2014 – Recommended Netlabel Releases

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Two lists, as usual. One is the stuff I did in 2014, the second is the stuff I liked that was available in the worldwide netlabel underground during the year.

Netlabeling entails releasing music for free (or name your price), accordingly every single thing here can be downloaded for free (and usually streamed too). The distinguishing factor between the standard model of releasing music and the netlabel model is this open accessibility without the barrier of a price. As such, those self-releasing artists who release their music for free are a vital part of the netlabel world. The “label” part of the term “netlabel” is a misnomer in some respects. In fact, the term is problematic in some other ways that I’ll probably write about in the future. Much of this music is released under various Creative Commons licenses. Some of these CC licenses allow “derivs” (short for “derivatives”). What that means is that anyone can remix or sample the work to make new music, it’s allowed in the license. I like it when people choose to make their music accessible for remixing/sampling, so I’ve denoted whether the release allows or disallows derivs in green or red script.

I dig experimental / drone / noise / improv / abstract musics… and so you’ll find a lot of that here, but there’s also some stuff with melody & beat.

Previous year’s lists:
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

By the way, this is all listed in alphabetical order based on the album titles, not #1, #2… etc.
Not counting my stuff, there’s 71 releases listed! Well over two entire days worth of listening!

So I also made a long DJ mix of many tracks from this list. Download it here (link) or stream with the widget below.

2014 Netlabel Mix by Vuzh on Mixcloud

Self-serving List of my own releases for 2014!

Daniel Barbiero – After 30 x 12 (for C. Reider)
Open Sound Group || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Composition for double bass and electronics.

C. Reider – Awkward Hugs
BumpFoot || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Minimal techno, sorta – okay not really.

C. Reider – Detritus 1&2
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Odds & ends, phone messages, field recordings, musical snippets.

C. Reider – Disrepair
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Spacious ambient guitar improvisation

C. Reider – Distressing
Eg0cide || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Exploring glitch & degradation from stretching, using “annoying” sounds as a base

C. Reider – I’d’ve
Vuzh Music || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Autumnal drones

C. Reider – Not Subliminal
Control Valve || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Gritty, lo-fi experimentations with cassettes

C. Reider – The Plangents
Vuzh Music || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Repetitive themes remembered from dreams.

Recommended Netlabel Releases of 2014

Mysterybear – Absence Sleeps Between The Buildings At Night
Stasisfield || Copyright No derivs!
     Electronic drones paired with field recordings. Works exceptionally well.

Jay-Dea Lopez – AC
Galaverna || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     A composition of field recordings made in domestic locations.

Félix Blume – A los cuatro vientos
Sonic Terrain || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Rich, full, captivating sounds. Based on field recordings. Simply amazing.

Eucci – apt.
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Six hour-long recordings of the interior ambience of an apartment, with all six hours layered to make a one hour album. The idea was to record when no one was in the apartment, but someone entered, unplanned.

Chris Lynn & Daniel Barbiero – Augmented Landscapes
Zeromoon || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Double bass plus field recordings.

Schemawound – A Young Person’s Guide To Time Travel
Self-Released || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Evocative electronic compositions based on the theme of time travel.

Tom Ellard – Barbara Channel 3
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Ellard describes it as “EZ Listening Tones and Numbers”. Seven musical environments presented as one long track.

Iris Garrelfs – Bedroom Symphonies
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Compositions based around heavily effected vocals.

Guy Birkin – Bits
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Algorithmically generative quasi-techno. Bips & boops.

Paints ov Anima – Brassica
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Muscley noise drone.

303 – Brownian Motion
Cota303 || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Sorta 90s chillout ambient techno but with glitchy noise drone influences. Not quite like microsound-techno.

Cinchel – Circle
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Music from an installation. The cover art is a set of instructions for setting up the installation. Each track is a long drone work meant to be a single channel in the multi-channel piece. I haven’t listened to this in its intended form, but it does work very nicely as a set of individual drone pieces.

Martin Rach – Concerto For Imaginary Ensemble and Electronics
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Traditional instruments paired with noise electronics & processing. The musical approach is sorta jazz meets new music, with harshness. I hope this approach is further explored.

John Kannenberg – Cordolium
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Processed field recordings intended to be audio poetry.

Disconnector – dark/sky
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Fine contemporary ambient, some of it reminiscent of Loscil. Very crisp & modern sounding (which almost puts me off, actually… but it’s too good to pass up.)

oier iruretagoiena – Ebaki
Chirria Sello || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Electronic insect sounds.

