Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not Not Fun

The last week or so I have been organising some of my music as I think about what I will play next weekend at our next chill out party. And in the process of doing this, it started becoming very clear  how much of the music I have been buying this year comes from Not Not Fun. Over the last 6-12 months I have found myself increasing bored with most contemporary techno and house: it is not bad, but... it is just not that exciting either. Yes, of course there are still some strong releases coming out, but there is too much that is good and not great. Quite simply, I am struggling to remain that interested... In this context, I have found myself increasing gravitating towards and exploring Not Not Fun. NNF is erratic, exuberant, obscure, quirky, but thoroughly interesting and worthwhile. If you check their Discogs page, you can see they put out quite a bit of stuff, and the quality is definitely mixed. But if you dig about, there are some real gems in there. Some of the releases I have been enjoying include: Dylan Ettinger's "New Age Outlaws" and "Lions of Judah", Xander Harris' "Urban Gothic", and Sand Circles' "Midnight Crimes". And on the new sub-label 100% Silk, "Muddy Tracks" by The Deeep is great, as is the new Gillette EP. Actually pretty much all of the stuff on 100% Silk is worth checking - it is more dancefloor orientated and a bit less weird. Pipecock has written a good introduction to the sub-label, which I would recommend reading if you would like to know more.

To be clear, NNF is not to everyone's tastes, and there is plenty of stuff which is a bit 'too much' for me. But I would encourage you to check it out, as they are releasing some excellent music right now, and as I said, it tends to be much more interesting and inventive than what is currently going on in techno and house. If you are interested, an excellent entry point into their sounds is the NNF label mix pontone is hosting:

NNF pontone mixtape

Another good thing about NNF is that even though they release a lot of stuff on tape, they also put out plenty of vinyl and digital. This means it is much easier to get hold of their releases in comparison to some of the other labels currently operating out of the States. So if can handle the over-the-top descriptions and that horrible BEEP, check out the big selection of NNF releases at Boomkat.

That's about all I have to say about NNF, as I am still exploring. But if you want something a bit different and are feeling adventurous, my advice would definitely be to check this label out.


  1. funny, i just started looking into NNF as I read an article on them in The Wire two weeks ago on my way to Julian's In Bristol. It was an article that was half trying to define what 'underground' means in 2011. The sentence that pretty much hit the nail on the head for me was "Underground in 2011 means creating an atmosphere of cultural intimacy"

    check the article Chris... if you haven't already


  2. Really great label. They're quite mixed in terms of quality, as you say, but a few last year were particularly fantastic - if you've not checked them out Ensemble Economique's 'Psychical', LA Vampires & Matrix Metals 'So Unreal' and Sun Araw's 'On Patrol' are quite something. As is the Maria Minerva 'Tallinn At Dawn' tape.

    And as you say, 100% Silk's great.

  3. Thanks John and Rory. Will be chasing up all of those tips.

    Can't quite decide how much I like Maria Minerva. She definitely has a distinctive voice.

  4. I think it's the label of the year so far. Especially considering the 100% Silk sublabel. I'm really digging the leftfield disco, or whatever you call it. The move away from the quantized dance-ready beats. I'm looking for more adventurous stuff like the NNF and 100% Silk output. Ekoplekz is another artist in this vein. If anyone has recommendations of stuff like that please do let me know.

  5. As Rory mentioned, Ensemble Economique's 'Psychical' is one of NNF's best recently. There's a flavor of old industrial to it, sometimes reminding me a bit of a more abstract Meat Beat Manifesto. Ensemble Economique is Brian Pyle, and I'd rank Psychical as my second favorite release he's been involved with, below the gorgeous RV Paintings-'Trinity Rivers' and just above Starving Weirdos-'Shrine Of The Post-Hypnotic' and RV Paintings-'Samoa Highway'.

    Not Not Fun is run by Britt and Amanda Brown. Britt's band, Robedoor is heavier than anything mentioned here so far, but if you aren't put off by that, they should not be missed. They've gone through a few distinct phases and have put out 40 or 50 or so tapes and records, so it's easy to get overwhelmed. The early high point 'Shining Smoke' is a howling mess. It sounds like the world falling apart, all buzzing drones, distorted moans and crashing percussion like struck sheet metal. Both 'Rancor Keeper' and 'Hunted Gathering'--a double album with Amanda Brown's band Pocahaunted--are much more mannered while retaining that same doomy/droney sound. 'Raiders' and 'Burners' are more recent and have them folding their noise into actual songs. 'Hunted Gathering' is probably the best entry point here.


Say something constructive, bitte. Or if you're gonna take a swipe, at least sharpen your nails.

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