If Reif can be at a recording session he will be. And when it's time for mixing and mastering he'll most likely be there alongside the engineer. But when it comes to the cover art, artists have free reign. "When you're trying to market musicians, you try to create a label identity, something that maybe someone flipping through bins would stop and take a look at instead of passing it by. But you won't know [Songlines] from the front because I never believed in creating a house image for the label. I felt the graphics should be too personally related to the music." That diverse array of images, names, sounds, instruments and ideas that Songlines represents all come together under the label's apt name. The term refers to an ancient cultural concept of the Aborigines, which originates during dreamtime. Stories that occur in dreams are reenacted through song and dance, at the places where they originally occurred.
"The dream time isn't the past, it's not the future, it's now, it's always, it's the eternal," explained Reif. "It's a term that came into use and had a particular meaning to a particular culture. It seemed to me that the world could be like a songline. It seemed like the songline was an interesting metaphor for our globalized world culture. And once I started, after the first year or two it became clear to me that I definitely wasn't going to just be working in Vancouver, that I wasn't going to be doing anything that was just going to be called jazz. It just confirmed my belief that this was a good choice for a name."
Read Songlines Recordings reviews at All About Jazz.