Enjoyed

Part Chimp- Thriller (Rock Action)
Cold Cave- Love Comes Close (Matador)
Leverton Fox- Country Dances (Gravid Hands)
Oneohtrix Point Never – Rifts (No Fun)
Jay-Z- The Blueprint 3 (Some Major Label)
Teeth of the Sea- Orphaned by the Ocean (Rocket)
Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavillion (Domino)
Khanate- Clean Hands Go Foul (Southern Lord)
Evangelista- Prince of Truth (Constellation)
Sonic Youth- The Eternal (Matador)
The Juan McClean- The Future Will Come (DFA)
Do Make Say Think- Other Cities (Constellation)

Would Like to Hear

Focus Group & Broadcast- Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age (Warp)
Bear In Heaven- Beast Rest Forth Mouth (Hometapes)
The Xx- The Xx (Young Turks)
Gareth Hardwick- Aversions (Low Point)
Felix- You Are The One I Pick (Kranky)
Vijay Iyer- Tragicomic (Sunnyside)
That Fucking Tank- Tankology (Gringo)
Flower-Corsano Duo – The Four Aims (VHF)
Pan Sonic & Keiji Haino – Shall I Download A Blackhole And Offer It To You?
(Blast First)

Plus everything Leyland Kirby’s released and everything on Sublime Frequencies I’ve not heard. There’s not enough time in the day…

Multi Artist Compilations

Plugged In: Pakistani Pops Library LP (Trunk)
Shadow Music of Thailand (Sublime Frequencies)
Algerian Proto-Rai Underground (Sublime Frequencies)

16 December 2009

Ribcage Progress

Posted by Alex at 6:55 pm


We occasionally get e-mails asking as to the progress of Ribcage, the WordPress plugin that runs the back end elements of this site. Progress has been slow, as we have been satisfied using raw MySQL backends to add releases. Yet I can finally show you some screenshots of the beta version of the software I am currently running on my home machine. Hopefully it will show you how easy this software is to use, as well getting some interest from other people who may want to use it in the future. It will, of course, be released under the GPL, open sourced. The intention is that using WordPress, which takes five minutes to install, then grabbing the plugin from the WordPress plugin repository (which anyone can now do within WordPress itself), you could have a working Creative Commons record label up within half an hour. This, we hope, will increase the ease to set up and therefore the numbers of Creative Commons labels across the internet.

Ribcage should be out in the new year to coincide with our two year anniversary, an event that will also be celebrated in a number of other interesting ways! We have a whole load of treats up our sleeves for you.

Photo courtesy of Feathered Tar at flickr.

Read the rest of this entry »

10 December 2009

Blessings Out, Blue Ducks Arrived

Posted by Alex at 4:25 pm

The marvellous grandeur of Blessings by All The Empires of The World is now out. Enjoy! Another wonderful record, entirely for free.

We are also pleased to announce another addition to our roster – Blue Ducks. Blue Ducks is the project of one Justin Colley, ex-of our marvelous gabba-pop artists Gay Death Probe who are now on “permanent hiatus”. Blue Ducks make electronic hip-hop with inflections of aqua-crunk and wonky, “music for people too cool to dance”, well within the lines of the post-Dilla, Stones Throw Records swagger. The EP ‘Six’ will be with us shortly.

Here is a the opening track for your delight – Floss Suffers From Gamma Radiation.

And heck, for contrast, here is the quite special closer…Farewell To Floss.