Lee Rosevere – Echo Peace
Happy Puppy Records || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Relaxing and groovy chill techno stuff, some krautrock influences detected, but mostly in the FSOL vein. It’s really well put together, and a testament to its quality is the fact that I just don’t spend much time with “this kind of music”, but I’ve been digging this a lot.

Christian Doil – Ein Stück Ostsee
Rain Netlabel || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Sort of a nautical sound to this ambient music… the first track sounds like 20 story tall windchimes sounding next to a foggy seaside. The second is more granular, but still with the occasional seagull passing by.

Spectrical – Emergent Forms
Con-V || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     An everchanging longform piece of dingedrone, occasionally light breaks through the clouds…

Lauren Redhead – entoptic landscape
Pan Y Rosas Discos || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Four performances of a composition with open notation. Each of them sounds totally different. A pleasant variety of experimental sounds inspired by a visual phenomenon.

Eucci – envi.
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Industrial ambient composition, akin to NWW / Hafler Trio.

Ryzykowna Wyprawa Batyskafem – ep
IdealState No Number Series || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Highly textured improv featuring processed sax, odds & ends and electronics.

Eren Silence – Eren III
Self-Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Drifting, yet highly dissonant dronescapes. Tense & relaxing all at the same time.

Colin Webster and Graham Dunning – Estigate
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A bunch of gritty improvs with Webster’s sax & Dunning’s unique modified turntable setup.

The Inner Shore – Extracts from an Unknown Science
Eg0cide || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Harmonics-laden drone with an alien sheen.

Stephanie (Lak) Germaine – Free #98B3E
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Tortured noise-synth circuitry and some plodding drum machine, and some muffled singing, and some plunky guitar, and some squelchy sounds, and… and … and…

D’Incise – Graphein
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Very understated piece using only the sounds of pencils on paper.

Chris Whitehead – Habitat for Metal Plants
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Compositions made from improvised performances made during location recordings. I think he recorded at least some of this at industrial locations, if I read his twitter feed correctly. I may be mistaken. The metal plants in question are supposed to be metallo-botanical.

Carlo Barbagallo – Haikus
Subterranean Tide || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Concise, indescribable little vignettes of abstracted sound. As with the rest of Subterranean Tide’s Haiku series, the first track is five minutes long, the second is seven, and the third is five minutes long again.

Jeff Kolar – Hallmark Cards Vol. 2: Happy Birthday To You
HAK Lo-Fi Record || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Birthday themed Hallmark cards with audio chips were circuit bent. Alternately annoying, fascinating and amusing.

Lucie Vitková – Ideas and Techniques
Pan Y Rosas Discos || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Improvisations for accordian, harmonica and voice. Intense restraint… quite beautiful.

Graham Dunning – Kiosk One
Self-Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Documentation of Dunning’s adventures in modified turntable. This has actually got some really funky grooves.

Francisco Meirino – Knowing More How Than Why
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A diverse presentation of many fascinating sounds. This is kinda pretty much unmissable, I love this record.

Radere – Koschei
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Colorado guitar-drone czar fills yr head with fuzz.

Norah Lorway – Kulør
Xylem || Mixed Licenses Some tracks allow derivs, others don’t
     Droning compositions with samples from numbers stations.

Eucci – Like the City, We’re Bound to Last
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A couple of wandering collages filled with all manner of interesting abstracted sounds from unknown sources.

Marlo Eggplant – Live
Museum of Microcassette Art || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Marlo getting down with ‘harpy’ the autoharp plus piezo & looper. Two live performances recorded to lo-fi microcassette.

‘kirchenkampf’ – Live April 2014
Self-Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Live spacey synth stuff. Nice to hear something like this from this longtime colleague.

Hexeneiche – Meditation Mishaps
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Loopy lo-fi sample-based thingie… at times jackhammery, other times almost relaxing.

PCRV – Mobile Research Music
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Very diverse album of noise made with various smartphone apps. Ranges from oddball collages to synth smear to all out noise assault.

Jakob Draminsky Højmark – Musique d’ameublement
Hazard Records || CC0 Derivs allowed!
     A live improv of processed bass clarinet.

Stuart Chalmers – Night Butterfly
Open Sound Group || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Sound work based on performances with tape. Loops and warbles. Possibly classify under hauntology?

Petej Amon – Noise Psychotic Episodes
Haze Netlabel || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Rough, distorted and noisy, somehow strangely hypnotizing.

