Where next? The title of Sandwell District‘s Tumblr blog has always been a reflection on the techno label’s rapid rise in popularity – and its future. Since the blog began in April 2009, ‘Where Next’ documented the hype around Karl O’Connor‘s (aka Regis, British Murder Boys) and Dave Sumner‘s (aka Function) platform and record company. Now where next? On December 30th 2011, Sandwell District declared that they would cease the label and brand as we knew it:
‘Beginning the 31st of December 2011, regular audio communications from Sandwell District will cease‘, states the black and white layouted closing note. ‘All vinyl artefacts have been decommissioned. (…) Stasis is death. See you on the other side.‘
Sandwell District’s message says that there’s still a possibility of new releases (‘print communications with audio accompaniment‘), although these would be appearing irregularly. As for Sandwell District as an artistic project, ‘live actions‘ expanding ‘into new sonic territory‘ and ‘audio / print installations‘ may be expected.
Founded in 2002, the label served as a platform for the releases of Silent Servant, Regis, Vandross and Kalon, which received very good press. In a 2009 interview, Sumner already mentioned concerns about the platform’s rise in popularity and his thoughts of closing Sandwell District down – that was in late 2009, which is why the announcement shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Still, it’s sad to see that one of the constants of contemporary techno music is gone.
Before leaving, Sandwell District published a new mix, which might well serve as an outlook on future musical territories, since it contains not-so-techno tracks by John Maus, Throbbing Gristle, Malaria, Delia Derbyshire and Barry Bermange. And since the free mp3 mix goes by the tagline ‘(Sounds) Quarterly #1‘, we’ll just have to wait and see what kind of audio communications the Sandwell District situationists might be having in store for April 2012.
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