Monday, January 7, 2013

Kief with Nemo Bidstrup (Time-Lag Records)


The holidaze may be long gone, but the kief is still running strong.  As we commence the new year, it's fitting to speak with a person that has changed the way I listen to music: Nemo Bidstrup of venerable Time-Lag Records.  For those that are unfamiliar, Time-Lag Records is a record label that is based in Maine.  Additionally, Nemo operates the Time-Lag online shop, a veritable gold mine.  One of my initial correspondences with Nemo in 2007 resulted in acquiring a rare cd by Visitations.  From that point, I was hooked.  Time-Lag seemed to fuse incredible sonics with meticulous care in artwork and packaging.   Nemo's generous and kind nature is the kief on top of the bud - it makes the records complete.  I recall writing long e-mails to Nemo, inquiring about recommendations from his stellar Time-Lag update.  Essentially, I was asking him to provide me with somewhat of a musical education.  Despite having more pressing concerns, he would always reply promptly with a friendly, informative response.  All of this talk about records is making the crystals on the nug glisten.  Let's burn one together, family style!  

Enlightened listening and trichomes - be generous with the kief.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)


don't forget the kief!





1)  There is nothing quite like the Time-Lag online record shop.   It contains an incredible array of music and media from many periods of time.  For the readers who are unfamiliar with the shop, would you please talk about its history?  Also, what inspired you to open the store, and how have things changed over the years?   

Nemo: well first off, thanks. have always tried to keep an interesting selection… though the website itself is less then ideal, or aesthetically pleasing… hoping to get that remedied very soon, though. pretty behind the times in the digital realms… the shop grew rather gradually and naturally as an extension of the label itself. when the label was first starting up, in 2000 and couple years following, i was just sending out xerox catalogs & occasional email updates with whatever new time-lag releases i'd just finished. but of course i was listening to a ton of other music myself, following a lot of new sounds and other small labels starting up. a lot of that stuff had me pretty excited, so i started distributing releases on other labels though the time-lag mailing list. was great to be able to share a bunch of other interesting releases with my customers, as well as helping out other like minded artists & labels… and it also made it possible for me to check out a lot more music then i would have been able to otherwise… so, what started as adding a few non time-lag releases to each update grew into quite a large stock of distributed items, on top of a growing catalog of time-lag releases. at that point a website became pretty essential… and from there it has just continued… started adding more reissues to the inventory in sync with doing more reissues on the label, and eventually started adding used vintage vinyl as well, as that's always been a big part of my musical interest. 



2)  Time-Lag is also a record label.  Through its wonderful history Time-Lag has released new cd-r's, cds and lps from beautiful artists such as Visitations, MV & EE, Six Organs of Admittance, Cursillistas, the Tower Recordings and many others;  Recently, you have been reissuing rare private-press gems - some of the best records in my collection.  There is a lot of love and diligence put into each Time-Lag release, from the wonderful sound quality to the labor intensive hand packaging.  What led you to create the label?  With the focus lately on reissues, do you plan to release new music in the future?  Also, you were successful in funding a Kickstarter project to reissue lps from Virgil Caine, Eddie Callahan, Drywater and the Bachs.  What was it like to fund the releases in this manner and do you anticipate doing it again?  Also, do you have a favorite among the reissues?

Nemo: i'd been following a lot of new and relatively off-the-radar music through most of the 90s, and had always had a love for vinyl… at some point as the 90s wore on suddenly a lot of the great little labels i loved either closed up, fizzled out, stopped releasing much vinyl at all, or if they hadn't stopped, were just doing it really low quality. i'd been doing my own music as well around then, and when i really felt like it was time for me to get a proper release out into the world beyond just the tiny cassette editions i'd been making, there just didn't seem to be any good options… cuz you know, i wanted vinyl, and i wanted it done right, pressed well, packaged nicely, etc… and there just weren't many folks making records like… there was some really amazing music being made then, and i really felt like the artists making it deserved to have this awesome music released out into the world with some real love put into the presentation… all the pieces sort of fell into place in my mind one especially mystical evening in 1999 and the concept of time-lag was birthed…