Pedro Chambel – Nothing Ever Happens – Chance Music Number 1
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Glassy electronic tonescape.

Miquel Parera – NXA005PD-2014-01-05_03_32_07 / NXA005PD-2014-01-21_22_29_57
Petroglyph Music || Copyright No derivs!
     Algorithmically generated soundfields made in puredata & processing.

Ene – Paper Tigers
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A big hot mess of beats and things.

PBK & Brent Gutzeit – PBK BMG 1
PBKSound || Copyright No derivs!
     Noiseambient. I like it very much.

Half Evidence – Rain Spirits
Eg0cide || Multiple Licenses Some tracks allow derivs, others don’t
     Pretty together sounding group guitar improvs, percussive & scrapey.

Andrew Weathers – Raised High in Badwater Basin
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Look, I’m sorry… it’s hard to go wrong with something flavored like Terry Riley + krautrock. The second track is more Eno-ish than Riley-ish.

Phirnis & The Euphoric Hum – Red Light
Fwonk || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A document of a live performance with modular synth, guitar & laptop

Cinchel – Reign Water
Subterranean Tide || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Cinchel picks up a synth and lays down the jams. The oddbient jams.

Longstone – -リサイクル risaikuru
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Musical interpretations of photographs paired with location recordings. All inspired by the catastrophic 2011 earthquake, and tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. Given the subject material, this is not very dark music, it’s quite lovely. Also out on a 12″ vinyl record.

The Glittering Hand – Rising
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Very interesting & constantly transforming lo bit-rate drone music, it reminds me in some ways of the spooky ambient soundtrack to Doom64.

Malaventura – Salaam Shalom
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Remixes of some Arabic / Jewish / Andalusian music from vinyl. Hard to ignore the Muslimgauze-ish sound, but that’s no bad thing in my book.

rngmnn – Selected Dark Ambient Works (98-14)
1798 Records || Copyright No derivs!
     Pretty much like it says. A big release lotsa good stuff here.

Atilio Doreste – Shifting Boundaries
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Circuit bending + location recordings.

Restive – Small Tales for Urban Living
Mahorka || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     New work by one of my favorite underground abstract composers. This time he incorporates more urban field recordings into the mix.

Osvaldo Ciblis – soundart2014
Self Released || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     A massive, sprawling 15 release set of abstract electronic textures. I haven’t been able to listen to it all, as I’ve just discovered it thanks to a recommendation from Miquel Parera… but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include it here, because what I’ve heard is fantastic.

offthesky – stationaryrace
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Another Colorado colleague, this is some super lush contemporary ambient.

Dr. NoiseM – Suicide City
Plataforma Recs || CC BY ND No derivs!
     Kinda electronic subway sounds, constantly passing by.

Jess Lemont – They Sound Like 80s Telephones and Squirrels & Cats with Little Laser Beams [Jess Lemont 10-28-14… and, also, the laser beams are fake, by the way]
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Blammo! Hyper-frenetic jams with drums & electronics and some other instruments. Kinda hard to really describe it, but it’s good.

Cinchel – The Timing Was Right For A Walk In the Woods (Take 2)
The Avocado Tapes || Copyright No derivs!
     Yummy live cincheltronic guitar performance.

Gregg Skloff – This Time The Ride Belongs To Us
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Ambient in the good way.

‘kirchenkampf’ – transmissions
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     This is some pretty minimal and dark stuff from this artist, love it. Hissing synth geysers.

Chimess – Tujiko Noriko
BumpFoot || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A diverse collection of not-quite ambient music, odd but pretty calm.

Jeph Jerman / Tony Whitehead – Underwater
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Improvisations with objects underwater. The master tape was submerged in a creek for a time.

Yann Leguay – Unstatic
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Based on induction coil recordings of hard drives.

The Inner Shore – Waves on a Pure Surface
Textural Records || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Glistening, pinging drones.

PBK – Winterscrubbed
Museum of Microcassette Art || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Lo-fi noise from this master.

Tahnzz – XILA
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     New Mexico noise. Abrasive and laid-back. I have to mention the cover art, because I like it, so…
ETA: OOOPS. I just noticed that this actually came out in 2013, but I’m leaving it on this list anyway, ’cause that’s how I roll.

Martin Rach – Zitherphonics
SuRRism Phonoethics || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Martin plays his zither with a little electronic fan.


