Saturday, 25 February 2017

Mountain Records to issue Compact Album by Rock Maghreb guitarist

Part of the answer to the search for an economically viable alternative to the old album format is the Compact Album.

Mountain Records will issue the new project of north African inspired sounds by Dutch guitarist, Jan Wouter, as a compact album.

Asked what this means, the label owner Patrick Lee-Thorp explained as follows. "Consumer trends away from the old 60 plus minute album have devastated most labels. Young fans, in some genre, consume music in track sized bites and they select their favourite album tracks on personal playlists leaving out much of the album content. In addition the price of online sourced music makes a retail album of €17,00 un-competitive. By issuing 6 songs on an album of appox. 30 minutes in length, we reduce the production bill and distill the artistic statement."

"One of the highest costs in album making is the post recording production, this includes multiple mixes and additional overdubs to get the tracks to the point of satisfaction of the artist. So after the initial sessions, a decision is made about which tracks will be taken further. Depending on the pre-production process, this does leave some takes on the cutting room floor, but by a process of natural selection I think the important ones survive. This concentrates the creative energy on fewer tracks."

"Jan Wouter sent us rough mixes and the selection process began. He had some support for his production and spent this wisely in my view by not spreading the recourses too thinly. Like virtually all productions it went over budget but not so that the final product has to be over priced."

This is not the first album issued by the label between EP and LP in length. Basil Coetzee's Sabenza vinyl only release, was a big success for the label and ran to only 35 minutes. Other labels have also moved to shorter programs, particularly with the resurgence of vinyl. But until now no one has tagged the format, according to the label.

"The plan with Jan Wouter's new release is to go to CD first and then follow up as vinyl. There are already  over 100 pre-orders, so I think vinyl will happen. The package will be attractively priced, but still with a full booklet in a digipak."

 "It sort of happened this way and I feel we are onto something here," said Lee-Thorp.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Mountain Records signs special quartertone guitar project.

Mountain Records, the world and jazz label now based in Hamburg, Germany have signed a license for an album master with Dutch guitarist and composer Jan Wouter Oostenrijk. The project is special because it will feature a quarter tone electric guitar developed to accommodate Maghreb style music.

Jan Wouter, Live in Tunisia, Photo Houcem Boudaya 

Jan Wouter has previously recorded jazz and blues with roots in the Maghreb. He built his electric guitar to use in recording the material on his new album. Where the early Lute or Oud can accommodate the Arabic scales more easily, the western style electric guitar can not comfortably provide a player the ability to play the notes between the fixed frets on a normal guitar fretboard.

No date is set for the new release but Jan Wouter, who also produced his new record, is mastering at present in Amsterdam. The music is progressive rock with north African and Arabic influences.

Mountain, whose motto is, "music inspired by Africa", was started in Cape Town and is the home of award winning world music artist, Dizu Plaatjies.  The label is also known for its promotion of Cape Jazz.

The label is no stranger to guitar releases having produced the first two records of acoustic jazz guitarist, Jonathan Butler.  Also issued on the imprint was an album of Afro-rock sounds by Brazillian guitarist, Celso Fonseca and the only studio album of the guitarist and folk poet, Jean Bosco Mwenda, originator of the Shaba guitar sound of East Africa.

Label Link -