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Mixing It!

It's a record Jim - but not as we know it

Article from The Mix, November 1994

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we at The Mix are well and truly flattered. Since being the first magazine to feature a mixed CD/CD-ROM on the cover we've watched as other publications have jumped on the interactive/multimedia bandwagon.

Now the concept has reached the normally insular world of record companies, with the Echo Label compiling a CD of ambient/electronic music, and doing a deal with Virgin Interactive Entertainment to include a demo version of 'Creature Shock', one of Virgin's new generation of 3D-rendered adventure games for the PC.

Sea of Tranquility it's called, and rather tasty it is too. Echo has taken the producer's role here, compiling a CD of music from the Slaughterback label in East London, an underground label which has spent the last two years releasing the occasional 12" from artists such as Sonexuno, Cyclotron II, Gagarin and The Voltage Brothers. This is vintage electronic music, full of lovely sweeping analogue string pads, 303ish bleeps and blurps, and pulsating drum beats. Steve Lewis, Echo Label impresario, explains his vision of the future:

"The concept of a record, as we know it, is rapidly becoming an anachronism. We'd like to think of ourselves as being technologically literate with new developments, and not the Luddites that some people in the music industry are.

"We don't believe that music will always be delivered on record, the percentage of music being released on vinyl is rapidly decreasing. What we are is creators of 'programmes', software, music, content. The method of delivering that content is not something we have a vested interest in. We do not own a pressing plant, or a distribution network, we are purely a creative operation. We want to distribute our product in whatever format the audience wants it. One of the formats that's exploding at the moment is the market for PCs with CD-ROM drives."

"The concept of a record, as we know it, is rapidly becoming an anachronism"

"Sea of Tranquility is available at the same price as a regular album, so you're not being asked to shell out £49.99, and it's not as if you have to think, 'Gosh, what kind of CD do I need for this?'. You can buy this before you've even made that decision, play it on your audio CD player and the sound is of the same quality as any other CD. The sonic quality is not in any way degraded by the fact that the disc contains interactive data. If you don't have a CD-ROM drive for your PC at the time of purchase, you still have the music to enjoy, over 60 minutes of it, and the bonus of a brilliant game when you do decide to upgrade your computer hardware."
CD-ROM has been an expensive market up until now, with most titles costing around the £50 mark. This has held people back from rushing to fill their shelves with Prince or Peter Gabriel's latest work in the field. Steve Lewis feels Sea of Tranquility could change all that.
"We've got a new product here that no-one's actually done, what we wanna do is make it available, not for fifty quid a pop, but something that someone can buy at the same price as a record, in the same place they would buy a record. That's where the innovation aspect of it is."

Ambient and rave artists already put a premium on sleeve art. It's a logical progression for labels like Echo to embrace CD-ROM, and in doing so they're taking the imagination of their artists into a new dimension. The orthodox mediums of vinyl and CD might just be entering the twilight zone...

On the RE:MIX CD

From the Echo label's groundbreaking Sea Of Tranquility CD/CD-ROM comes Sonexuno's space symphony 'Robon'

- Sonexuno: Robon (Gagarin's re-entry)

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Publisher: The Mix - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
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The Mix - Nov 1994

Donated by: Colin Potter

Coverdisc: Mike Gorman

Mixing It!

On The Re:Mix CD:

05 Sonexuno: Robon (Gagarin's re-entry)

This disk has been archived in full and disk images and further downloads are available at - Re:Mix #5.

News by Roger Brown

Previous article in this issue:

> Loose booty

Next article in this issue:

> Plant you now - Dig you late...

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