  1. Honored to be included in C. Reider’s yearly list Recommended Netlabel Releases list (and mix): http://t.co/dDYds29qj3 thanks, @vuzhmusic

    TrackBack by DaveSeidel | December 28, 2014 7:36 pm
  2. Big list. Eucci hit three times. http://t.co/kMNTDsDKqS

    No AODL though. But I can’t remember how much AODL was net label this year.

    TrackBack by jshell | December 28, 2014 8:35 pm
  3. RT @vuzhmusic: http://t.co/4XQOV1Pbpt

    TrackBack by computerneix | December 29, 2014 5:07 am
  4. This was a really nice surprise. Grateful for ENE’s “Paper Tigers” inclusion on Vuzh Music Blog’s year end list! http://t.co/sB9eXAxEsK

    TrackBack by ENE_RVA | December 29, 2014 6:56 am
  5. One of my favorite lists for amazing aural explorations is out– @vuzhmusic’s 2014 Best Netlabel Releases: http://t.co/t1MYmoDxRc

    TrackBack by larkinhavens | December 29, 2014 8:28 am
  6. very honored to be included in @vuzhmusic year end list http://t.co/CuVWjNETgn lots of other great stuff there!

    TrackBack by cinchel | December 29, 2014 8:54 am
  7. Pleased to be included in the year end list from @vuzhmusic . I have only heard 7 of them, better get to work.

    TrackBack by Schemawound | December 29, 2014 9:56 am
  8. RT @vuzhmusic: Recommended experimental netlabel music 2014: http://t.co/4XQOV1Pbpt My favorite free sounds of the year.

    TrackBack by dpnem | December 29, 2014 1:29 pm
  9. my album kulør gets a mentioned here:

    TrackBack by norahlo | December 29, 2014 1:57 pm
  10. “Salaam/Shalom” EP included in the list of good shit listened this year by @vuzhmusic http://t.co/BxSEqEGPo7 http://t.co/JO81BZ2a6e

    TrackBack by malaventura | December 29, 2014 3:57 pm
  11. RT @larkinhavens: One of my favorite lists for amazing aural explorations is out– @vuzhmusic’s 2014 Best Netlabel Releases: http://t.co/t1…

    TrackBack by Gurdonark | December 30, 2014 5:43 am
  12. Nice to see mine and @grahamdunning ‘s album Estigate mentioned in a year-end round-up of netlabel releases: http://t.co/bcidHx1MvG

    TrackBack by colin_webster | December 30, 2014 10:22 am
  13. […] by lauren redhead and ‘ideas and techniques’ by lucie vítková are both included in vuzh music blog’s end of year recommendations! […]

    TrackBack by kindness for lauren redhead and lucie vítková | pan y rosas discos | December 30, 2014 10:39 am
  14. 2014 – Recommended Netlabel Releases @vuzhmusic http://t.co/S2hIx8ObEt

    TrackBack by acufenosfest | December 30, 2014 4:35 pm
  15. RT @liminallistener: @acufenosfest @computerneix @noishx @janietopangea See also: http://t.co/2iKQfp2pxC

    TrackBack by acufenosfest | December 30, 2014 4:36 pm
  16. Our Catalogue widely regarded at http://t.co/V6HwPZfTt7 thanks! @vuzhmusic

    TrackBack by audiotalaia | December 31, 2014 2:01 am
  17. Check out @vuzhmusic’s 2014 Recommended Netlabel Releases! [Also, I am very honored my EP made this list!] http://t.co/mzJ9jjl3IG #ccmusic

    TrackBack by BrewCrewJess | December 31, 2014 10:28 am
  18. […] to see the inclusion of Augmented Landscapes in C. Reider‘s 2014 end-of-year list of recommended Netlabel releases. And a mention of our own collaboration after 30 x 12 (for C. […]

    TrackBack by a recommended release | daniel barbiero | January 1, 2015 10:44 am
  19. Thanks for including some of SubTide’s releases. Happy New Year to you! Honored that these have made the list!

    Posted by Emily | January 2, 2015 5:53 pm
  20. Delighted and honored to see a few of our releases make this list courtesy of @vuzhmusic http://t.co/lGRkOo91Qz #Netlabels

    TrackBack by SubTide | January 2, 2015 5:56 pm
  21. RT @SubTide: Delighted and honored to see a few of our releases make this list courtesy of @vuzhmusic http://t.co/lGRkOo91Qz #Netlabels

    TrackBack by emily_lrn | January 2, 2015 6:20 pm
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