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Record Label Profiles

Porter Records: A Collector's Rewards

By Published: October 4, 2008
But reissuing rare titles by artists like Lancaster and Sarmanto is only part of the Porter Records equation. Indeed, the label is delving into issuing new material by underground hip-hop artists like Earpeace and Misled Children, along with sound collages and contemporary composition by artists like Andrew McGraw, Andrew Raffao Dewar and David Szczesny. Mosling relates, "I don't know a whole lot about hip-hop, which is kind of a good thing, and when I listen to it I have no knowledge of the potential baggage. I listen to the music compositionally and the way they express themselves vocally."

"We also have coming out the Misled Children collaborating with [tenor saxophonist] Odean Pope. One day I was talking to one of the guys from Misled Children and he didn't realize Odean was in Catalyst, and he was like 'Catalyst is my favorite band—can you get us together?' It's interesting because the way they approach hip-hop is strictly instrumental and organic, without samples and with no lyrics. It fits well with Odean's very rhythmic style. We're also going to do a four-disc boxed set with the Jeweled Antler Collective, a group of about thirteen Finnish, Kiwi and American free-folk artists. There's the strange part of trying to come up with an identity for the label, because we're like a chameleon. I imagine some burly hip-hop dudes coming to the site and saying, 'what the hell is this?'"

Something which bridges the perceived gap between the varied new music, often by younger artists, that Porter is releasing, and the reissues of scarce titles from the Afro-American and European underground, is their collaboration series. Odean Pope meeting with Misled Children is a first step in this direction, and Lancaster may collaborate with that band as well. Earpeace is a meeting between sound artist Szczesny and rapper Non from Shadowhuntaz. There is also the possibility of collaboration between Dewar and guitarist/sound-artist Alan Sondheim seeing the light of day.

Moving so quickly has surprisingly left Porter with very few growing pains. "I've been trying to slow things down a bit, but it's hard once the momentum gets going. The one thing I'd do differently is manufacturing—you can always make more, but you can't make less. I made a lot of the Natural Food disc and, well, the people who like the music I'm into are always very enthusiastic, so it seems like something will sell more than it actually might. Though of course I'd rather sell more than less, I don't care if I sell a lot. What I care about is selling good music—that's my end goal."

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