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Record Label Profiles

Tim Berne's Screwgun Records: By Him, For You

By Published: December 31, 2005
This confidence may explain the recent releases of two Berne projects within just a few months. The first was Feign, a studio recording by his Hard Cell trio. Made just after a tour, it was recorded and mixed live to two tracks by engineer Hector Castillo and producer David Torn, a longtime Screwgun collaborator. The performances are vibrant like a concert, but with more clarity of sound. The second, Pre-Emptive Denial, was a live recording by Paraphrase reminiscent of earlier releases, coming from an audience tape. The group knew at the time it was a great gig - decisive improvisations and clear ideas. When someone gave Berne the tape, he wanted to put it out immediately.

"When you can get a gig that is balanced, even if the sounds aren't incredible, it still has a certain amount of impact that you can't get in a studio, Berne says. Though he wouldn't put out anything that he couldn't enjoy listening to sonically, he has always been more concerned about the energy than the sound purity: the bootleg aesthetic of the label. Though conventional record business wisdom would have held one CD for later release, Berne has never been about business models and catchphrases, relying instead on his enthusiasm and belief in his music.

"My biggest disappointment with recording for other people is what happens after the record comes out, he says. "It's rare that the label will be as passionate as the musicians are about their work. And that's what sells records, the passion.

Screwgun Records reviews at All About Jazz.

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