Tag Archives: NAP

Ten German Hard Rock Bands Bridging Present and Past

Heat

Heat

Bands from the U.S. and U.K. were responsible for some of the most significant contributions to the formation of hard rock—plenty has been written extolling the virtues of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, the Alice Cooper Band, and other such luminaries. But so much of this lionizing tends to overlook Germany’s significant contributions to the genre. Bands like Scorpions (and one-time guitarists Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth, who would go on to join/form other influential outfits) darkened heavy blues, while krautrock-related prog artists like Lucifer’s Friend and Amon Düül II helped bring in a healthy experimental approach. Over the years, the genre has remained vibrant throughout the country, whether it’s gone in a metal (Accept), art-punk (Nina Hagen), or AOR direction (Pink Cream 69).

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A Walk Through Label 1080p’s Blissful Haze

Selections from the 1080p catalogue
“I wish I had a clear aesthetic in mind when I first started, but I think it was important to just get it going and see how it went from there.” —Richard McFarlane

I grew up in the Midwest, in the country. In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, people threw raves in the surrounding farmland; in the summer, I’d have my windows open and wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of Detroit techno and Chicago house coming off cornfields.

Vancouver tape label 1080p takes me back to that time, back to the blurred nostalgia and blissful haze. The label name is a sly joke, referencing a former co-worker of label head Richard McFarlane’s, who was obsessed with digital resolution. The music isn’t exactly lo-fi, but there’s a gauzy, surreal quality to it, recalling the space funk of the early ‘90s liquid house group Dream 2 Science, and the globalist “fourth world” sound of Brian Eno’s EG label. McFarlane has dropped a new release every two weeks for the last few years, which makes 1080p remarkably prolific. The quality is consistent; the music is always forward-thinking and wistful. Powered by McFarlane’s refined tastes, the label is full of sonically kaleidoscopic albums that feel both familiar and far away. He’s a voracious consumer, gliding through different sounds and aesthetics.

The label also thrives on strong visuals and album art that are equally baffling and murky. Crude black and white scrawls of hoops and balls sit alongside grotesque 3D animated tableaus and pitch-perfect new-age design. “It definitely developed over time naturally,” McFarlane says. “I wish I had a clear aesthetic in mind when I first started, but I think it was important to just get it going and see how it went from there.”

1080p mostly distributes its physical releases via cassette (some of the newer 12 inch” releases have vinyl pressing in partnership with Rub a Dub), usually a medium now associated with low quality DIY dubs. 1080p tapes sound smooth and crisp (McFarlane uses a church cassette press in the Midwest). Below is a selection of memorable 1080p tracks.

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