the reissue side of the label essentially came about after hearing the satwa lp for the first time and being totally floored. i knew the world needed to hear that album, and though it was 30 years late, it fit so perfect with the time-lag aesthetic, both musically and visually… i've always been into the older lost & obscure sounds, so bringing some of those albums into the time-lag family felt perfectly natural… and from the other end, as time has gone on, there have been more and more new labels popping up and working with interesting new groups, doing vinyl again, doing nice packaging, etc… so i wasn't feeling the drive to be quite as involved with the new sounds,… just as in my own life my musical interest was increasingly on the older sounds, and increasingly out of touch with the rapid fire new wave upon wave of new artists trying to make their mark… at this point i've got a couple reissues in the works (celebration "old green village" - 1976 private press french basement acidfolk & ellie daniels "both sides of the coin" - new england 1971 private press demo only femme loner folk) as well as an art book / 7inch by joshua burkett & friends. the label is in a definite slowdown phase at this point, so not exactly sure what the future will hold beyond those releases… likely a few bigger reissue projects here & there, and for contemporary stuff i'd like to be doing only sorta special handcrafted things, more art objects then proper releases… probably at least a few lathe-cut editions and such… we'll see… have a pretty clean slate for the first time in 10+ years so plan to let it unfold slowly…



kickstarter was an interesting & novel experience, and overall i think certainly a success, but i highly doubt i'd do it again… it was cool for what it was, but the situation with those 4 releases all lining up was pretty unusual…


hard to pick a favorite reissue, but satwa always stands out. not only because it was the first, but because of the whole experience around tracking down lailson & lula cortes, working with them, and eventually sharing some truly amazing experiences with them in brazil… life altering stuff for sure...

3)  For those people interested in opening a shop or starting a label, what advice would you give them? 

Nemo: don't pay attention to anybody else's advice! just do your own thing and make it personal...


4)  Of all Time-Lag lps, Maravillosa Gente, from Bill Quick is my favorite.  There is nothing quite like this lp.  It's such a beautiful combination of music and words - and an incredible story.  Would you recount the experience of re-issuing this lp and its meaning to you.

Nemo: it's always been a special album for me. the original lp sort of fell into my lap years ago, and really hit me instantly. got played quite a lot while my wife & i were first spending a lot of time together, so became part of a very special life soundtrack in my mind…  there's just something so perfect about those songs and the whole vibe. the reissue process was a little strange as bill quick himself had seemingly vanished at some point in the 90s, so i worked with the original producer & label owner, as well as some of the players, to make the reissue happen. always hoped he'd surface at some point, and indeed he did just last year. was really a trip hearing from him!


5)  You have recorded with the likes of MV & EE, Cursillistas and others.  And, you have performed as Drona Parva and participated in Attar Cups.  Also, you helped to record the excellent Village of Spaces lp.  What are some of your current projects?

Nemo: haven't actually been doing much of my own music these last years. ironically, though a big motivator in starting the label was to be able to release my own recordings, once the label actually got going i had so many amazing releases lined up by other artists that my own stuff took a back seat. i have been revisiting the drona parva archives and hope to eventually do an lp or two of stuff that was either never released, or came out only on long gone compilations and such, going all the way back to earliest stuff from '97 or so… also recorded as part of a project called aldus shores which also features the prisma ladies and cursillistas, and we've got an lp called "happiness" done but as-of-yet unreleased. should be out in 2013… honestly, though, much more focused on fatherhood, house repairs, wood splitting, etc. these days… do have some very fun jams with my daughter from time to time…



6)  What are a few of your favorite labels / bands & artists? 

Nemo: far too many to even think about favorites. for new sounds, mainly just listening to friend's stuff these days. for old sounds, digging the non-label, primitive, amateur goodies lurking in strange dark corners…


7)  What have you been listening to lately?

Nemo: lots of lost & random local maine sounds from the 60s & 70s, broselmaschine, cooley-munson, joshua burkett's themed mixes, misty hush revival, willie lane, damin eih, third estate, grouper, steve roach "structures from silence"…

   
8)  What's next for the label and the shop?

Nemo: i mentioned the three time-lag releases that are in the works. beyond that i think there will probably not be much else released on any large scale for at least a year, if not more. there's a few lathe-cut projects conceptualized and at least one actually in production… working on a time-lag discography / book project… as far as the shop, not adding much new distro stock these days, but still can't resist adding some choice items here & there. will hopefully be doing used/rare vinyl lists more often in the future… and at long last there's a new website in the works, hopefully up within a month or two. should be a lot easier to use, and also be a nice visual archive of the time-lag catalog, with photos & info on all past & present releases...

Pick up some Time-Lag love at Time-Lag, Tomentosa and Eclipse!

peace and love, friends :)
         

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