Episode 6: From the Comfort Stand Vault
NOTE: This week’s episode has a couple of pieces that are a little more adult than normal (not that I avoid adult materials in the first place). Caution is recommended before allowing children to listen to this episode.
Internet time doesn’t function like time in the real world. On the internet anything that has been around for more than a few years is considered old. (I could go into a long analysis of technology life cycles and how it relates to internet age, but we’ll save that for a different show.)
So, back in what could be considered the “early days” of internet music, one netlabel managed to make a remarkable, if less known, mark on internet music by releasing just about anything that they could find: found sounds, cheesey lounge music, highly experimental and avant-garde music, mashups and remixes (before the term “mashup” had really come about), and even a high school swing choir / glee club’s un-copyrighted recordings.
The label was called Comfort Stand Recordings — a kind of “outsider music” netlabel that grew out of the Exotica Mailing list. Even though the Comfort Stand only existed for 2.5 years (from 2003-2006), they had 80 releases, 8 compilations and 16 singles, all of which are still available from their website (comfortstand.com).
This remains a remarkable feat by nearly any standard. Today, most netlabels are lucky to issue a release a month. 80 releases in 30 months is astonishing. To have as varied and wide ranging releases takes a very special group of people to put together. Not only the artists, but the staff of the label understanding the whole range of music, and not pigeon-holing the label into a single style. More amazing is the comfort stand audience. And, they did have an audience. Many of their releases are top downloads on the Internet Archive, and one releases remains one of the top-downloaded netlabel releases of all time.
Here’s the thing about the Comfort Stand: many of the participants were people working in music or sound industries. While the recordings are seriously unusual or unique, and more divergent and eclectic than most of releases you will find on the big websites today, many of the creators are still working with sounds at one level or another. And, many of them are still releasing works commercially and for free under CreativeCommons licenses. Many of these artists have grown and changed over the last four years, getting either more quirky or more mainstream, but still maintaining their love for the music.
So, we pay tribute to The Comfort Stand this week. So sit back and be prepared to experience everything from humor to horror and many more emotions as we track through 24 tracks from the vaults of the Comfort Stand.
Track Credits for Episode 6:
CerebralMix Ep. 6: From the Comfort Stand Vault by SndChaser is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.