B SIDES is Sound Propositions’ first label profile, featuring Joe McKay’s Dinzu Artefacts. We talk about his previous label, Spring Break Tapes!, his own artistic practice (as Monte Burrows), the importance of listening to the quotidian, and the persistence of physical media in an increasingly digitally mediated world.
Unlike the previous episodes, this one lacks any additional field-recordings or samples, but due to the nature of the music on the label you might not even notice a difference. Almost all of the tracks played come from the Dinzu or Spring Break catalogues, or otherwise from a project McKay was involved with. There are just two special exceptions, towards the end, featuring music that came up in our discussion of unique formats. Since these are almost all culled from tapes, I tended to favor the B Sides, hence the name, though again not exclusively. As always, headphone listening recommended.
Episode 5: B SIDES
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SP* at Anchor
I’ve been in touch with Joe McKay since 2013, when ACL reviewed a couple Spring Break Tapes! early releases. “Hey Joe! It’s Joe!” We’d exchange musical discoveries by email and share field-recordings and projects in the works. In 2014, McKay produced a mix for us sharing a selection of artists from SBT and other music he felt fit in with their aesthetic. (LCNL 046)
Working on the album artwork for Broken Social Scene’s 2010 Forgiveness Rock Record proved to be a catalyst for starting Spring Break Tapes!, whose debut came from Junior Pande, aka BSS drummer Justin Peroff.
Dinzu Artefacts began in 2016 as a place to release sounds that weren’t quite in keeping with the beat tape and drone aesthetic that SBT had established. I distinctly remember Joe’s enthusiastic response to my review of Giovanni Lami’s Bias and was thrilled with Lami’s Opale was among the first to be released by Dinzu. More recently, McKay has launched The Size of Various Objects, a series of mixes collecting music in the same wheelhouse as the label, often produced by guest artists associated with Dinzu.
McKay has released his own music under the moniker Monte Burrows since 2014, as well occasionally collaborating with others. He doesn’t perform live but instead focuses on the compositions of works, utilizing tape and computer processing. But the heart of McKay’s practice is rooted in listening, in capturing mundane sounds in the course of one’s daily routine with whatever you happen to have on you.
Having a unified aesthetic and identity is important to McKay, who has drawn inspiration for Dinzu from labels such as Giuseppe Ielasi and Jennifer Veillerobe’s Senufo Editions and Samuel Mercure’s Archive Officielle. The impulse to ‘collect them all’ is strong, and most listeners buy each batch rather than individually, a trust McKay has earned through years of meticulous curation.
Although Dinzu is primarily a tape label, making it easy and affordable to collect, McKay is interested in formal experimentation taking the label in new directions, and some 10″ lathe cuts are currently planned for the not too distant future. As you might expect from a label with “artefacts” attached, McKay has a soft spot for collecting, and this is reflected in the attention given to Dinzu’s art and packaging. While each tape is limited to a relatively small edition, all of the Dinzu releases are accompanied by a digital download code and can be streamed at Bandcamp.
We spoke over Skype in December, and due to the nature of the connection there are some sonic artefacts from that I couldn’t avoid, so my apologies for that. We spoke about the then-upcoming releases by Giovanni Lami & Glauco Salvo and from Fabio Perletta, which, taken together, I feel offer a representative introduction to the aesthetic of Dinzu Artefacts, whose roster, McKay estimates, is somewhere around 40% Italian artists. We discuss this fact, how he got into running a tape label, and how for him experimental music is literally the result of not knowing what he’s doing. It was a pleasure to catch up with Joe, and to take a deep dive into the incredible catalogue he’s built up in just two short years.
ARTIST – “TITLE” (ALBUM, LABEL, YEAR)
Monte Burrows – “Side B” [Excerpt] (The Concentration of Brown Owls, Dinzu, 2016)
SP Intro (the new objective – “vita activa”  plus film samples)
Giovanni Lami & Glauco Salvo – “B2” (Ife, Dinzu, 2019)
Fabio Perletta – “#16” (Hesitant, Dinzu, 2019)
Fabio Perletta – “#4” (Hesitant, Dinzu, 2019)
Fabio Perletta – “7456. Live at Human Resources, Los Angeles” [excerpt] (7456. Live at Human Resources, Los Angeles, Dragon’s Eye, 2018)
Sebastiano Carghini – “Part I” [excerpt] (Habituated by Reason, Dinzu, 2018)
Billy Gomberg – “A1” [excerpt] (Transition, Dinzu, 2017)
Junior Pande – “Side B” [excerpt] (Tape One, Spring Break Tapes!, 2011)
Bus Gas – “Denim Jacket Back Patch Blues” (Immortal Yeller, Spring Break Tapes!, 2018)
NUM – “Part I” (Memory Machines, Dinzu, 2018)
Amulets – “Cutting Room Floored” (Mountains Past, Spring Break Tapes!, 2018)
Abby Lee Tee – “Repository I” [excerpt] (Repository, Dinzu, 2017)
Gibraltar – “Side B” [excerpt] (Jejunum, Archive Officielle, 2018)
Monte and Hep! – “Side B” [excerpts] “ (Samphappalapa | czaszka (rec.), 2017)
Fousek / Hansen / Tellier-Craig – “2’55”” (No Image In Particular, Dinzu, 2018)
Monte Burrows – “Side A” [excerpt] (Sawtooth, Castle Bravo, 2017)
Papillon – “Aqueducts II” [excerpt] (Aqueducts, Dinzu, 2017)
De Ponti / Moretti – “Low Tide” (Before We Were Foam We Were Unbridled Waves, Dinzu, 2018)
Anne-F Jacques – “Side B” [excerpt] (Welcome, Electricians, Dinzu, 2016)
Matthias Urban – “Part II” (SiAl, Dinzu, 2018)
Jeremy Bible – “Arp 220” (Music for Black Holes, Aole, 2016)
Dominique Vaccaro – “Close Distances 34” (Close Distances, Dinzu, 2018)
Deep Magic – “Side One” [excerpt] Illuminated Offerings, Auris Apothecary, 2010)
Amulets – “Planned Obsolescence” (Planned Obsolescence, Dinzu, 2017)
Giovanni Lami – “Secondo Solco” (Opale, Dinzu, 2017)
Sergey Kostyrko & Jason Kahn – “Stop” (Synchronized, Dinzu, 2019)
Monte Burrows – “Side B” [excerpt] (Fantasy Living, Spring Break Tapes!, 2014)
Sound Propositions is written, recorded, mixed, and produced by Joseph Sannicandro.